For the other half. he slugged the sponsors‘ devil juice from a can and flashed that cheeky grin.
Almost instantly the kids were bouncing shoulder- high to a bunch of the catchiest songs they‘d never heard before. and the sight of those thousands falling in love right there beneath that leaden sky was enough to move the most cynical soul. The Strokes had unequivocally stolen the hearts of the hoi polloi.
By the time they returned to Scotland in late August for Gig On The Green. having conquered Leeds and Reading on their march north. they had clambered to the middle of the bill. with Mull Historical Society and Amen making unlikely bedfellows either side of them. That set consolidated their status. Shortly after. debut album Is This It slid comfortably to no 2 in the album charts. selling almost 1.5 million copies since.
Speaking to The List at last month's NME Awards after collecting three trophies. less than a week after they swiped the Best International Newcomer gong at the Brits. Fab asserts earnestly: ‘Those gigs that we‘ve played. the people and places that we‘ve seen. we can recount every single one of them. When
you‘re actually experiencing it. you‘re never aware of
it. you‘re not counting every step and thinking: “l‘ve
Left to right: Nick Valensi (guitar), Albert Hammond Jr (guitar), Julian Casablancas (vocals), Fabrizio Moretti (drums) and Nikolai Fraiture (bass)
got this far." It's all part of that staircase. It's always like we are never comfortable with where we stand. always have to get a lot out of every show and make sure that we play better than we’ve ever played before.‘
But where does The Strokes‘ stairway lead'.’ Heaven? Or after a brief flash of fame. will they crash and burn in hype hell‘.’ Since the release of Is This Ir they‘ve come up with a few new songs and thrown a couple into their live sets in the US. The odds are high that they’ll be pl; yed at the Barrowland and Corn Exchange gigs.
But is this it‘.’ What next'.’ The band‘s aides are cagey about the choice and delivery date of single number four. though summer's a safe bet since they‘ve been tipped to play virtually every UK festival.
Do they have the substance to back up the abundance of style? Well. it‘s likely to be a long. long time before they even think about starting that ‘difficult second album’. So maybe it‘s just as well you like that first one so much.
The Strokes play the Barrowland Glasgow, Fri 22 Mar and the Corn Exchange, Edinburgh, Sat 23 Mar.
The Stokes are giving Lennon, Christ and even Kylie a run for their money in the popularity stakes but what’s gonna happen next? The List looks into its crystal ball to ask: will they be the next . . .
Rapturously received debut album followed by an equally lauded second, making them the biggest band on earth. Huge but still trying to recapture that original energy. Odds 684/1
Debut as puke- stained perverted geeks pissing on the neighbour’s lawn and shouting. Reinvented themselves as goatee stroking. Buddha hugging eccentric geeks in boiler suits. And still sell as many records. Odds 1 73/1
Defined the sound, style and moment with their sexy bass heavy antics. Disappear very far up their own vocoders making the second, self-conscious second LP. End pretending to be robots. Odds 874.272/1
Put the cat among the budgies with an inaugural platter frothing with attitude. eye liner and B&H butts. Drugs, fame and ambitious lovers led to creative dead end after apologetic second LP. See also the Stone Roses. Odds 13/1
Changes the way the world thinks about rock guitar with a mind-blowing first album. Continues on that path for several other albums before branching out, wigging out and snuffing it while there's still loads of potential. Odds 1 969/1
Change the face of rock’n’roll with a million selling first record. Watch as egos inflate and the handbags comes out. Everyone chucks it except megalomaniac singer and the world smirks.
lvl~28 Mar 2002 THE LIST 27