Published May 15, 2017Lizzy Goodman is about to unearth tons of dirt about the indie rock scene with her upcoming book Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City, 2001-2011, and some choice excerpts have already made their way online via Vulture.
In a section about the budding friendship between the Strokes and Ryan Adams — both seminal artists in the titular scene — the young New York five-piece recall their early encounters with the alt-country singer who had a rather wild reputation at the time.
Ryan Gentles managed both acts for a brief while before dropping Adams at the Strokes' insistence to give them his full attention, but management wasn't the only contentious issue between them. Apparently, frontman Julian Casablancas had it out for Adams — blaming him for bandmate Albert Hammond Jr.'s growing drug problem.
As fellow musician Cathering Pierce put it in the book: "Julian thought Ryan was a bad influence on Albert."
In the book, Hammond Jr. admitted that around the time of the Strokes' 2003 album Room on Fire, he got pretty into pills, opiates and Oxycontin. "Ryan would always come and wake me at two in the morning and have drugs, so I'd just do the drugs and kind of numb out," he said. "I knew I would shoot up drugs from a very young age. I'd been wanting to do heroin since I was 14 years old."
Hammond Jr. continued: "I remember Julian threatening to beat Ryan [Adams] up if he hung out with me, as a protective thing. He'd heard that Ryan would come and give me heroin, so he was just like, 'If you come to my apartment again with heroin, I'm going to kick your ass.' I hadn't really been doing it in baggie form until Ryan showed up. He was definitely a bad influence."
Casablancas offered his own recollection of the time. "Did I specifically tell Ryan to stay away from Albert? I can't remember the details, to be honest," he told Goodman in the book. "I think heroin just kind of crosses a line. It can take a person's soul away. So it's like if someone is trying to give your friend a lobotomy — you're gonna step in."
Adams, meanwhile, objected to being labelled a bad influence by his buds in the Strokes.
"That's so sad, because Albert and I were friends. If anything, I really felt like I had an eye on him in a way that they never did," Adams said. "I was around and we actually spent time together. He would show me his songs. It was like, 'No one ever listens to my music, but do you want to hear it?' I would be like, 'Fuck yeah!' I loved him so deeply. I would never ever have given him a bag of heroin. I remember being incredibly worried about him, even after I continued to do speedballs. … I didn't do drugs socially, and I don't remember doing drugs with Albert ever. I wanted to smoke cigarettes and drink, like, dark red wine or vodka and write all night."
Nevertheless, the band urged Gentles to cut ties with Adams.
"It was very dramatic, the way it all went down," Adams recalled. "I was asked to meet one single person in a bar and I got there and it was the whole band and Ryan. I was more or less given a lecture, a hypocritical lecture, and then they told me that I was not going to be part of their scene anymore. It was very weird. It was easy to brand me as the problem. I would suspect that they soon learned that I was not the problem."
You can delve into plenty more dirt from the upcoming book over here. Meet Me in the Bathroom is due out on May 23 through Harper Collins. Read our review here.