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Strokes guitarist was ‘hooked on heroin and cocaine’

Strokes guitarist was ‘hooked on heroin and cocaine’

Albert Hammond Jr. performs with The Strokes at the Roskilde Festival in 2006. Photo: WENN/Line B. Kristense

The Strokes rocker Albert Hammond, Jr. has opened up about his drug hell, confessing he spent years hooked on heroin and cocaine at the height of the band’s success.

The guitarist checked into a rehabilitation clinic in 2009 to wean himself off a drug habit but has never spoken in depth about his issues, making only vague references to his addiction demons.

Now the 33 year old has detailed a horrifying life of taking heroin and cocaine up to 20 times a day and wearing long-sleeved tops to hide the grotesque needle marks on his arms.

Hammond, Jr. says his heavy drug habit began in 2006 following the release of The Strokes’ third album, First Impressions of Earth, and continued until he went into rehab four years later.

He tells NME magazine, “Around the second album (2003’s Room on Fire), I’d say, I was in a dark place, dude. I was in a very dark place. I’m just now being able to understand or speak about that time, and it’s been almost four years… It was, like, (painkiller) oxycontin and cocaine at (the ages of) 24, 25, 26. And then I became (addicted to) heroin around then. So from (the ages of) 26, 27, ’til 29…”

Detailing how his lifestyle became dictated by his addiction, he adds, “It’s not so much that I wasn’t in a happy place; I was just… God knows where I was. I was just very high. That’s where I was… I mean, do you want me to get specific? I don’t mind, but yeah, I used to shoot cocaine, heroin and ketamine. All together. Morning, night, 20 times a day.

“You know, I was a mess. 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. But I remember when I was showing someone some music and I was wearing a short shirt and… there were just purple (needle track marks) all the way down (my arm). And then they would call someone – ‘Did you see Albert, he looks crazy?’. That’s where I learned to wear long sleeves. I’ve had these tattoos forever and I have people coming up (saying), ‘Oh, you’ve had new tattoos?’. I’m like, ‘No, you just haven’t seen me with a short shirt on…”

The rocker also insists he turned his back on his addiction as it was stopping him from moving forward: “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. But then it stops you from growing and puts you in a place where you’re just not as good as you could be – for me. 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.”

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