Photographer Leslie Lyons on The Strokes’ first publicity shoot: “I wanted to shoot them immediately if not sooner”
Exclusive photos of The Strokes, taken during their first publicity shoot, will be on display and available for purchase for the first time.
Shot by photographer Leslie Lyons after the New York City band’s Rough Trade Records signing, the photos were featured in the oral history and documentary, Meet Me In The Bathroom.
Modern Rocks Gallery in Austin, TX, will be displaying and selling the photos here, with plans to share additional exclusive photos of the shoot. Lyons also shared what happened during The Strokes’ first publicity shoot with the gallery, saying that mid-way through listening to the band’s demo she wanted to “shoot immediately if not sooner.” “I didn’t need to see the band. I could hear what I knew was there, energy, authenticity, poetry,” she added.
The band was reluctant to do the shoot at first when she met them in the Lower East Side’s Mercury Lounge. “I met the band at their soundcheck before the gig and they were not so comfortable with the unplanned nature of the shoot,” Lyons said. The band had assumed she was press, but once she started shooting and they started playing, they loosened up. “As soon as you get off stage and capture the energy of who you are live we’ll use what you like and throw the rest away,” she said, and they agreed.
The band’s presence had a lasting impact on Lyons. “While they played, it seemed as if the Mercury Lounge would burst into flames,” she said. “Not since I had been lucky enough to be at a Nirvana gig in the East Village’s Pyramid Club in 1990 had I experienced something new in rock and roll. The Strokes shifted the energy back to something familiar while moving us forward at the same time.”
Lyons also followed them to shoot them to NME’s music festival back in 2001. “Our pictures were all over the English press,” she said. “At their NME gig, I remember the crowd screaming for more. When [frontman Julian Casablancas] said from the stage, ‘You want more? Ok, we’ll give you more’, I didn’t even know they had more! It was all so new.”
Meanwhile, Albert Hammond Jr spoke to NME about his new hip-hop-inspired single ‘100-99’, his upcoming solo album ‘Melodies On Hiatus’, working with Arctic Monkeys‘ Matt Helders, and progress on The Strokes’ next record.
The guitarist and singer-songwriter shared his latest solo track earlier this week (April 4) and announced details of the new record – which will be his fifth solo album and the follow-up to 2018’s ‘Francis Trouble’.
Asked if he felt “typecast” in genre by the perception people have of him as a member of The Strokes, Hammond Jr replied: “Oh my god, are you kidding me? People loved labels when we first came out, and now I feel like people love labels even more.”