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In the Studio: Albert Hammond, Jr. Falls Down, Gets Up and Reinvents Himself on Second LP

January 29, 2008 2:35 PM ET

While the Strokes remain on a nice long break, guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. figured he'd use his spare time to get another solo album out. "I wanted to show a different side of me," says Hammond. For the follow-up to Yours to Keep, he re-teamed with his band--drummer Matt Romano, guitarist Marc Eskenazi and bassist Josh Lattanzi and engineer Gus Oberg--for five weeks at New York's Electric Lady Studios last fall. Hammond's goals included crafting "shorter and harder" tunes, like the ska-tinged "Miss Myrtle," as well as instrumental numbers, like "Spooky Couch." For "Boss Americana," Hammond and Oberg used "the Van Halen technique" for miking Romano's drums, connecting two kick drums by a long tunnel made from a blanket. And for the Cheap Trick-style power-pop song "In My Room," they plugged three amps into one another to achieve an enormity of sound in stark contrast to the first disc's bedroom vibe. "When we started, I would collapse with fear," Hammond says. "But it's amazing how people around you help you get back up, and that gives you the freedom to go weird places."

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Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

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