The Strokes guitarist Nick Valensi turns singer
In the 15 years since The Strokes became a breakout global sensation, guitarist Nick Valensi has found comfort in the shadows, taking the limelight only when he wants.
So he began his latest vocation — as a frontman for his side project CRX, which releases its debut album on Friday — with little idea of what to do.
“I didn’t really want to be a singer. I like singing backup vocals. I like writing melodies. But being the frontman of a band seemed kind of a tall order,” Valensi says over coffee sitting at a sunlit sidewalk cafe in Los Angeles, the native New Yorker’s adopted home.
“Being the frontman for a rock band, a lot of it has to do with talent, but a lot of it has to do also with your personality and how comfortable you are commanding attention,” he says.
“I like attention, but I like it when I’mready for it, and as a guitar player you’re always afforded that ability to kind of step out and get a lot of attention, but also step back and retreat into the shadows a little bit.”
Still, Valensi is at ease with his own voice on the new album, New Skin. He confidently, if not flamboyantly, carries songs largely consistent with The Strokes’ rougharoundpunk revival sound, albeit with a touch more keyboard.