I originally started writing this in typical Flaming Pablum fashion wherein I recounted in minutia-laden chapter and verse about the first time I’d ever laid ears on the Strokes (that being courtesy of my tirelessly hilarious colleague at the time, the inimitable John Fletcher Flowers). I’d certainly heard of them, after their tenure as a late 90’s Lower East Side fixture at venues like the Spiral (gone), the Luna Lounge (gone)_ and CBGB (yep, you knew that was comin'). While they were obviously influenced by a clutch of my favorites — The Velvets, The Modern Lovers, The Voidoids, Television, etc. — my enthusiasm for the Strokes would later erode after their second album, Room on Fire.
But way before all that, I do remember getting excited when John first played me “The Modern Age” for the first time at the TIME Magazine News Desk late one night, he having caught a show of theirs a week or so earlier. I remember dutifully picking up that first CD single of theirs — and later great singles like “Last Nite” and “Hard to Explain” and eventually their hotly-anticipated debut album. Is This It? — at Kim’s West (at Bleecker & West 10th Street…..long, long gone). I regret to say that I never got to see them perform around that era, but it just didn’t work out, for one reason or another. Still, in those early days of the band, I was bitten by that bug.
It could also be argued that the Strokes spawned what I called the “first album phase,” a period wherein I seemed to pick up the debut albums by a host of similarly inclined bands in the wake of Is This It?, like The Rapture, The Hot Hot Heat, Interpol, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, etc. Some went onto bigger things. Others? Not so much.
Anyway, this weepy preamble is really just an excuse to do another photo quiz. To wit….
Upon first hearing about the Strokes, their image as a stylishly grotty gaggle of louche, beer-fueled lotharios came steeped in some striking photographs; usually rife with clingy, tattered denim, vintage leather, arguably ironic t-shirts and the requisite Chuck Taylors (vocalist Julian Casablancas recently gave himself credit for introducing this footwear to new millennial hipsters, but I’d hasten to point out that the dudes in Blondie were sporting same on the back cover of Parallel Lines when the Strokes were still in diapers). Photographs of the gents gathered furtively in the booths of suitably seedy bars, perched incongruously on squalid, inner-city rooftops or striding casually down dimly lit back alleys were everywhere, only piquing the imaginations of folks like myself who still responded to that particular aesthetic even decades after it was first beaten into the cobblestones by bands like the Dead Boys, the Dictators and the Ramones.
But one photo of the band has stuck with me, that being the one up top by one Colin Lane (who also shot their laboriously Spinal Tap-esque cover for Is This It?). Here it is again.
This is no easy task but, ….. can anyone name this particular loading dock? I have my suspicions.
Have at it.