The Libertines

The Libertines were a critically acclaimed British rock and roll band noted for their chaotic live outings, often seemingly ramshackle touring schedule and quintessentially English take on punk rock. The line-up consisted of Pete Doherty (vocals/guitar), Carl Barât (vocals/guitar), John Hassall (bass) and Gary Powell (drums). Their debut single, "What A Waster" (2002), produced by former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, was immediately seized upon by the English press for its liberal use of profanity and English colloquialism. The single charted at number 37 and was followed by number 29 hit, "Up The Bracket". The debut album also entitled Up The Bracket charted at number 35. The album was produced by Mick Jones formerly of The Clash and Big Audio Dynamite. It was followed in 2004 by their second album, simply entitled The Libertines.

The band has been compared to many classic British rock n' roll bands, as their angle on rock n' roll is uniquely English. Their sound is often likened to the sound of The Jam, The Kinks' early records as well as The Clash's first album and early singles. They are perhaps most similar to pioneer rockers, The Buzzcocks. Morrissey is another key influence cited by the band members. Many of their lyrics refer to elements of British life, use English/cockney slang and are often in a near-drunken sounding slur. In their attitude they are almost always compared to The Sex Pistols due to their chaotic and energetic live peformances and Pete's instability and nihilistic, self-destructive behavior. Despite their success and critical acclaim (especially in the UK), the band fell upon difficult times. Pete became estranged from the band and was convicted of the burglary of bandmate Carl's flat in September 2003. The remaining members toured without him in August and September. After serving one month in jail he rejoined the band in October 2003. However, in June 2004 he was kicked out of the band again because of continued drug problems, but the band has promised that "When he cleans up his addictions he will be immediately welcomed back into the band". Pete has since formed his own band, Babyshambles and failed to overcome his drug habit. In September 2004 Pete was given a community service order after being found with an illegal switchblade in his car and his return to the band has become even more remote. Carl told NME that he planned to leave the Libertines at the end of 2004 if Pete didn't clean up his on-going drug problems. He has since made good on the promise and formed his own band called Dirty Pretty Things (named after Carl's club night which takes place in and around various clubs in London) which includes Libertine Gary Powell, Anthony Rossomando (Pete's replacement during his absence from The Libertines) and former Cooper Temple Clause bassist Didz Hammond.

On 21 December 2004, a 12 minute feature on Pete was broadcast on BBC2's current affairs program Newsnight. The piece featured Pete's first-ever major television interview as well as an acoustic performance of "Music When the Lights Go Out". In the interview with Kirsty Wark, Pete talked openly about his addictions to heroin and crack cocaine, stating that "I'm not a Nihilist, I don't want to die", and talked about the breakdown of his relationship with Carl.

The Libertines officially disbanded at the end of 2004. The band played their last show in Paris without Pete. However, on 18 April 2005, at around 11:30pm, Pete and Carl reunited at the Boogaloo Bar in Highgate, North London. This was said to be a friendly meeting and was the first time the pair had met since 8 June 2004 in Barât's London club night, Dirty Pretty Things. The reunion took place when Carl arrived at the bar at 10pm and was told there was a strong possibility that his former bandmate would also be visiting the pub that evening. Upon learning a reuinion was possible, Carl told those in his prescence that "it might as well happen now, because it's going to happen sometime". The pair were said to have seemed nervous at first, but greeted each other with a hug, before talking together on a leather sofa.

All the bandmembers have pursued other musical agendas. Carl Barât found Dirty Pretty Things with his former bandmate drummer Gary Powell. They played their first gigs in October 2005. Their debut album "Waterloo To Anywhere" was released in May 2006. Pete is still touring with Babyshambles, their debut album "Down In Albion" was released on November 14, 2005 and sold more than 110.000 copies. Bassist John Hassall has formed a new band through Barât, called Yeti with Harmony Williams, who was a former flatmate of Carl. They are currently working on their debut album. Their debut single "Never Lose Your Sense of Wonder" was released in April 2005 and a second single entered the charts August 2005.


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