Albert Hammond Jr.: Living Through The Past

Albert Hammond Jr. is still saying yes to just saying no

Diving into the wreck, as feminist poet Adrienne Rich put it, is a process many artists come to engage in once they’re on the other side of trouble. For Albert Hammond Jr., who came to worldwide fame as a member of the Strokes, the past hasn’t always sat so easy. A three-year period of intense drug use overlapped with the band’s recording of and touring behind 2003’s Room On Fire. Fortunately, Hammond saw the danger and pulled himself out of it successfully.

“It’s still what people want to ask me about,” he says. “That kind of question really pisses me off: ‘Oh, how can you still be creative without the drugs?’ It’s like, ‘No, man. No.’ For me, the really creative stuff only came when I got the drugs out of the way. They were an impediment, not a motivator. It amazes me how much better stuff you can produce when they’re not part of your daily process.”

—Eric Waggnoner