- The Strokes
The Strokes Background information Origin New York City, New York, United States Genres Indie rock, garage rock revival, post-punk revival Years active 1999–present Labels RCA, Rough Trade Website thestrokes.com Members Julian Casablancas
Albert Hammond, Jr.
The Strokes are an American indie rock band formed in 1999 in New York City. Consisting of Julian Casablancas (lead vocals), Nick Valensi (guitar), Albert Hammond, Jr. (guitar), Nikolai Fraiture (bass guitar) and Fabrizio Moretti (drums and percussion).
Upon the release of their debut album Is This It in 2001, the group met much critical acclaim. Since then, the band has maintained a large fan base all over the world but mostly in the UK, US, Canada and Australia. A number of members have embarked on a variety of side projects, although a fourth album, entitled Angles, was released on March 22, 2011. They are one of the most prominent indie-rock bands to hail from the U.S. at the dawn of the 21st century and helped start the garage-rock revival movement.
- 1 History
- 2 Discography
- 3 Awards and nominations
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Beginnings and The Modern Age EP (1998-2001)
Lead singer-songwriter Julian Casablancas, guitarist Nick Valensi, and drummer Fab Moretti started playing together while attending Dwight School in Manhattan. Bassist Nikolai Fraiture had been friends with Casablancas and was attending the Lycée Français de New York. At age 13, Casablancas was sent to Le Rosey, a boarding school in Switzerland to improve his academic performance. In Switzerland, Casablancas met guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr.
Later, when Hammond came to New York to attend New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, he shared an apartment with Casablancas. They started a band which first performed at Luna Lounge on the Lower East Side of New York, and at Manhattan's popular Mercury Lounge. Ryan Gentles, the Mercury Lounge's booker, quit his job to become the band's manager.
The band began rehearsing a fourteen song set which included "Last Nite", "The Modern Age", "This Life" (an early version of "Trying Your Luck"), "New York City Cops", "Soma" and "Someday". Most of these songs now feature different lyrics. A demo sent to the newly reformed Rough Trade Records in the UK sparked interest there, leading to their first release via the website of the UK magazine NME who gave away a free mp3 download of "Last Nite" a week prior to the physical release as part of The Modern Age EP in 2001. The EP sparked a bidding war among record labels; the largest for a rock and roll band in years.
Is This It (2001-2002)
The Strokes released their debut album Is This It in the US in October 2001 on RCA after some delay due to changes made from the UK-released version (released August 27, 2001). The cover of the latter features a black-and-white photo of a gloved hand on a woman's naked backside, shown in semi-profile. The naked model on the cover was photographer Colin Lane's girlfriend at the time. The North American version replaces this with an image of particle collisions in the Big European Bubble Chamber and replaced the song "New York City Cops" with "When It Started". The replacement of "New York City Cops", which contains the refrain "New York City Cops, they ain't too smart", was made in good faith following the September 11 attacks. "New York City Cops" was listed as #12 on New York Magazine's "Ultimate New York Playlist" on March 1, 2010.
The melodic garage rock sound of Is This It received universal acclaim from both mainstream and independent publications, including 5 stars from Rolling Stone, and a 9.1 from Pitchfork Media; it made many critics' top 10 lists, and was named the best album of the year by Entertainment Weekly and TIME. NME, in an article previewing summer concerts, urged readers to attend their shows, claiming that the band was touring on the strength of some of the "best pop songs ever". The influence of 1970s CBGB stalwarts Television was noted by many reviewers, although Casablancas and bandmates claimed to have never heard the band, and instead cited the Velvet Underground as a reference point.
After the release of Is This It, the band toured around the world, featuring dates in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and North America staging for the Rolling Stones. The band headlined UK's Carling Weekend festivals in 2002, largely chronicled by a mini-documentary entitled In Transit which was released to members of the now-defunct "Alone, Together" fan club. Today it can be seen on their official website.
In August 2002, the band played at New York's Radio City Music Hall on a bill with The White Stripes. Jack White joined the Strokes on stage to perform the guitar solo on "New York City Cops". During that period, the band also appeared as musical guests on various late-night talk shows. Is This It yielded several singles and music videos, all of which were directed by Roman Coppola.
In 2009, NME named Is This It as the greatest album of the decade (2000s). The album placed second on a similar list compiled by Rolling Stone. The same issue featured a list of the '100 Best Songs of the 00's', in which songs "Hard to Explain" and "Last Nite" charted at #59 and #16, respectively. In January 2011, Rolling Stone conducted a survey among their Facebook fans to determine the top ten debut albums of all time. Is This It came in at number ten and was also the most recent behind Pearl Jam's 1991 debut.
As of 2010, Is This It has sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide.
