Strokes Say No Thanks To Big-Name Producers, Directors

By | June 24, 2002 at 12:00 AM

The Strokes may be the “it” band of the moment, but don’t expect them to be lining up studio sessions with “it” producers like Glen Ballard or the Neptunes.

When the New York garage-rockers begin recording their second album later this summer, Is This It producer Gordon Raphael will again be behind the boards.

“It’s not gonna be like, ‘Oh, now that we’re successful, we’re gonna work with all these super-producer guys that are going to make us a top-selling hit,’ ” singer Julian Casablancas said backstage at Saturday’s KROQ Weenie Roast. “That’s never been the goal for us. We just want to do something special. We want to progress, but at the same time you still want that edge. You don’t want to lose it.”

The Strokes, who have already written several new tracks for their still-untitled next record, have a strategy to keep the music progressing. “We don’t have a new song unless it’s better and different than the other songs,” Casablancas said. “So we’ll stick to the same criteria, and that’s all we’re doing. We’re trying to do something that’s original that still sounds good, whether you know a lot about music or you know nothing about music.”

Before Casablancas and his cohorts commence recording, they will shoot the video for “Someday,” the third single from their still-hot debut, Is This It, with Roman Coppola, the son of Francis Ford Coppola who also directed the “Last Nite” and “Hard to Explain” clips.

The Strokes have not settled on the treatment, but the video will likely find the band on the set of “Family Feud.” “I always thought it sort of had something to do with life; that’s why I’ve always liked it,” Casablancas said of the game show. “We’re going to incorporate that somehow, maybe play against Guided by Voices, one of my favorite bands that don’t get enough credit.”

As with their attitude toward recording, the group isn’t interested in working with any big-name video directors.

“Spike Jonze wanted to direct the first video, and we talked with him, but the thing is, sometimes directors have the whole way that MTV does a video, and that whole standard is not really interesting for us, all the lip-syncing and doing something that is visually entertaining,” Casablancas explained. “It’s about making the song better and doing something that maybe lasts a little longer in time. Roman is a guy that, ever since we met him, has told us that he’s into what we want to do. He basically provides for the ideas that we have, which most directors don’t. So I think it’s cool that a band can have power and make their own video. We’re still trying to do something that will somehow be strange and yet popular.”

Perhaps they can get some tips from Lego enthusiasts the White Stripes, who will be sharing the stage with the Strokes for shows in each of the bands’ hometowns, New York and Detroit.

The highly anticipated shows came about when the two first met in England and later in New York, where Casablancas tossed the idea out to Stripes singer Jack White.

“Two bands that I guess are compared a lot get to play together and f– all the bullsh-,” Casablancas said, referring to the hype that has surrounded both groups, who are considered the leaders of the much-publicized garage rock revolution. “I think it’s a pretty weak-ass revolution. I think that some of these bands are somehow designed to be cool, and it’s not realistic. A lot of what we do is based on reality, right from the heart.”

Casablancas believes the press has painted the Strokes out to be a band they are not. “It’s not like we’re trying to retrieve something from the past as much as use what we like about the past to push forward,” he said. “It’s not as regressive or it’s not so much based on ripping off older music as much as it’s getting different influences.”

Aside from their shows with the White Stripes and an appearance at the End Fest in George, Washington, the Strokes will play five dates on the Enlightenment Tour with Weezer, Dashboard Confessional and Sparta.

“They wanted us to do a whole tour, but we want to take time to write, work on new stuff,” said Casablancas, a Weezer fan who is particularly fond of their 1994 debut. “We made the effort to at least play some shows because they’re cool band.”

Strokes Tour Dates, According To RCA Records:

  • 6/22 – George, WA – The Gorge – KNND End Fest
  • 7/15 – Cuyahoga Falls, OH – Blossom Music Center
  • 7/17 – Noblesville, IN – Verizon Wireless Music Center
  • 7/18 – Columbus, OH – Polaris Amphitheatre
  • 7/29 – Atlanta, GA – HiFi Buys Amphitheatre
  • 7/30 – Antioch, TN – AmSouth Amphitheatre
  • 8/9 – Detroit, MI – Chene Park
  • 8/14 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza
  • 8/15 – New York, NY – Radio City Music Hall

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