Well this is worrying. Today Pitchfork celebrates ten years of The Strokes with a feature that chronologically details the band’s musical output and cultural impact. It’s exhaustive and insightful, buoyed by interviews with members of the band and their management team, and takes a nostalgic view of The Strokes without getting chintzy. Well worth a read, foremost for the incendiary quotes spouted throughout by guitarist Nick Valensi. If his words are any indication, the band’s future is grim as hell.
First there’s this: “Valensi, the only member to not actively pursue another project, doesn’t mince words when asked what he thinks of these non-Strokes-related musical endeavors: “I’m not a huge supporter of side/solo stuff. I’m of the opinion that you’re in a band and that’s what you do. If there’s leftover material and time, then sure, by all means. But if you’re playing material that you haven’t even shown to your main band and you’re just sort of keeping it for yourself, I’m not a big fan of that.””
And this: “Before entering the studio to record the fourth album, Valensi expressed some skepticism the band would even be able to continue due to all the newly competing priorities. “I remember reading a review of First Impressions in SPIN and they mentioned in their review that it sounded like the last Strokes album. At the time, I took offense. But, in hindsight, they were so close to the truth. I’m not even sure we’re going to make a fourth album at this point.””
Oh, and this too: “While Casablancas’ disengagement may have been by design, Valensi found the whole experience deeply dissatisfying. “I won’t do the next album we make like this. No way. It was awful– just awful. Working in a fractured way, not having a singer there. I’d show up certain days and do guitar takes by myself, just me and the engineer. Some of the third album was done that way, but at least we were on the same page about what the arrangements and parts were. Seventy-five percent of this album felt like it was done together and the rest of it was left hanging, like some of us were picking up the scraps and trying to finish a puzzle together.””
And this: “With all members now acting as contributing songwriters, Valensi believes it could take some trial and error before the Strokes find an effective new way to establish quality control. “We’re all learning to work on each other’s songs and learning how to deal with emotional issues that come up in relation to the songs, when to let go and when to fight and compromise,” says the guitarist. “I feel like we have a better album in us, and it’s going to come out soon.””
Read the whole thing here.
Title Image by Simone Joyner via Getty