More than a momentary master

Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. plays solo show at Turf Club.


Jason McDonald

Guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. from The Strokes comes to Turf Club to perform new album on Nov. 3.

Paul Patane, Sports Editor

He’s a founding member of the popular indie rock band The Strokes and has played rhythm guitar in the group his entire adult life. When Albert Hammond Jr. isn’t playing with the band, he tours and creates his own music, and on Tuesday night, Nov. 3, Hammond brings his newest songs, vocals and guitar to Turf Club in St. Paul.

“Momentary Masters,” Hammond’s newest studio album from Vagrant Records, which was partially inspired by legendary astrophysicist Carl Sagan’s book “Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future for Space,” was released this past July. New songs such as “Born Slippy,” “Razor’s Edge” and “Coming Getcha” have been met with intrigue and acclaim as Hammond embraces his band’s distinctive garage rock inspired melodies with a touch of new wave, exploring themes such as identity, mortality and new beginnings while entrenching listeners in a sound that feels authentic and familiar to Hammond’s indie rock roots.

With new beginnings comes an opportunity for Hammond to change and grow, something he’s recently embraced after moving out of New York City, recording the new album and starting to tour again.

“You change every day; you’re a little different,” Hammond said. “This [tour] just feels at the best it’s ever been, show-wise, by far.”

Despite how prolific he’s been, having collaborated on and recorded five Strokes records, a trio of solo albums and an EP, Hammond has struggled with addiction and worked hard to become sober in recent years.

“Getting sober got my life back. I would have been dead, or a vegetable, or something else had I continued. With that comes everything,” Hammond said. “Over time I got to remember why I played music to begin with, and it wasn’t to get fucked up.”

Now sober and as committed to his music as ever, Hammond continues to balance his solo and Strokes careers as he’s mostly just interested in playing good rock ‘n roll music.

“I’m just trying to start a career for my solo work now. [I’m] not really doing it to work out anything besides just wanting to keep playing music and have that be my career,” Hammond said.

Hammond’s new album and tour didn’t happen overnight as it took a balance of commitments and a lengthy hiatus to deal with his substance abuse problems.

“I didn’t release a solo record, but I put out two Strokes records and put out an EP,” Hammond said. “It’s hard to do both at the same time. We just released an EP and were touring and got excited to try to build a career out of this. We had the songs and the album and it just kind of went from there.”

Opening for Hammond at Turf Club will be emerging rock group Walking Shapes. From Hammond, attendees can expect a full headlining set that features his solo work as he doesn’t delve around much with covers, including ones for The Strokes.

Even though Hammond’s been rocking professionally for nearly two decades and fought for his sobriety, there’s no sign of the rock star slowing down anytime soon.

“If anything, I feel like now I have more energy than I did when I was in my early 20’s,” Hammond said. “It starts off with a little spark and that creates bigger things and that keeps you going.”

Hammond elaborated on the process and cycle that keeps him inspired and engaged musically.

“You start up just excited, like oh you have a band, oh let’s go in the studio and see what the song sounds like. The song gets really cool, and you’re like it’s better than I ever imagined it, and then it gets into a record and you end up getting it to a place where you didn’t think it could work like that. And that excites you to go play it for everyone so you build up this whole tour and that gives you different emotions that will make you want to write different kinds of songs. It’s just that constant cycle,” Hammond said.

Hammond's new album, "Momentary Masters" was released in July.
Hammond’s new album, “Momentary Masters” was released in July.

For the immediate future, fans of Hammond will have plenty of chances to enjoy his solo work as he’s embarked on a lengthy global tour. Future work with The Strokes is a little more unclear as the band last recorded an album, “Comedown Machine,” in 2013 with an expiring record contract. The group continues to play concerts and festivals together but there’s no sign of a new album coming anytime soon.

The United States portion of Hammond’s tour for “Momentary Masters” concludes on Saturday, Nov. 7 in Philadelphia. He’ll spend most of his remaining fall and winter months touring Europe, Australia and South America. For more information about his show at Turf Club, visit: