Five years after their album “Is this It” brought a new stripped-down rock to Top 40, The Strokes are coming to central Indiana. Fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), they may be over the “throw beer bottles into the audience” phase that made their live shows so unpredictable.

Accordingly, their latest album, “First Impressions of Earth” is their most polished, contemplative album to date, though for this band that means lines like “I don’t want what you want/I don’t feel want you feel/See I’m stuck in a city/But I belong in a field.”

With both his two-year-old daughter and a Tom Waits album playing in the background, the band’s Marquis de Sade-reading bassist, Nikolai Fraiture, sat down for a phone interview on from his hotel room in Gainesville, Fla., which just happens to be Tom Petty’s hometown.

THB: So you’re coming to Indiana. Is this your first time?

Fraiture: Yeah.

THB: Know much about it?

Fraiture: I know the Pacers.

THB: Indiana sports, huh? Want to come to the Anderson Speedway, get into racing?

Fraiture: (laughs) Not really.

THB: I saw that you played with Tom Petty on some dates. Kind of an unlikely combination.

Fraiture: We’ve done a few dates. All we do is warm up the crowd for Tom Petty. It’s definitely not a crowd that would normally listen to our music. It’s kind of fun, it reminds us of the good ol’ days when we had to win over all the crowds, when people didn’t know us. We could have been any other band on the bill, but if you were working hard, people would listen. It’s a really amazing feeling. They’re people who are older, have no idea who we are, and (it’s cool) to get through to someone that you have nothing in common with, it’s just amazing. Just make music and work hard.

THB: There’s a rumor going around about you on the Internet — that you cut your own hair.

Fraiture: Yes.

THB: What do you call that style?

Fraiture: I don’t call it anything, but I could make one up.... hmm, how about The Musketeer?

THB: Also that you don’t smoke.

Fraiture: I used to. I quit about five or six years ago, to help (drummer) Fabrizio (Moretti). He’d had some family illness to do with smoking and, to help him out, I quit with him. He’s re-started since, and now he’s the only one —everyone else has quit.

THB: They also say you’re the Stroke to talk to about literature. What are you reading right now?

Fraiture: The Marquis de Sade, “Justine or The Misfortune of Virtue.” His philosophy is very cynical; he describes the perverse to point out the problems in society at the time, and a lot of people took it the wrong way. He was a heretic at the time, and its still kind of hard to find his books.

THB: How did you hear about him?

Fraiture: I was reading this really good biography of Jim Morrison, and the author talked about some people that had influenced him. I’d always had de Sade in the back of my head, but I haven’t been about to find many of his books. The writer referred to authors that were sort of not accepted at the time.

THB: I see a lot of pictures of you in suit jackets. Are you a “clothes make the man” kind of guy?

Fraiture: Not really. I have good days and bad days; if you feel good you wear a suit.

THB: To me, you’re a very New York City band. How do you think that translates to the Midwest? What has the response been like?

Fraiture: Sometimes, the reaction is like, “What’s going on, what is this?” From far away, it’s hard to communicate what we’re about. On magazines and the Internet, there can be miscommunication. People read everything and might get the wrong impression of who we are. We play music to have fun, and forget about daily life.

“Impressions of Earth” is being called your most grown-up album to date. Is the band straightening out?

In a way. It’s not that cut and dry, it’s not like we’re all going to go to AA, go back to school. The pace we were at the time, it’s impossible to maintain. I’m happy (lead singer Julian Casablancas) quit drinking, it really helped him, really helped the band. We were not headed in a good direction. It was a very unnatural circumstance for us.

THB: Do you think that kind of chaos inspires creativity, or is destructive?

Fraiture: You know, it goes in hand-in-hand. You go through times where you need both, or at least I need both. Frank Zappa, he was straight edge, and he made some crazy music. I don’t know how much your lifestyle goes into the creative process, its part of a person, it influences your work.

THB: Yeah, I was just reading about the Rolling Stones’ lifestyle while making “Exile on Main Street”— let’s just say not printable in a family newspaper.

Fraiture: Somebody else was telling me about that. I don’t know how were they able to put out an album.

If you go ...

At 7:30 p.m. Monday, The Strokes will perform at Emens Auditorium at Ball State University in Muncie.

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