The Libertines life and biography

The Libertines picture, image, poster

The Libertines biography

Date of birth : -
Date of death : -
Birthplace : London, England
Nationality : English
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2012-03-27
Credited as : Rock band, Pete Doherty, he Libertines: There Are No Innocent Bystanders

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The Libertines were an English rock band, formed in London in 1997 by frontmen Carl Barât (vocals/guitar) and Pete Doherty (vocals/guitar). The band, centred on the songwriting partnership of Barat and Doherty, also included John Hassall (bass) and Gary Powell (drums) for most of its recording career. The band was part of the garage rock revival and spearheaded the movement in the UK.

Their first single was a double A-side of "What a Waster" and "I Get Along", produced by former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler. It was released on 3 June 2002 to a lukewarm media reception and received very little airplay due to its liberal use of profanities. A censored version appeared as BBC Radio 1 DJs Mark and Lard's single of the week. On the week the single came out, The Libertines featured on the cover of the NME for the first time. The single reached #37 in the UK Singles Chart.

Their first album was recorded and produced by Mick Jones, formerly of The Clash. Entitled Up the Bracket, it was recorded at the RAK studios in St John's Wood, with mixing taking place at Whitfield studios. During this time, the band were playing as many gigs as possible (over 100 in 2002 alone) including support acts for the Sex Pistols and Morrissey.

Their second single and title track from the album, "Up the Bracket", was released on 30 September and charted at #29. This was soon followed by the release on the 21 October of the album, which charted at #35. They won Best New Band at the NME Awards for that year and Barât moved out of The Albion Rooms.

During the recording of Up the Bracket and in the subsequent touring, Doherty's drug use had increased greatly (he was using both crack cocaine and heroin by this time) and his relationship with the rest of the band deteriorated. The band had become fractious, and some of this tension was visible in their performances. Doherty expressed himself in the "Books of Albion", his personal collection of notes, thoughts and poems, and also more and more frequently on the libertines.org fan forums using the user name "heavyhorse". His posts and writings at this time were unpredictable: at times, he seemed distressed and angry; at others, he came across as calm and happy.

They went to the U.S. to promote themselves and work on new material. While in New York around May 2003, they recorded the Babyshambles Sessions, where they recorded versions of current and future Libertines and Babyshambles releases such as "Last Post on the Bugle", "Albion", "In Love With a Feeling" and "Side of the Road". As a mark of their commitment to the band, Doherty and Barât both got tattoos of the word "Libertine" on their arms, written in Carl's handwriting.

Amidst the internal turmoil, "Don't Look Back into the Sun" was released on 18 August and charted at #11, the highest position they had managed at that point. The Libertines played the Carling Weekend with replacement guitarist Anthony Rossomando (who later joined Dirty Pretty Things). On 7 September, Judge Roger Davies sentenced Doherty to 6 months in prison. He served his sentence in Wandsworth prison. This sentence was later reduced on appeal by Judge Derek Inman to two months.

Barât was waiting for Doherty at the prison gates when he was released in October 2003. After an emotional reunion they played a gig the same day at the Tap'n'Tin pub, in Chatham, Kent - with both Hassall and Powell, who had not been expected to come. The show became NME's Gig Of The Year. The Libertines went on to play three consecutive sold-out dates at the London Forum in mid-December 2003, ending in stage invasions by the fans. These gigs would be named amongst the top 100 gigs of all time by Q Magazine. The Libertines also went on a widely-acclaimed UK tour in March 2004 that included three more consecutive sold-out dates in London, this time at Brixton Academy.

The Libertines did not let Doherty play with them but promised that "when he cleans up his addictions he will be immediately welcomed back into the band."However, Doherty had managed to achieve growing success and fame with his new venture, Babyshambles, which further reduced the likelihood of reconciliation.

Meanwhile, The Libertines were still releasing fresh material. The new single "Can't Stand Me Now", which detailed the breakdown of the ailing frontmen's once seemingly cast iron friendship while illustrating the love-hate relationship between Doherty and Barât, was released on 9 August and charted at #2. The song included Doherty asking the question: 'Have we enough to keep it together?' Their eponymous second album, The Libertines was released in late August and topped the albums chart. Their final single "What Became of the Likely Lads" reached #9.

Doherty and Barât remained out of contact for several months after The Libertines had ended. However, on 18 April 2005, at around 11:30pm, Pete Doherty and Carl Barât 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, just before Doherty went to Thailand. The reunion took place when Barât 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 reunion was possible, Barât told journalist Anthony Thornton 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. Barât has also said that The Libertines is only "on ice" and that he is in "intermittent contact" with Doherty.

The next sighted meeting of the pair was on 18 July 2006, at the Dublin Castle pub in Camden, London. They also talked to the Los Angeles band The Tender Box who were playing the venue that night. They said in the NME "Who knows if they will reform? It seemed like there was a lot of chemistry between them."Barât said in a later interview that it was "all a bit public for my liking. I was blind drunk that night."

Pete Doherty and Carl Barât were reported to be collaborating on a "rock'n'roll" musical for the Donmar Warehouse in London. However, Barât rubbished rumours that the pair were recording new material, saying that he had not seen Doherty 'for donkey's' and the musical 'is off'.

In May 2008, Barât said that he would reunite with Doherty only to make a new album, but also said that he wanted to 'let it be for a while' as he was busy with his new band. Despite referring to his relationship with Doherty as 'a friendship I cherish' and stating that a reunion would not be difficult.

In 2012, for the 2012 NME Awards, Barat stated, "I'm sure we'll do Libertines or something at some point." However, as of now the Libertines still have no plans to reunite. In the same interview, Barat said that for the majority of 2012 he will be focusing on acting, making the possibility of a reunion unlikely, at least for this year.

Long time collaborator Roger Sargent directed a feature length documentary on the band's 2010 reunion, that is set for release in Spring 2012. "The Libertines: There Are No Innocent Bystanders" offers an account of the band’s 2010 Reading and Leeds Festival shows, including Sargent’s NME cover shoot announcing the festival appearances, rehearsals and warm up shows, and their festival stage appearances.

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