BOOKS

How to sur­vive NYC’s last great rock’n’roll ex­plo­sion…

Mojo (UK) - - Contents - Lizzy Good­man

Meet Me In The Bath­room: Re­birth And Rock And Roll In New York City 2001-2011

There are a lot of peo­ple hav­ing a lot of fun in Meet Me In The Bath­room, jour­nal­ist Lizzy Good­man’s dy­namic record of the New York mu­sic scene as the cen­tury turned. Fun bub­bles up in Brook­lyn and Man­hat­tan, in base­ments and lofts, it spills out as pills and pow­ders and in per­for­mances that are al­most as “leg­endary” as the par­ties that fol­lowed. There’s James Mur­phy of LCD Soundsys­tem, tak­ing ec­stasy for the first time as To­mor­row Never Knows blares around him. There’s Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs grab­bing “su­per-spitty” beers from the au­di­ence to tip over her­self on-stage. Amid all this rough-and-tum­ble, cen­tre-of-the-uni­verse rev­elry, how­ever, there’s one mo­ment of pure joy: the scene that greeted pub­li­cist Jim Merlis when he vis­ited The Strokes’ Columbia Ho­tel room dur­ing their first Bri­tish shows. “They were all bare­foot in bed to­gether and they smelled like rock stars,” he re­mem­bers. “They said, ‘We just want to tell you, we want to do this for the rest of our lives.’ It was so sweet.” The coolest gang in any room is how The Strokes are re­mem­bered, but among the cau­tion­ary tales in this wildly en­ter­tain­ing and evoca­tive book “noth­ing lasts for­ever” rings out loud­est. Cre­ated from hun­dreds of in­ter­views by Good­man (she put down NYC in­ner­cir­cle roots as a stu­dent work­ing in a res­tau­rant with The Strokes’ Nick Valensi), this dig­i­tal-age ver­sion of Please Kill Me is raw, in­ti­mate and sur­pris­ingly frank. There is some­times a hint of LCD Soundsys­tem’s Los­ing My Edge about things – “I was there!” – but in­ter­leav­ing, if some­times con­tra­dic­tory, tes­ti­monies bounce light and mean­ing off each other, al­low­ing the city and its peo­ple to rise off the page in a hiss of pun­gent side­walk steam. The large cast in­cludes the for­got­ten and the false starts – elec­tro­clash avatars Fischerspooner, for ex­am­ple, or skinny no-good­niks Jonathan Fire*Eater. It’s also the story of a city which had lost its rock’n’roll crown to Seat­tle in the ’90s and be­come “a dot-com kind of town”, ac­cord­ing to TV On The Ra­dio’s Dave Sitek. The Strokes up­ended that – but they weren’t the only agents of change: here is the rise of the in­ter­net, a desta­bilised mu­sic in­dus­try, the in­ex­orable force of gen­tri­fi­ca­tion (a club called Abase­ment is now a Jil San­der flag­ship store) and, of course, the im­pact of 9/11. In­ter­pol, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Rap­ture: all th­ese bands are shown sav­ing hu­mankind from an end­less fu­ture of nu-metal and Cold­play. But The Strokes dom­i­nate, crea­tures of the mod­ern age and play­ers in an old story of fame and glory. One minute bassist Niko­lai Frai­ture’s brother is giv­ing Julian Casablan­cas The Best Of The Vel­vet Un­der­ground for Christ­mas; the next, Fabrizio Moretti is kiss­ing Drew Bar­ry­more at Coachella and the band are stag­ing in­ter­ven­tions to keep “bad in­flu­ence” Ryan Adams away from Al­bert Ham­mond Jr and his in­creas­ingly calami­tous drug ad­dic­tion. No won­der the next gen­er­a­tion – Vam­pire Week­end, Dirty Pro­jec­tors – would be more sen­si­ble. Life moves fast, but in this book’s 600 pages Good­man pins down a re­mark­able cul­tural mo­ment. They were there.

Fab­u­lously in­dis­creet oral history of The Strokes and be­yond. By Vic­to­ria Se­gal. “THE STROKES WERE BARE­FOOT IN BED AND SMELLED LIKE ROCK STARS.”

The streets out­side the pre-hip­ster Brook­lyn loft where The Na­tional’s Matt Berninger lived ran with rot­ten milk from an un­li­censed bot­tling plant . He found a box in the street con­tain­ing a “head­less chicken and a dou­ble-ended dildo”. Brit­ney Spears asked LCD Soundsys­tem to write a track with her: in the stu­dio, she ate the ic­ing off two cupcakes, drank four Red Bulls and sang a song that was a cross be­tween Liq­uid Liq­uid and I Feel Love. She was “never heard from again”. Af­ter Karen O fell off a speaker in Syd­ney, her band tried to slow things down, earn­ing them the nick­name the No No Nos, WHAT WE’VE LEARNT

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.