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The Strokes influences: how they helped shape 2000’s Indie Music

With their 2001 debut album Is This It, The Strokes became the leading indie rock act that opened the new millennium. Here we will review some of their musical influences, a style reminiscent of 60s rock, punk, and garage rock, which helped to shape and refresh the new music scene.

Las influencias de The Strokes tomaron el rock del los 60s, el punk y el rock alternativo para transformar el indoe rock del 2000

Yes, it’s time to talk about The Strokes’ influences. The 2022 film “Meet Me In The Bathroom” – based on Lizzy Goodman’s book of the same title – conveniently gives me the excuse.

As usual, on the left side of the chart above you can find who influenced this New York band, while on the right, I specified artists who they have inspired. Find the list right here below:

Which Artists influenced The Strokes sound?

Among the bands that influenced The Strokes, we find The Doors, The Velvet Underground, Television, Talking Heads, Pearl Jam, Sonic Youth, Guns n’ Roses, Weezer, and Bob Marley.

The Doors

The Doors are one of the most important musical inspirations for The Strokes, especially for their songwriting style and song crafting. Singer Julian Casablancas explained that while Jim Morrison is often mentioned by other artists as an influence because of his “rock attitude,” for him, The Doors are an influence at another level: in terms of sound, instrumentals, and musical arrangements. On this same topic, you can expand more on The Doors’ influences here.

Pearl Jam

Another of Julian Casablancas’ main musical influences is Pearl Jam. Listening to the classic track Yellow Ledbetter inspired the lead singer of The Strokes to start making music in the first place. This inspiration is quite noticeable, especially in some of The Stroke’s more aggressive approach to guitar and vocals sound, for example, on their album First Impressions of Earth. Especially on tracks like Juicebox and Heart in a Cage, we can definitely pick a little Eddie Vedder sound vibe. If you want to expand more, check out this other char on Pearl Jam’s musical influences.

Sonic Youth

Where did The Strokes get their noisy guitar sound from? Part of the answer at least is they got that from Sonic Youth, the unmistakable alternative rock and noise rock band that inspired practically all the Seattle grunge bands. Julian Casablancas commented that for their song 12.51, his band “borrowed” ideas from the song Bull in the Heather, 1994 single by Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon’s group

The Velvet Underground

The influence that The Velvet Underground had on The Strokes can be heard in the frenetic motorik rhythm styles, especially marked by the drums section. Furthermore, Lou Reed – one of The Velvet’s leading figures – is one of the main references for all members of The Strokes, including singer Julian Casablancas. The singer of the Indie Rock New York band has listed his favorite Velvet songs here.

Cyndi Lauper

Iconic 80s new wave singer Cyndi Lauper is another solid stylistic reference for The Strokes. Julian Casablancas has cited her as one of his first inspirations, for her punk aesthetic and characteristic pop sensibility. This fresh and charismatic female singer is one of the key dance music influences for The Strokes, which helped them to become one of the most successful bands of its era.

Bob Marley

Bob Marley is one of Julian Casablancas’ favorite singer-songwriters. As the lead singer of The Strokes explained, he listens to the music of this reggae legend on regular basis. Bob Marley has been one of the key inspirations not only on The Stroke’s music but also on some of the singer’s most politically meaningful lyrics.


Impossible not to include on this list the classic art-punk album Marquee Moon from 1977. The truth is that The Strokes’ sound, especially on Is This It, owes much to this other classic album in terms of sound aesthetics. Anyway, Julian Casablancas explained that they were not trying to sound like Television at all, but to another of their music idols, the previously mentioned The Velvet Underground.

Other bands that influenced The Strokes music are Blondie, The Cars, Talking Heads, The Stooges, and Weezer.

Which artists have been influenced by The Strokes?

When The Strokes broke into the New York music scene in the early 2000s, their impact was really powerful. With their debut album, Is This It, they defined rock music for the new millennium and inspired other great bands of their era. Here we list some of the artists that follow this NYC indie band.

Arctic Monkeys

Alex Turner is an outspoken fan of The Strokes. Specifically, he mentioned this band in the first line of Star Treatment, the opening track of the album Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. Since their beginnings, Arctic Monkeys closely followed the career of the already famous The Strokes. Also, they have covered several of their songs in their concerts, such as Reptilia, Take it or Leave it and Is This It.

The Killers

The Killers’ frontman, Brandon Flowers, explained that The Strokes’ debut album made him scrap all of his band’s initial songs in order to come up with new and better ideas. Flowers wanted to be as good as Casablancas’ band. To work on their own tracks, The Killers took a bit of the screeching-sounding guitars and straightforward indie songs. Then, they added some dance rock and post-punk and created their distinctive sound. The result was the unforgettable debut album of The Killers, Hot Fuss, released in 2004.

Wet Leg

Another new and fresh indie rock act that is quite successful is this duo of British musicians. With a somewhat irreverent style and creative lyrics, they have caught the attention of the public and the press. Simple yet creative, Wet Leg have been influenced by The Strokes, especially in their lo-fi aesthetic and the characteristic rock sound of the early 2000s.


Another popular new rock act, IDLES, are also big fans of The Strokes. With a style that can be described as close to hardcore punk, this band has taken the most aggressive side of The Strokes’ sound. The band led by singer Joe Talbot has covered “Reptilia” as a tribute to the New Yorkers.


Paramore’s frontwoman, Hayley Williams, has openly spoken about her admiration for The Strokes and has sung their songs live on many occasions. Her musical project was primarily linked to emo and punk-pop in its early days. But since their most recent albums -Paramore, 2013; After Laughter, 2017-, they have opened their sound to other genres like new wave, and also to the indie rock style popularized by The Strokes. Paramore’s 2023 album, This is Why, confirms that the band continues to broaden their musical horizons.

Tame Impala

Another highly influential band that emerged from the indie rock scene of the 2000s is Tame Impala. Kevin Parker, the project leader, has cited Is This It among his favorite albums of all time. He also explained that at the band’s beginnings, he wanted to sound exactly like The Strokes. Fortunately, Parker was able to find a sound of his own, which is also inspired by psychedelic rock and pop. Also to note, Tame Impala has performed The Stroke’s track “Last Nite” on many of their live shows.

Billie Eilish

Another famous follower of Casablancas’ band is the young singer of the hit single “Bad Guy”. Billie Eilish has confessed her love for The Strokes on several occasions. Billie is one of the most popular music performers that emerged in recent years. She has taken part of her indie sound from The Strokes, and has been inspired by the band’s smart lyricism.

Other bands that were influenced by The Strokes are Wolf Alice, Vampire Weekend, Cage The Elephant, LCD Soundsystem y Franz Ferdinand. It is also worth mentioning that The Strokes had other popular “competitors” when the Indie Rock explosion started, such as Interpol and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

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