Smoking Section: Losing at Poker to Julian Casablancas

Plus, chatting with Roger Waters and new albums from Queens of the Stone Age and Foo Fighters

Julian Casablancas of the band The Strokes arrives at "The Global Art Of Mixing" on October 17th, 2006 in New York City. Credit: Bryan Bedder/Getty

Hours before the Smoking Section caught a crack-of-dawn flight to Los Angeles, we hit the Wiz Kid Invitational, New York's hottest new weekly poker showdown. Sitting to our right was Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas, who took our money but cheered us up with news that he played guitar and sang on "Sick, Sick, Sick." from the upcoming Queens of the Stone Age album, Era Vulgaris. . . . The next night in LA., we hooked up with the Queens, on the night they celebrated the completion of Vulgaris. (The cut "Make It Wit Chu" shall be the summer hookup jam.) Their fearless leader. Josh Homme, also enjoys the Hold 'Em – he hosts a home game or plays the Hustler casino – but that night we hit Hollywood hole La Velvet Margarita Cantina, where he and his lovely wife. Distillers singer Brody Dalle, shot tequila. . . . Ironically, Dave Grohl told us he thought the new Queens sound like "a nice, tall, cold mush-garita" – a margarita with 'shrooms – and went on to tell the S.S. that the new Foo album is coming along dopely. "Taylor [Hawkins] is killing it," says Grohl. "I think we're finally capturing his ADD on tape. The shit is wack, jack!". . . . We also returned to Marilyn Manson's house. He'd just finished a short film, centered around his upcoming single "Heart-shaped Glasses." Shot with stereoscopic technology – which is like rad 3-D – the vid stars Evan Rachel Wood, "it's very, very dramatically over-the-top," says Manson. "Probably viewed as sick, by some people, in its extent of romance and eroticism. It's pretty dirty." To make a long story short, we celebrated with absinthe, then unloaded some BB guns.

Yes. it was an honor to pick up the phone and hear the great Roger Waters. Waters checked in from Argentina, another stop on his Dark Side of the Moon tour, which has been dazzling, delighting and provoking Pink Floyd fans around the world. (It'll be back in the States in May.) Waters also recently contributed a track to the fantasy film Last Mimzy after befriending the film's director, Bob Shaye, at a house party (at Jimmy Buffett's house, natch). The two hit it off. and Waters orchestrated "Hello (I Love You)," which utilizes some vintage Floyd catchphrases. "I was singing. 'Hello, I love you,' and the words 'Is there anybody in there?' just popped out." says Waters. "It was organic, man." Waters also broke the news that he'll take part in Al Gore's Live Earth concert in July. (No Floyd redux – "I can tell you that others have not agreed to play it," he says.) "People are getting frightened [about the environment]," he says. "But fear can work for good and evil. It can build walls, and it can also motivate people to understand that a parochial, nationalistic attitude to matters that are global is not in our best interests. it's no good for George Bush to say 'fuck you' to the rest of the world." well put, Rog!

This story is from the April 19th, 2007 issue of Rolling Stone.