Room on Fire (2002-2005)
The group began recording their follow-up in 2002 with producer Nigel Godrich (best known for his work with Radiohead), but later split with him in favor of Gordon Raphael, the producer of Is This It. Recordings with Godrich were never revealed. In August 2003, the band toured Japan, playing a couple of the upcoming songs: "Reptilia", "Meet Me In The Bathroom", "The Way It Is", "Between Love & Hate" (formerly known as "Ze Newie") and "12:51" (formerly known as "Supernova"). The band also played Paul Anka's "My Way" with Japanese lyrics.
The Strokes released their second album Room on Fire in October 2003. It received praise from critics but was less commercially successful, although it still went gold. The album's sound maintained the Strokes' familiar reference points, while also evoking groups such as The Cars, Bob Marley, and Blondie. In the process, they made the cover of Spin Magazine for the second time, with each member receiving his own cover. They also made the cover of Rolling Stone for the first time. Additional media coverage of the band came from the relationship between Moretti and actress Drew Barrymore, which ended in January 2007.
The first single taken from Room on Fire was the song "12:51", which used distinct keyboard-like sounds produced by Valensi's guitar. The video was also directed by Roman Coppola, and was inspired by the futuristic look of the 1980s film Tron. This consisted of a mainly black scene, with instances of glowing picton blue and riptide. In November 2003, The Strokes played on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, performing "Reptilia", "What Ever Happened", "Under Control" and "I Can't Win". During the 2003/2004 "Room on Fire Tour", the band played with Kings of Leon as support act and Regina Spektor. While on tour, Spektor and the Strokes recorded the song "Modern Girls & Old Fashion Men", released as a B-side on the "Reptilia" single. Also during the tour, the band included The Clash's "Clampdown" as a cover, which was released as the B-side for "The End Has No End".
In late 2004, The Strokes revealed plans to release a live album. The Live in London LP was planned for release in October 2004, but was abandoned, reportedly due to recording quality problems. The chosen gig was one held at the legendary Alexandra Palace in North London. In February 2005, Julian Casablancas wed long-time friend and assistant band manager Juliet Joslin. The Strokes had a three-concert South American tour in October 2005, with dates in Brazil, Chile, and Argentina.
First Impressions of Earth and extensive break (2005-2008)
In late September 2005, "Juicebox", the first single from The Strokes' then unreleased third album, was leaked online, forcing the single's release date to be advanced. The single was then released as an exclusive on online download services. "Juicebox" became The Strokes' second UK Top 10 hit, as well as their second US Modern Rock Top 10 success. During November and December 2005 the Strokes did a promotional tour for the still unreleased album, which involved doing one-off shows in major cities around the world.
Their third album, First Impressions of Earth, was released in January 2006 to mixed reviews and debuted at number four in the US and number one in the UK, a first for the band. In Japan it went gold within the first week of release. It was also the most downloaded album for two weeks on iTunes. Fraiture claimed that the album was "like a scientific breakthrough". In January 2006, the band then made their second appearance on Saturday Night Live playing "Juicebox" and "You Only Live Once".
The album was somewhat a departure from the band's two previous albums. One reason for this was a switch of producers from Gordon Raphael to David Kahne. Despite its initial strong sales, First Impressions of Earth received the worst reception, both commercially and critically, of all their three albums.
In 2006, the band played 18 sold-out shows during their UK tour. In February 2006, The Strokes won "Best International Band" at the NME Awards. In March, the band returned to the US with their longest tour yet. The second single off First Impressions of Earth, "Heart in a Cage", was released in March 2006.
During the summer of 2006, The Strokes played several festival dates in Europe, including the Hultsfred Festival in Sweden, Roskilde Festival in Denmark, the Oxegen Festival in Ireland, the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the FIB (Festival Internacional de Benicàssim), Fuji Rock Festival and headlined the Pentaport Rock Festival in South Korea. They then toured Australia and Mexico in late August and early September, followed by the second leg of the United States tour. While in the US, The Strokes opened for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers for five shows during their Highway Companion tour.
The Strokes went on to complete another US tour. During this final tour Casablancas stated to fans that the band would be taking an extensive break after it finished. An e-mail was sent out soon afterwards by Strokes manager Ryan Gentles, confirming that "much needed break". A new band website went online in May 2007 along with the release of an alternate video to their single "You Only Live Once" directed by Warren Fu. The video also featured a brief interlude with "Ize of the World", also from "First Impressions of Earth". The song "You Talk Way Too Much" was used in a commercial for the Ford Sync. Aleksandra Cisneros became The Strokes' new assistant manager in late 2007.
The Strokes' frontman Julian Casablancas and guitarist Nick Valensi started writing material for the album in January 2009, intent on entering the studio that February. Julian commented in Rolling Stone that they had completed about three songs that sounded like a mixture of 1970s rock and "music from the future".
On March 31, 2009 from their MySpace account, the band announced the end of their "much needed hibernation period" and the commencement of new writing and rehearsing for a fourth full-length album, entitled Angles.
