Nick Valensi

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Nick Valensi
File:Nick valensi 2dollarbill.jpg
Valensi performing with The Strokes in 2002
Background information
Born (1981-01-16) January 16, 1981 (age 41)
New York City, New York, U.S. USA
Genres Alternative rock, indie rock, post-punk revival, garage rock
Occupation(s) Musician, guitarist
Instruments Guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Years active 1998–present
Labels Rough Trade, RCA, Cult
Associated acts The Strokes, Little Joy, Brody Dalle, Sia, Kate Pierson, Regina Spektor, Devendra Banhart
Notable instruments
Epiphone Riviera P-94
Gibson Les Paul
Gibson Les Paul Custom
Fender Telecaster

Nick Valensi (born Nicholas Valensi; January 16, 1981) is an American musician, guitarist of the American rock band The Strokes, in which he primarily plays lead guitar and occasionally rhythm guitar.

Early life

Valensi was born in New York City. From French and Jewish origins, his father is a Tunisia native and his mother, Danielle, is of French descent. Growing up, he had spent every summer at his grandfather's place, near Bordeaux, until the age of 16.[1][2] He has two sisters, Céline and Alessandra.[3] He was once quoted as saying, "I always thought I wanted to be able to play any song you could name. But once I started playing with Julian, that's when I really started to understand music."[4] Nick attended Hunter College with Nikolai Fraiture.

Instruments and Influences

Valensi's main guitar, which he uses for nearly every live show and recorded song, is a 1990s Epiphone Riviera with Gibson P-94 pick-ups. In a 2004 interview with Epiphone, he called it "the greatest guitar never made"[5] because Gibson had never produced a semi-hollow with P-94 style pickups, except for the fully hollow ES-330 and the Epiphone Casino. He has several models in different colours (all with P-94s), including multiple naturals, one in vintage sunburst, one in red, and a 12-string elite in red. In 2005, Epiphone released a signature model of his guitar, the Elitist Nick Valensi Riviera P-94, and followed it up with a standard model Nick Valensi Riviera P-94 in 2007.[6] Back-up/warm-up guitars include an Epiphone Dot fitted with 2 P-94s, an Epiphone Casino, an Epiphone Sheraton, and a Gibson Faded Special Double Cutaway with 2 P-90s. Valensi often borrows fellow Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr.'s backup guitars, which include a Gibson Les Paul Jr. and a Les Paul Special. New guitars used for the First Impressions of Earth tour include a Les Paul Custom in black, a Fender Telecaster Custom (which he can be seen using in the music video for Under Cover of Darkness ), and a Duesenberg semi-hollow. Valensi's main amplifier is a 2x12" Fender Hot Rod DeVille, used with Fender 4x12" extension cabinets during live shows. He also recently purchased a Carr amplifier to use on the last few stops of the First Impressions tour. His pedalboard consists of a Visual Sound Jekyll & Hyde Ultimate Overdrive pedal, Boss TR-2 Tremolo, Vox Cooltron Bulldog Distortion, MXR Micro Amp (2) and a Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner. He has also been seen with an Electro Harmonix Memory Man and a Boss Blues Driver.

His recent pedalboard consists of a Fulltone GT-500 Distortion/Booster, a Korg Pitchblack Tuner, A Visual Sound Visual Volume Pedal, a Visual Sound Double Trouble dual overdrive, a Maxon Distortion Master, an Electro-Harmonix XO Holy Grail Reverb, an Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man, and an MXR Micro Amp Boost. He uses a Fender Super-Sonic 100-watt head into two Fender 2x12" cabinets.

He cites his influences as The Velvet Underground, The Cars, George Harrison, Slash, Bob Marley, and Blondie.[5]

Personal life

In Summer 2006, Nick married his girlfriend of five years, Amanda de Cadenet. De Cadenet published a book of photographs entitled Rare Birds in 2005, which includes several pictures of Valensi, whom she refers to as her "muse" on her website.

Valensi has described his wife as "The coolest person I know."[7]

Amanda de Cadenet gave birth to their fraternal twins, Silvan and Ella,[8] on October 19, 2006.


Nick Valensi sang backing vocals and played guitar for Devendra Banhart's song "Shabop Shalom" on the 2007 album Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon.[9] Furthermore, he contributed backing vocals on the self-titled debut album of his bandmate Fab Moretti's band, Little Joy.

He also played guitar for Regina Spektor's song "Better", which was released on her album Begin to Hope and also published as a single in a slightly different version on which the guitar parts are rearranged.

He appears in the video for "Adam & Steve", a song by Devendra Banhart's side project Megapuss.[10]

He appears in the video for "No One's Better Sake" by Little Joy as drummer.

He plays guitar on Sia's album We Are Born and has also written several hooks and melodies on it. Sia has also stated that she and Valensi are planning to write songs together for other artists. Also, he plays guitar on Sia's album 1000 Forms of Fear on the track "Hostage", being listed as a co-writer.

He also co-wrote and played guitar for Kate Pierson's songs Mister Sister and Bottoms Up on her album Guitars and Microphones.[11][12]


  1. Itzkoff, Dave (2005-06-05). "DIRECTIONS - ON THE WEB - Rockin' the Torah -". Retrieved 2011-12-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Shes Fixing Her Hair – The Strokes Latest Album Angles Is Out Now! » Interviews – Rock & Folk April 2011". Retrieved 2011-12-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. The Face Magazine August 2002 Archived March 9, 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  4. "''Rolling Stone'' 2001 Interview". Retrieved 2011-12-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Interview with Epiphone 2004". 2004-05-28. Retrieved 2012-02-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Epiphone Nick Valensi Riviera P94". Retrieved 24 February 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Interview with Swedish magazine". 2006-06-16. Retrieved 2011-12-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Confirmed by Amanda in Hello Magazine January 2007
  9. Article on Archived September 5, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ""Adam & Steve" on Youtube". 2008-11-05. Retrieved 2011-12-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>