The Strokes’ Albert Hammond Jr. Discusses Bonnaroo

One of the most anticipated sets at this year’s Bonnaroo will come from The Strokes, who will play the Manchester, Tennessee music festival for the very first time this June. “We’ve never played [Bonnaroo] so I have no idea what the crowd is like,” says Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr. “I’ve only heard stories from Kings of Leon, and they always seem to have fun.”

We asked Hammond, Jr. about what it feels like to play the songs from their new album Angles live, and what we can expect to hear during their headlining set:

It’s always fun playing new songs live when you haven’t played them yet. Even though they’re the most stressful, strangely enough, [they’re] what keeps a band together. Because when you’re playing them live you start to notice how much you’re leaning on everyone, and how much people are leaning on you. You start to feel this invisible trust. They’ve been going over better and better as the people start to know the record.

Obviously the beauty of time is that the old songs just grow and grow and grow. But there’s definitely an excitement when we play the single [“Under Cover Of Darkness.”] It feels like we’re playing “Last Nite.” You know what I mean? It’s pretty crazy. “Games,” “Life is Simple In The Moonlight,” “Gratisfaction,” they’re all my favorites to play live.

Are there any that are particularly challenging to pull off?

They’re all challenging. Somehow we’ve managed to make each record harder than the previous one. I imagine different parts for different people are. Like the song “You’re so Right,” it’s pretty easy for me but then there’s other songs like “Gratisfaction” where I play these chords and sing, so it’s much harder, or “Life is Simple.” Six months from now it won’t be like that, the newer ones will be even harder, and I’ll be thankful for these.

In other Strokes news, the band are said to be back at work on the followup to Angles. Or are they? Julian Casablancas tells Q Magazine that he’s put a hold on writing sessions, due in part to a disagreement with guitarist Nick Valensi. “He [Valensi] wanted to do a solo record of songs that we arranged together in The Strokes but because we have a contract he wasn’t allowed to do that,” Casablancas said. “”I only canceled the writing sessions because I told him I wanted to be done with this record first. We had a plan for a writing session but we hadn’t finished this record by then. I stuck to my story on that one.” Read more here.