In an NME article, Pharrell Williams expressed interest in producing this upcoming album. This followed the news that Casablancas had collaborated with Williams and Santigold on "My Drive Thru," a track commemorating the 100th anniversary of Converse's Chuck Taylor All-Stars shoe. The song was available as a free download from the official Converse site.
The album was due to be released in late 2009, but disagreements about the songs' readiness forced The Strokes to scale back this date.
On February 1, 2010, The Strokes announced on their website that the recording of the fourth album was being helmed by award-winning producer Joe Chicarelli. According to Chicarelli in an interview with HitQuarters, the two camps first met in 2009 and, after finding they shared a similar mind space and similar thoughts on the potential direction of the new record, tried out some tracking. Not long after recording began, however, the band became frustrated with Chicarelli's reserved production style. Only one song from these recording sessions, "Life Is Simple in the Moonlight", remained on the album's tracklisting. Inspired, in part, by bands like MGMT, Arctic Monkeys, and Crystal Castles, The Strokes decided to experiment with various production techniques, and recorded the rest of the album's material at Albert Hammond, Jr.'s home studio in upstate New York with award-winning engineer Gus Oberg.
The Strokes confirmed that they would be headlining the Isle of Wight Festival, Lollapalooza, Roskilde Festival, Hurricane Festival, Splendour In The Grass, Rockness, Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, On The Bright Side, and Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2010. Additionally, The Strokes were announced as the 2011 headliner for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in May, Festival Internacional de Benicàssim, T in the Park, Oxegen, Paléo, Peace & Love and Super Bock Super Rock in July, and Reading festival and Summer Sonic in August. They are also sub-headliners to Pulp at Leeds Festival during the bank holiday weekend in August.
On June 9, 2010, at Dingwalls London, England, the band played a secret show under the name 'Venison' to a crowd of just 487. This was their first live gig since October 2006. The band did not play any new material.
The lead single from the new album, "Under Cover of Darkness", was released on February 9, 2011. The 7" was officially released on March 1, 2011 and contained another track from Angles, "You're So Right", as the B-side. "Taken for a Fool" was confirmed and the 2nd single will be sent to U.S. radio on May 24, 2011. On June 9, The Strokes announced that a music video for "Taken For a Fool" was in the works, and that it is directed by Laurent Briet. They revealed that the music video should be finished by the end of the month.
The Strokes put out the music video for "Taken For a Fool" on July 8, 2011.
Untitled fifth album (2011-present)
In mid-March 2011, an interview with ShortList Magazine revealed that The Strokes had already begun working on their fifth studio album. However, sessions were delayed due to the mixing process of Angles. Julian Casablancas and Nick Valensi both confirmed that there is material in the works as well as plenty of leftover material. Frontman Julian Casablancas claimed that the band were eager to begin working on new material and were already supposed to, but it took longer than expected to master Angles.
On April 25, bassist Nikolai Fraiture posted a tweet announcing that the band were heading into the studio to work on some new ideas.
In an interview with Fuse TV, guitarist Albert Hammond Jr stated that the band was currently working on the fifth album in Los Angeles.
The Strokes reveal that they are planning to record a new album as soon as possible. Bassist Nikolai Fraiture added that the band will record their fifth album in the same manner as they put together 'Angles', with each member bringing in their own ideas and putting them together in the studio."
Awards and nominations
The Strokes awards and nominations Awards and nominations Award Wins Nominations 1 3 1 1 0 3 0 1 4 7 0 1 Totals Awards won 6 Nominations 15
The band received several nominations in their debut year in 2002, including Best New Act from the MTV Europe Music Awards and Best Live Act from the Q Awards. They won several awards in the same year, including Best International Band from the BRIT Awards, and Band of the Year and Best New Act from the NME Awards. They have also been nominated for Best International Band at the NME Awards in 2003, 2006 (which they won), and 2007. Overall, The Strokes have received six awards from 13 nominations.
- BRIT Awards
Year Nominated work Award Result 2002 The Strokes Best International Newcomer Won 2002 The Strokes Best International Group Nominated 2002 Is This It Best International Album Nominated
- Meteor Music Awards
Year Nominated work Award Result 2002 Is This It Best International Album Won
- MTV Europe Music Awards
Year Nominated work Award Result 2002 The Strokes Best New Act Nominated 2006 The Strokes Best Rock Band Nominated 2011 The Strokes Best Alternative Band TBA
- MTV Video Music Awards
Year Nominated work Award Result 2002 Last Nite MTV2 Award Nominated
- NME Awards
Year Nominated work Award Result 2002 Is This It Best Album Won "Hard to Explain" Best Single Nominated The Strokes Band of the Year Won Best New Act Won 2003 The Strokes Best International Band Nominated 2006 The Strokes Best International Band Won 2007 The Strokes Best International Band Nominated
- Q Awards
Year Nominated work Award Result 2002 The Strokes Best Live Act Nominated
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