As you get older, you realize, especially now, we really live at a time where people love to point fingers at other people and forget how human we are and fallible and the mistakes we make. And in time you can kind of get the ability to see it. You create a lot more room for love and understanding as time goes on, the longer you’ve been here. So it’s more just not having the same judgment I did as when I was younger.
I read an interview with you where you said that The New Abnormal gave The Strokes a new, younger generation of fans, but sometimes when you play older songs, those fans don’t recognize them. How does that feel?
Yeah, it was just funny, because you expect Oh, when we rip into this song, it’s a crowd favorite. Honestly we could go and just do the new record and then fill in with stuff. We don’t play much from the fourth and fifth album and I, when I look at our top 25 [on Spotify], there’s actually quite a bit from the fourth and fifth album.
So it’s pretty cool to see. I guess for me what’s exciting is though there’s such great success for the first three [albums], the later three have as much success in [terms of] people wanting to hear certain songs. So we just noticed, if we were to play [New Abnormal cut] “Selfless” right off the bat, or even like a song like “Chances” from Comedown Machine, I think the crowd would erupt more than hearing “Hard to Explain.”
On The New Abnormal, you gave Billy Idol some royalties on the song “Bad Decisions.” Was that out of an overabundance of caution?
Yeah, I guess the world sits in a space now where you deal with it beforehand instead of after. I don’t know. It’s not something I think about or care about—there’s certain things that are gonna have inflections, whether you’re trying or not. There’s times where there are similar melodies and you’ve never even heard the song.
It’s not the centerpiece of the song for me. So I feel like as long as it’s not the centerpiece, it’s kind of all right. I see it in comments where people hear songs and, “Oh, this sounds like this.” And I don’t think they have any idea what they’re talking about. Sometimes, they’ll be so off.
Did you pay attention to the recent copyright lawsuit with Ed Sheeran and the Marvin Gaye estate?
I was gonna say I try to avoid anything with Ed Sheeran.
I did not. I mean I remember, I think suing someone for a vibe is very weird. I thought [the lawsuit against] Robin Thicke was bad. That shouldn’t have happened. That was just strange, especially [because] that’s been happening for so long with sampling.
I don’t think it diminished Marvin Gaye. When I heard it, I wasn’t like, Oh, I just wanna listen to this and forget Marvin Gaye.
Switching topics a little bit, what do you remember about playing the Bernie Sanders rally in 2020?
I remember everything—I’ve got a pretty good memory. It was amazing to meet him. It was amazing to actually meet—[is it] name Cornel West? He came backstage and we just spoke for like 10, 15 minutes.
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