Albert Hammond Jr. hails five favorite guitarists
Albert Hammond Jr. (pictured) is still playing his 1985 ’70s-reissue Olympic White Fender Stratocaster — “It’s an aged white now,” he says. But after nearly two decades with the Strokes, Hammond isn’t afraid of new ventures: not just a solo career, but also a fashion line. “I kept on reading it, that suits are my trademark,” he explains. “People think I’m doing it, so I thought, Why don’t I just have a stab at that?” On his third solo LP, “Momentary Masters” (released in July), the influential guitarist found inspiration in “Cosmos,” Carl Sagan’s classic TV series. “There is a YouTube clip of [Sagan] talking, and the world is moving behind him, and going further and further away,” Hammond, 35, says. “I used it as a thing to meditate on. Those words just hit my gut; I got so many meanings from it.” Other influences include Strokes bandmate Julian Casablancas and Bob Dylan, whose “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” Hammond covers. Now headed to town for a Sinclair show on Sunday, Hammond took a moment to identify five guitarists who’ve made an impact on his writing.
George Harrison: He just made it seem effortless. He had such a unique sound and style. He was very underrated because of how big the songwriting team was in [the Beatles]. And his side notes or things he would say about life were really inspiring.
Mike Campbell (Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers): He picks the right moments to show off, by doing what’s better for the song. It’s not a bad thing [to show off] — you want to play this riff and have a little bit of fire. If I did the same thing to you over and over again, you would lose your mind. See whatever fits.
Elliot Easton (the Cars): He’s one of the few people who is an amazing guitar player professionally, but also, all the things he added to the Cars songs really gave them an edge.
Lou Reed: I love his melodic side. Sometimes when he got weird, it wasn’t what I loved about it. I’m surprised he wasn’t much bigger. The album “Loaded” is filled with amazing love songs. If his self-titled album [released in 1972] came out today. . . I’m just surprised it wasn’t more popular then.
John Lennon: When I was 18, I got the “Plastic Ono Band” album — I guess maybe I was doing softer things then, or I just didn’t understand there was a lot of edge in a way that was easily accessible. It could hit you immediately but still have depth, and that was very powerful. It took me a long time to try and feel like I could do it — I’m still not sure I can, but it’s fun to try.
Albert Hammond Jr. performs with Prinze George and When Particles Collide at the Sinclair in Cambridge on Sunday. Tickets $20. 617-547-5200, www.sinclair