“Hard to Explain” isn’t much, really. It’s built on a backbone of stately downstrokes. It’s a rhythm guitar that plays every chord it possibly can and a chorused and overdriven lead guitar that finds 15 hooks that fit the key and plays them all. It’s Casablancas writing verses, a pre-chorus, and a pre-pre-chorus that all fight each other for the most instantly recognizable. Then the actual chorus comes, and the drums turn live– those driving splashing cymbals– and suddenly “I missed the last bus/ I’ll take the next train” is seared into your brain.
Its genius is that it’s the song everyone wanted to write. It’s the culmination of every band that’s ever practiced on a couple of cheapo Fender amps in someone’s garage or basement, playing some cool drum machine preset they found, broken, in a thrift store, saying “When we find a drummer, man” to each other. In fact, the entire garage revival of the past decade is probably directly indebted to the track. Like an infinite number of monkeys will eventually write Shakespeare, an infinite number of garage bands banging away on Telecasters would have eventually wrote “Hard to Explain”. The Strokes were just the ones that stumbled into it.
|Your frontman Julian emphasized his heterosexuality by marrying his girlfriend Juliet Joslin in February. Were you invited?|
|Fab:||No, I had to wait outside, they don’t like Brazilians in the “Tavern on Green” (laughs)|
|Nick:||Sure we all were there. Nikolai was the best man and the three of us were there as a backup.|
|What did you do as a backup?|
|Nick:||Being there and just in case Nikolai fucks up.|
|Fab:||We had all gathered in this small room behind the altar and I felt as if we were about to have a concert. That was really strange.There you can see how deep the Strokes are in us.|
|So in the church was one side for the bride’s family, one for the broom’s family and in the middle The Strokes?|
|Albert:||Yeah, a bit like in the video “November rain”|
|Nick:||With a big lightshow…|
|Fab:||The guy run out of the wedding cake panicked by the rain..|
|Nick:||The pyrotechnics had a lot to do. When they both said: “I do.” on both sides of the stage started big fireworks. Because it was really a stage, the thing happened in Madison Square Garden.|
|Albert:||Nothing of that is true. The wedding was quite traditional, Juliet had her bridesmaids and all… Fab: We shouldn’t really talk abotu the wedding with Julian, a wedding is something pretty personal, right?|
|Nick:||True! It’s a pity, I was just getting started… But, let’s drop it.|