The Strokes guitarist Albert Hammmond, Jr. is lucky to be alive. In a raw new interview with British music mag NME, the musician, now 33, speaks frankly about overcoming a nearly deadly drug addiction about four years ago. Sober since a 2009 rehab stay, the American-born rocker says he was in a "dark place" back in 2003, when The Strokes released their second album Room on Fire.
"It was, like, oxycontin and cocaine at 24, 25, 26. and then I became [addicted to] heroin around then," Hammond reveals. "So from 26, 27 'til 29. 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."
Hammond eventually moved on to a dangerous cocktail of injected drugs. "I used to shoot cocaine, heroin and ketamine. All together. Morning, night, 20 times a day. You know, I was a mess," he says.
"I look back and I don't even recognize myself. I did my own thing," Hammond observes now. "I mean, you have moments when you're fine. And if someone meets you, you seem fine."
His abuse of needle-administered drugs was so bad, in fact, that he couldn't wear short-sleeve shirts without exposing track marks to his fans.
"I remember when I was showing someone music and I was wearing a short shirt ... there were just purple [track marks] all the way down here," he recalls. "And then they would call someone - 'Did you see Albert, he looks crazy?' That's where I learned to wear long sleeves."
A much healthier Hammond is releasing his solo EP "AHJ" this year.