Albert Hammond Jr. recently opened up about his extensive drug use during The Strokes‘ garage rock revival heyday, when he would routinely shoot a cocktail of drugs. In a new interview, Hammond has elaborated further on the mental and professional impact of his drug use.
Last month, Hammond revealed to NME that he would regularly shoot a concoction of heroin, cocaine, and ketamine “Morning, night, 20 times a day,” and took to wearing long-sleeve shirts to hide the copious track marks lining his arms, with his drug use lasting for most of his 20s.
Speaking to The Talks, Hammond revealed the psychological impact of his drug use, saying “You know, I reached points where I was insane, hearing voices because I was up for so long, moving stuff around and locking myself in my room for long periods of time.”
“I became in love with that very dark side of it,” he added. “I became in love with the process of intravenous use, even moreso than the drugs, just the process of pushing something in there.” Hammond’s addiction also took a professional toll, alarming his bandmates who feared for his life.
“Everyone just told me as a friend, ‘I don’t want to see you like this. Forget the band’,” he said. “I wasn’t going to kill myself on purpose, but you reach a point where you really just don’t see it and you just don’t care.” Hammond explained how he came close to overdosing multiple times, saying:
“I wasn’t going to kill myself on purpose, but you reach a point where you really just don’t see it and you just don’t care. It could have happened so easily so many times. I don’t even know how I kept on waking up. First you are at least measuring it.
“But by the end you are so shaky you are just mixing and pouring and sometimes you feel it. You push it in and you know it is too much and then your body goes into some kind of shake and you get extreme fear, like, “That’s it, I have done it, I have done too much. I am going to fall down.”
In the interview, the guitarist, who recently released a new solo EP, reflected on the psychological underpinnings behind his addiction, which he said stretch back to his adolescence. Said Hammond:
“It was weird. I’ve always wanted to do it. Most people are afraid of it, but I always loved pushing that boundary. If I am honest with myself, since I was 15 I knew I was going to do it, but I had this mechanism where I was able to not do too much because I wanted to achieve something first…
“I was afraid that it would consume me. And so as I started to achieve I think I mentally allowed myself to go further and further into it until by the end it was not even about getting high for fun or getting high to work, it was just about complete and utter non-functioning.”
Earlier this month, Hammond told Gigwise that he was looking to focus on a life outside of The Strokes, concentrating on his solo career, saying “I love my role in the band and obviously it gives me something else. But I don’t know if I need it. I’ve always loved to play a variety of music.”
(Via The Talks)