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Strokes Guitarist Establishing Own Identity

Of the Oakland Press

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Albert Hammond Jr., is convinced that on his current tour, “I don’t think any of these people know who I am.”

That seems a bit far-fetched. Hammond is, after all, a member of the Strokes, a band that has sold out many of the venues where he’s currently opening for Incubus, part of a tour previewing his upcoming solo album “Yours to Keep.” But, the guitarist says, it’s different being part of a hip and established band and stepping out on your own.

“It definitely feels like going back to the very beginning of (the Strokes),” says Hammond, 26, who put out “Yours to Keep” overseas in October, with a March 6 release date looming in the United States. “The Incubus fans don’t really (care) what I have to say or do — that’s the process of an opening band.

“So basically you just play and try to have fun in your songs and with your band, and hopefully there’s a few people out there who haven’t heard of you who dig it, which is what’s happened. That makes you enjoy whatever success you get later on.”

Hammond is quick to shoot down any suspicions that his going solo bodes ill for the Strokes, though he says the band — whose frontman, Julian Casablancas, is among the guests on the guitarist’s album — has no fi rm plans at the moment. But Hammond maintains that a solo album was not really part of his plan.

“I don’t even know how it happened, to tell you the truth,” he explains. “I just like to write songs. I went in just to record a song, and it came out well. Then I did one or two more, and those turned out better and I just kept going in to do songs and eventually I had an album. It happened so slowly it was just ... crazy, really.”

Albert Hammond Jr., opens for Incubus at 7:30 p.m. Friday (Feb. 2) at the State Theatre, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are sold out. Call (313) 961-5450 or visit www. livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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