The Strokes

  • Indie rock band formed in 1998 from New York City. The band members are Julian Casablancas (vocals, songwriting), Nick Valensi (lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals, songwriting), Albert Hammond Jr. (rhythm guitar, keyboards, backing vocals, songwriting), Nikolai Fraiture (bass guitar, songwriting) and Fabrizio Moretti (drums, songwriting).
  • Casablancas, Valensi and Moretti were classmates in high school, and they began to play together there. At 13 years old, Casablancas met Hammond in Switzerland where he was sent to boarding school there for a year, and when Hammond went to college in New York City, he lived with Casablancas. Fraiture met Casablancas at the age of 6, and when Fraiture’s grandfather gave him a bass guitar as a graduation present, Fraiture gave it to Casablancas. Two years later, he took it back and started playing in the band. They chose the name The Strokes because it sounded cool, after rejecting The de Niros, The Rubber Bands, The Motels, and Flattop Freddie and the Purple Canoes.
  • The five band members played at clubs in Manhattan, and they made a demo that was sent to a British record label. This led to a release of an EP called The Modern Age in 2001,which included the song Last Nite. The EP was popular, starting a bidding war among several labels. By mid-2001, they were signed, and in October that year, they released their debut album, Is This It, which included a re-release of Last Nite. The album was loved by the critics, and listeners took note too – the album sold over 1 million copies in the U.S., and Last Nite peaked at #5 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. Two other singles, Hard To Explain and Someday, also charted. The album is at #199 on Rolling Stones’ Greatest Albums of All Time list.
  • Their follow-up album, Room On Fire, was released in 2003. It was less successful, though their fan base had grown such that it sold over 1 million copies worldwide. Again, the critics praised it, and they landed on the cover of both Rolling Stone and Spin Magazine. The singles 12:51, Reptilia, and The End Has No End all charted on the Alternative Songs chart.
  • In 2006, their next album was released, First Impressions of Earth. Initial sales were strong, but they did not last, and the critics were less receptive their their new effort. Still, Juicebox made it to #9 on the Alternative Songs chart, and they supported the album with their second appearance on SNL. After touring for most of the year, the band went on hiatus.
  • By 2009, they were ready to work again. Songs were written, this time by all of the band members instead of just Casablancas. It took 2 years for the group to be satisfied with the production of the songs they recorded, and in March 2011, Angles was released. It peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and was top 10 in many other countries. The single Under Cover of Darkness charted at #12 on the Alternative chart, and was their third most successful single in their history.
  • Comedown Machine was released in 2013, and an EP titled Future Present Past was released in 2016. At this point, their songs were not selling, and they cut back on touring. In 2020, they released the studio album The New Abnormal. The single Bad Decisions reached #5 on the Alternative Songs chart, and they won their first Grammy award for Best Rock Album.
  • When The Strokes hit the scene, they were proclaimed as “The Saviors of Rock and Roll.” Well, they started out strong, but I think that Rock and Roll managed to progress without them – though they came back strong in 2020, winning their Grammy. My fave is their song Reptilia. Here’s the video for this great track.

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