Culture

Barely Legal

Looking through the limelight
NYC rockers The Strokes paint “The Modern Age”

Somewhere in between the shimmering lights of Gotham City at night and the smoky, penumbral basement bars of Manhattan’s high-rises, Julian Casablancas, lead singer of buzz rock group The Strokes, notes down stories about life in the big, shiny metropolis and sifts it out through filtered vocals for the rest of the world to hear. Too many bands hatch from New York’s detonating cultural cocoon, but something about the place seems to foster this continuous artistic explosion.

“I like that it injects adrenaline and direction in people,” says drummer Fabrizio Moretti about the city. “Everyone’s got a goal, everyone’s a go-getter and everyone communally lives independently. Does that make any sense? It’s a very surreal, magical place and you can get tired of living there, but I can’t pinpoint what’s wrong. I guess that’s what comes out in our music.”

Unlike some rock groups deriving from destitute surroundings and trying to elude the cavernous ditch of their circumstances, The Strokes seemingly had it made it from the beginning-each member emanates from privileged backgrounds and they’re progenies of wealthy immigrants. Casablancas (whose father John is the founder of the prestigious Elite modeling agency), Moretti and Nick Valensi, one of the guitarists, all attended Manhattan’s Upper West Side Dwight private school, and-while listening to alternative bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam as well as older classics like the Beach Boys, the Beatles and seventies punk-the trio started playing together. Shunning the “cream of the crop” surrounding of clueless rich kids and Eminem wannabes listening to gangsta rap and righteously swearing that they’re gangsters themselves (even though they attend prep schools), Casablancas quit and Valensi left around tenth grade to pursue music. Moretti was left alone, dismayed because the other two were the only friends he had at Dwight.

Later on, they hooked up with bassist Nikolai Fraiture who was going to the Upper East Side’s prominent French school, Le Lyc

November 26, 2002

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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