Albert Hammond, Jr., the Strokes guitarist and occasional solo artist, has been in and out of the spotlight over the last decade-plus. From an outside perspective, the volatile nature of the Strokes themselves has had something to do with it. But apparently, that’s not all. And now Hammond has opened up about the dangerous and debilitating addiction problems that he’s been battling for years.
Talking to NME, Hammond claims that he was in a “dark place” when the Strokes recorded their sophomore album, 2003’s Room On Fire: “It was, like, Oxycontin and cocaine at 24, 25, 26. And then I became [addicted to] heroin around then. So from 26, 27 till 29. It’s not so much that I wasn’t in a happy place. I was just… God knows where I was. I was just very high. That’s where I was.”
During that whole period, Hammond says that he wasn’t remotely functional: “I used to shoot cocaine, heroin, and ketamine, all together — morning, night, 20 times a day. You know, I was a mess. I look back and I don’t even recognise myself… I mean, you have moments when you’re fine. And if someone meets you, you seem fine. But I remember when I was showing someone music and I was wearing a short shirt and [points to wrists]… there were just purple [track marks] all the way down here. And then they would call someone – ‘Did you see Albert, he looks crazy?’ That’s where I learned to wear long sleeves.”
Hammond is now thankfully four years sober, and he’ll release his new solo EP AHJ 10/8 on Julian Casablancas’s label Cult Records.