Julian Casablancas is kind of the anti-Taylor Swift, isn’t he? She just moved to Tribeca — making her neighbors with, like, Jay Z, Beyoncé, and Blue Ivy — and is so stoked on it that she’s Instagramming pictures of lattés and serving as NYC’s Global Welcome Ambassador for tourism. He just moved out of the Lower East Side — to “upstate” NY — because, in the abstract, he didn’t “know how many, like, white people having brunch [he could] deal with on a Saturday afternoon.” She just released 1989, her “first documented, official pop album.” He just released Tyranny, the gnarliest, most atonal work of his career (by several orders of magnitude). She looks like she belongs on top of a Christmas tree (to borrow a compliment once paid to Rory Gilmore). He looks like that townie hesher who used to buy you beer when you were 17 and only listened to Judas Priest: not Maiden, not Sabbath, just Priest. Of course, he’s 36 and she’s 24; when Julian was 24, he was touring behind the Strokes’ Is This It, which frankly served as its own NYC Global Welcome campaign. ANYWAY! Julian is still doing press for Tyranny, and he’s still dropping some great quotes. Today’s Rolling Stone feature on the man, “22 Things You Learn Hanging Out With Julian Casablancas,” is especially loaded.
Some of the stuff included here isn’t exactly headline news: “He’s extremely close to his stepfather, the artist and academic Sam Adoquei.” “He’s always had an addictive personality.” “His ‘iron-fisted’ creative control of the Strokes led to a lot of problems.” YEAH WE KNOW. But those are balanced with some genuine insights into the man! For instance:
He recently decided there’s no life on other planets.
“I had a weird epiphany recently, and I feel kind of weirdly confident that there is pretty much no life on Mars or anywhere. Our atmosphere is what defends us from the real danger, life killers, which is space junk. When you think about how big Jupiter is, that swirl, that hurricane, I think it’s a ginormous asteroid that probably like, came in and swooped up cloud smoke. So I just think that we have this atmosphere that burns up meteors. The atmosphere needs to be thick enough to protect you from meteors, but not crazy enough so that life can’t survive. You need the gas giants like Jupiter.”
No life on Mars? That seems like a pretty fair assertion. No life anywhere in the universe besides Earth? I dunno. You can believe that, but you can’t be confident of it, can you?
He’s working on building the perfect folding electric bicycle.
“It’s kind of breaking my heart with how long it’s taking, but it’s pretty amazing. It’s an electric folding bicycle thing, no pedals, and it folds up to the size of a briefcase. The only people who want to do this are these German engineer guys. They have this thing called Free Cross, it’s like an exercise machine. And this is the exact opposite. The Free Cross is just basically a full-body exercise machine that you take out into the world. And this is just a lazy man’s thing so you can kind of be transported without spending any energy.”
Back in the day it was fixies! And those crazy Frankenstein bikes people used to ride around Williamsburg!
He doesn’t take the Strokes’ legacy — including their influence on music and fashion — very seriously.
“I don’t see that in any mega-positive way that I’m like, proud. Like, are more white people wearing Converse? Good. Mission accomplished.”
In my review of the Strokes’ 2013 LP, Comedown Machine, I made the argument that the Strokes rescued the Converse brand from actual extinction and restored it to a place of cultural dominance! That’s pretty positive! No? Ah well.
When we walk past a juice bar, he says that’s one of many reasons why he’s leaving New York to move upstate.
“With New York, it’s gentrified … and I don’t mind it — it’s just a part of history. People have brunch all day, but you have to be reticent of what it means for the rest of people. I don’t mind a luxury building, but it’s indirectly contributing to like issues and other parts of the city. It’s annoying, upsetting, and frustrating, but still it’s the cultural center of the world.”
Come on, man, cool it with the brunch stuff. I mean, I happen to agree (I live in Park Slope, which is like the exact midpoint between Taylor Swift and Julian Casablancas), but you gotta pick your battles.
So there ya go! That’s just a small selection of the stuff included in the story. If you’re Julian Casablancas fan, you should definitely read it.