Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr. is about to release a solo EP called AHJ – a collection of songs featuring seemingly confessional lyrics like “I can’t believe I lost my mind.”
It turns out right around the time his old band was peaking, so was Hammond—on a remarkable cocktail of narcotics. In a conversation with NME, the four-years-sober Hammond detailed his descent into addiction. “Oxycontin and cocaine at 24, 25, 26,” said Hammond, 33. ” And then I became [addicted to] heroin around then. So from 25, 27 till 29.”
“It’s not so much that I wasn’t in a happy place,” Hammond told the NME. “God knows where I was. I was just very high. I used to shoot cocaine, heroin and ketamine. All together. Morning, night, 20 times a day. I look back and I don’t even recognize myself. I did my own thing. I mean, you have moments when you’re fine. And if someone meets you, you seem fine.”
Luckily for Hammond, he managed to have his moment of clarity and get clean. “I think drugs were a great way to get out of your head. You enjoy that for a while, it helps you to go to new places,” he said. “But then it stops you from growing and puts you in a place where you’re just not as good as you could be. I’m not judging. I did it hard and for a long time, so I’m in no place to judge, nor would I. Something clicked one day, and I got out of it.”
The Strokes didn’t do any press surrounding their last album Comedown Machine, and Hammond still isn’t talking about that release. “We thought it’d be cool to keep a quietness to it, to see what a record would do [if you could only] listen to it,” Hammond said of the album, noting that he thought the press misunderstood it.
The five-track EP AHJ, due October 8 will be released on Strokes bandmate Julian Casablancas’ record label.