The Strokes' Albert Hammond Jr.: 'I Used to Shoot Cocaine, Heroin and Ketamine'

Albert Hammond Jr - P 2013
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Albert Hammond Jr - P 2013

The musician opens up about his past drug addiction ahead of the release of his new EP.

The Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. is opening up about his past drug use.

In a new interview with NME magazine ahead of the release of his AHJ EP, 33-year-old Hammond detailed his descent following the success of the rock group's sophomore album in 2003, Room on Fire. "It was, like, oxycontin and cocaine at 24, 25, 26, and then I became [addicted to] heroin around then. So from 26, 27 'til 29," the musician, now four years sober, told NME.

"It's not so much that I wasn't in a happy place," Hammond said of the time. "God knows where I was. I was just very high. That's where I was."

It got to the point where Hammond was mixing drugs and using multiple times a day. "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," he recalled.

Hammond added: "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 music and I was wearing a short shirt and ... there were just purple [track marks] all the way down here. And then they would call someone, 'Did you see Albert, he looks crazy?' That's where I learned to wear long sleeves."

Fortunately, Hammond had an "a-ha" moment, which brought him to seek help. He checked into rehab in 2009.

"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," he said. "But then it stops you from growing and puts you in a place where you’re just not as good as you could be. 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."

AHJ will be released Oct. 8 via Strokes bandmate Julian Casablancas' label, Cult Records.