Talkin' Shop With Albert Hammond Jr.

There is this weird thing that's happened. If you say you want to sell records you immediate become this evil person. The point is to reach people, and that is true for every artist, back from when music started.

-Albert Hammond Jr.


That must be a surreal experience to be able to work creatively over the phone.

Albert Hammond Jr.
That is how I like to work, which is why I told you I am constantly in the moment and thinking of things. Just being in the moment is very important, at least for that record. That is what I remember to be most important. For this [new record] I feel like being in the moment would mean having a set amount of time. It would be exciting to see what we can do with that because that changes everything. So, even though it had no set date, it felt rushed. We were on fire even though there was no album plan. This time I would like a normal three weeks in the studio.

I was having a conversation with Matt Helders of the Arctic Monkeys when he was at the Warfield in San Francisco, and he was saying how you were good friends. Then a couple weeks later I caught you at the Arctic Monkeys gig in New York City. I was wondering if your relationship with other artists like the Arctic Monkeys opens you up to a creative process with them?

Yeah, I get inspired by The Libertines and the Arctic Monkeys. Like on the first Arctic Monkeys album they had these really cool rhythmic things going on with the guitars that reminded me of other stuff from other past things that I like. You kind of put it all together and that inspires you to do something. Same way when I was a kid and I saw Blue Velvet I was inspired. Whatever inspires you to play music is great.

Hammond Jr. & Nick Valensi (The Strokes)
I was talking with Brandon Flowers [The Killers] and Jack White [White Stripes] and they were mentioning this gray area in pop music. Either you are a Creed musician who wants to sell records or you are a Bright Eyes artist who is just to cool for everything.

There is this weird thing that's happened. If you say you want to sell records you immediate become this evil person. The point is to reach people, and that is true for every artist, back from when music started. Pop music used to be whatever the popular music of the day was and then it became "Oh, you wrote a pop song" even though it is not popular.

What would you say to loyalists of the indie rock scene or the jam scene that believe pop music is just timely music because it's used on MTV or something like that outlet?

Albert Hammond Jr. by Justin Jay
I just want to create something that will be there when I'm 50 [where] somebody would hear that record for the first time and think it is cool. It would be a feeling like, "Holy shit, I made that thing like 25 years ago." There is an emotion - whatever people think, if I am a playing pop or I am here to sell records or whatever it is - I know what emotion I put into it. I know what it was, and that is all that matters to me. That is the only thing that is true and real. To feel that emotion back from someone else is exciting.

I wanted to ask you about the media. I was sitting in on an interview with Julian Casablancas when he was doing press for First Impressions of Earth and he was saying how the British Press has always been really good to you guys and how the American Press was always very critical. I was wondering if you feel the press approaches you with an agenda?

Everyone has some kind of agenda when you are doing interviews, some kind of angle they are not going to tell you about. Then, when you answer their questions they are going to fit your answers into their story, like when you write an essay when are in high school. You use quotes from a book to prove whatever point you want to prove. The press is silly because you can watch the Beatles' Anthology now and "They're over" is coming from all these journalists and the Beatles are the biggest band in the world. The press is good because it helps you reach people and tell people your message but sometimes it is not good because the people that are writing sometimes don't love it as much as you do. Things come across as frustrating but in the end, if you do what you love to do, you can make something that people love to hear that will last longer than any press. It is just music and I feel like people are too serious sometimes.

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Chapelchilla starstarstarstar Tue 7/3/2007 04:21PM
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I talked to Albert after a Strokes show a few years ago. He was very cool, friendly and polite. It sounds like he still is. Best of luck on the solo stuff, Albert. Nice write up, Jambase.

HoodooVoodoo Tue 7/3/2007 04:53PM
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Albert is a cool dude. Not many people know this, but he also invented the Hammond Organ.

Luthur starstarstar Tue 7/3/2007 07:32PM
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rtavare Wed 7/4/2007 12:49AM
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peaton Wed 7/4/2007 01:55PM
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If you saw Albert Hammond Jr. on his latest tour, you probably saw a band called the Dead Trees open for him. If you havent checked them out, they fuckin rock and they are worthy of attention. Just throwing that out there, if you like it you can take it, if not, throw it right back at me.

guitardave starstarstarstarstar Thu 7/5/2007 07:39AM
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Hammond organ, indeed! In actuality, he DID author the Hammond Road Atlas. Thanks to Albert we can all properly navigate the highways and byways of our great land. Three cheers for Albert!

piper2 starstarstarstar Thu 7/5/2007 09:04AM
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HoodooVoodoo Thu 7/5/2007 05:30PM
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Actually you're right Piper...Albert Hammond Jr invented the Stratocaster and the Rhodes. My bad.

petemora starstarstarstarstar Fri 7/6/2007 07:08AM
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He actually invented the question mark.

HoodooVoodoo Fri 7/6/2007 11:30AM
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I believe he also invented Camel Lights and Ribbed Condoms.

karacter0 star Sat 7/7/2007 10:42AM
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karacter0 Sat 7/7/2007 10:44AM
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so, i guess his dad sang the song 'It never rains in California'? I'd much rather listen to that.

petemora starstarstarstar Tue 7/10/2007 06:36AM
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He re-invented the obligatory Hendrix perm.
P.S. the Strokes are a kickass group, even though they are antithesis of a Jamband.

jr2037 Mon 7/23/2007 11:36AM
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Anyone actually heard this album?

petemora starstarstarstarstar Fri 7/27/2007 12:59PM
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Bringin' Back The Joofro.