Q&A: Albert Hammond Jr. Discusses Hometown Shows, Buddy Holly, and Not Being Deterred

Posted on Friday June 3rd in

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The Strokes are back in a big way locally, playing The Capitol Theatre on Tuesday and Governors Ball tonight. But not satisfied with just two shows, guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. — whose third full-length album, Momentary Masters, came out last summer — caps off his busy week tomorrow, late night at Brooklyn Bowl. And he talked about not having a backup plan, and not being deterred with Knockdown Alley.
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Growing up with a father who was a successful singer-songwriter, did you always want to be a musician? It’s obviously worked out, but did you ever have a backup plan? Funny enough, I didn’t want to be a musician until my early teens, when I fell in love with Buddy Holly and then Guided by Voices. I don’t think I ever believed in backup plans. I was in love with something, and however good or bad that was, I wasn’t going to be deterred. The working out part is never over.

As part of a band with global appeal but also synonymous with New York City, what does it mean to you to be playing these three shows at home this week? I love playing at home. Maybe because you walk the same streets everyday, but I always feel supercasual and excited to play NYC.

Yours to Keep was recently reissued on vinyl for the first time. Since this is the 10-year anniversary of its release, will you be focusing on it at your Brooklyn Bowl show on Saturday? Or will you be playing an even mix of your entire catalog? I always like having an even mix of songs.
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Speaking of your catalog, your first two full-lengths came out just a couple of years apart. But then the third one didn’t arrive until 2015, seven years after ¿Cómo Te Llama? was released. Was that intentional, as in you were busy doing other things, living your life? Or was it just a matter of waiting for inspiration to hit and then you go with it? It was because I was fucked up on drugs and then did two Strokes records. I’m already working on No. 4, so I’m picking up the pace.

Does touring behind a new album like Momentary Masters inspire you to make more new music? Or is it all-consuming and not conducive to creating something else? It inspires me to make new music — music I feel like I’m missing or want to hear and sing.

What are you looking forward to in performing here? I’ve never played Brooklyn Bowl but have seen many shows there. It feels like a fun stage to play with the bowling lanes right next to the stage — and good food.
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It’s a late show on Saturday with a big festival in town. What can we expect? I got an hour-plus set list that I think is awesome. I could’ve done two hours, but I feel like it’s a little late for that.
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