Journalist Lizzy Goodman immortalized the grubby 2000s New York music scene in her book “Meet Me in the Bathroom.” She chronicles the rise of some of our favorite bands like The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem, Vampire Weekend, and MGMT in their own words. The book took six years and over 200 interviews to complete but it proved to be well worth the labor; important figures of the era share their personal thoughts of the time’s noteworthy anecdotes, giving fans a better understanding of those events. On top of that, they passed on important lessons for the next generation of rising musicians.
Take Advantage of the Internet
Before the MySpace era, bands struggled with promotion. The absence of the internet forced The Strokes to concoct aggressive self-promo tactics to get the word out. Julian Casablancas, Albert Hammond Jr., Fab Moretti, Nick Valensi, and Nikolai Fraiture would walk the streets of New York stapling gig flyers on every nook and cranny that had a free space. Nowadays, all you gotta do is make a few clicks and it’s done! Self-promote the hell out of your band with the power of the interwebs.
Drugs Look Cool, but Drugs Will F You Over
There’s no denying that drugs will be under everyone’s noses in this industry—it simply depends on whether or not you’ll snort it. Disdain for fellow musicians came through the book, with Casablancas blaming Ryan Adams for instigating Hammond’s drug-fuelled downward spiral. Hammond went to rehab and even though it happened years ago, he’s unsure of whether or not the rest of the band has forgiven him. The moral of this story is a tale as old as time: skip the hassle of rehab and just don’t do drugs.
There’s Always the Possibility of Meeting Your Next Boyfriend Backstage
This one’s not really a lesson, but I’m sure we’ve all had fantasies of marrying our musician faux boyfriends. Moretti and Drew Barrymore’s 5-year relationship began backstage at Coachella. Juliet Joslin worked as The Strokes’ assistant band manager before getting married to Casablancas. Basically, you’ll never know unless you try. Just don’t be creepy about it.
The Next Big Band Could be Right Next to You
Just like a majority of musicians who “made it,” The Strokes started off playing for small bars of 10 people. Goodman and Valensi’s friendship began when they were working in the same restaurant. In an interview with Pitchfork, she made the point that “…there’s a big space between knowing your friends were doing something cool, and knowing they’d be rock gods of their generation,” but she knew their first record front to back. No one, not even Casablancas and company, knew what was about to hit them. New Yorkers felt like The Strokes were their band, and then they became the UK’s band, and then they became the world’s. It’s important to support your friends but it’s also important to support them with realistic standards.
Lizzy Goodman and friends throws us back to the turn of the millennium with anecdotes you could only imagine happening. “Meet Me in the Bathroom” humanizes the musicians we look up to, and is a beacon of hope for the next generation of struggling and rising artists. Make sure to pick up a copy in Fully Booked!
Featured image from Vulture