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August 1, 2017 Jukebox Happy Hour

Is This It

William Ste. Marie

Is This It photo

Is This It
The Strokes
Label: RCA
Released July 30, 2001
Length: 11 songs, 36 minutes


This album feels like rain; like those moments when you are half asleep in bed reviewing the day. Is This It will always remind me of the city, the drunken vanity of a young musician: dive bars, chrome, and leather jackets.

I could just barely hear the guitars over my dad’s Jeep Cherokee’s busted muffler. The one that set off car alarms and sent people ducking for fear of gun shots. But still, I knew I was listening to something special. The way the guitars built. The drums marching. All to that moment when Julian first belts, “Last night, she said.” I was always jealous of my father, really anyone from the Woodstock generation—to hear I Want to Hold Your Hand, or Light My Fire for the first time. But this was my chance. We both just looked at each, we knew we had just heard a great fucking song.

I wanted so badly to be Julian. I went to the local thrift shop and bought, not one, but three leather jackets. My mother pleaded that I didn’t need three, but I knew at $5 dollars apiece, I could never have enough. Italian imported jeans, turquoise vests—all business expenses.

All of it has since faded or was lost along the way. The only thing left of it all is an old band photo shoot of me hanging on the edge of my college campus roof—a stunt that got us all in handcuffs (you know because a leather jacket and sunglasses wasn’t enough).

We covered their songs, marveled at the unselfishness of it all—how it blended—pure cream. The pauses we learned were everything. The right turn of the tone knob, the mic plugged into the amp—words distorted and distant—it all mattered.


Drink: Last Night Tonic

In a glass filled with ice:

1 ½ oz gin
1 splash of olive juice
1 splash of ginger ale
Top with club soda


image: William Ste. Marie