Hot Chip's Al Doyle Talks the Perils of a Rock'n'Roll Lifestyle

BY Andrea WarnerPublished Sep 13, 2012

With the summer release of Hot Chip's fifth album, In Our Heads, the English band celebrated a dozen years' worth of electro-dance jams. Over that time, while other bands have imploded due to ego clashes, bad business decisions and soured relationships, Hot Chip have accidentally cultivated a reputation for geniality. They make fun music, they're good friends, and even collaborate on each others' side-projects. And while all of that is true, personal challenges and rock-star living have taken a toll -- just not publicly.

Multi-instrumentalist Al Doyle, who also played with LCD Soundsystem, joined Hot Chip around 2003, and speaking to Exclaim!, he shed some light on band dynamics and their brotherly love. There haven't been any reports of onstage fisticuffs, right?

"Weeeell, that's not quite true," he laughs. "Definitely -- between Owen [Clarke] and I. I mean, it's very good-natured, but we were both borderline or pretty much alcoholics, so we would get way too out of it. Well, it gets kind of ugly and a little physical sometimes, but not so much that we've drawn blood or anything.

"It's forgotten in the morning. But it's ugly now, too, we're fattening, middle-aged guys with receding hairlines and getting ugly and brawl-y on the stage, we're trying to put a lid on that."

It's hard to tell at first if Doyle's being serious. Has alcohol actually been a problem for him?

"Yeah, I think so," Doyle says. "I'm going to hang out with James [Murphy] from LCD [Soundsystem] tonight, and he's just had, like, a shocking report from his doctor. He was just sort of laying there, and he was like, 'I've got 10 years on you, and you need to you know, 'this doesn't last forever,' was basically the shape of the argument. I'm going to see him for dinner tonight, it was my birthday yesterday, so he's taking me out and he's not drinking tonight and I'm going to see how that goes."

And as Doyle explains, his sobriety is new, like, very new.

"I think it's going to be -- yeah, you know there are a lot of guys our age, early 30s or late 30s, it's time to think maybe about possibly having a go at slowing down," Doyle laughs. "I don't know whether it's going to have to be replaced by something else, like, I know people seem to be getting into Keepfit, like replacing one addiction with another thing. Like, really into, you know what I mean? I just wonder if I could ever do that? I haven't really exercised since like, 1998."

As previously reported, Hot Chip are in the midst of a North American tour and will play Vancouver on September 15 and 16. You can see all their upcoming dates here.

In Our Heads is out now on Domino.

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