Libertines (The) Biography
The band gained some notoriety in the early 2000s. Although their mainstream success was initially limited, their profile soon grew, culminating in a No. 2 single and No. 1 album on the UK Charts. In December 2004, their self-titled second album was voted the second best album of the year by NME magazine. Both of their full-length LPs were produced by Mick Jones, of the British punk band The Clash.
In spite of their critical and contoversial success as well as decent commercial success, the band's music was often eclipsed by its internal conflicts, stemming from Doherty's addictions to crack, cocaine, and heroin, which eventually led to the breakup of the band. Doherty has since stated that the breakup of the band was due to relationship difficulties between Barât and himself that were not related to his drug addictions. The members of The Libertines went on to form new bands with varying degrees of commercial and critical success.
In August 2010, the four members of The Libertines reunited to play a series of shows, including slots at the 2010 Reading and Leeds Festivals. The reunion shows received a highly positive response from the press and fans.
In April 2014, The Libertines announced they would again reform for a show at London's Barclaycard presents British Summertime Hyde Park. In November 2014 the band signed a record deal with Virgin EMI Records and hope to release a new album in 2015. On July 2, The Libertines announced their third album named Anthems For Doomed Youth, due to be released September 4, 2015.
The founding members of The Libertines, Peter Doherty and Carl Barât, met when Barât was studying drama at Brunel University in Uxbridge and sharing a flat in Richmond with Amy-Jo Doherty, Peter's elder sister. This lasted until they realised their collective creative capabilities and forged a bond over their shared passion for songwriting. Barât abandoned his drama course two years in; Doherty left his English literature course at Queen Mary, University of London, after only a year, and they moved into a flat together on Camden Road in North London, which they named "The Delaney Mansions."
They formed a band with their neighbour Steve Bedlow, commonly referred to as "Scarborough Steve," and named themselves The Strand, later discarded for The Libertines after the Marquis de Sade's Lusts of the Libertines ("The Albions" was also considered, but rejected; Albion is an archaic name for Britain). They later met John Hassall and Johnny Borrell, who played bass with the Libertines for a short period. Many of their early gigs took place in the flat shared by Doherty and Barât.
They had booked themselves into the Odessa studiosan play at Filthy Macnasty's Whiskey Cafe in Islington where Pete was working as a barman. Roger Morton thought they had potential and offered with a friend to manage The Libertines. Despite a separate offer from an experienced member of the music industry, John Waller, the band accepted Morton's services as manager. However, Morton would eventually give up the job after an unsuccessful six months.
In March 2000, The Libertines met Banny Poostchi, a lawyer for Warner Chappell Music Publishing. Recognizing their potential, she took on an active role in managing them. They recorded "Legs XI", a set of their best 8 tracks at the time (and later a popular bootleg recording among fans). However, by December 2000, they had still not been signed and this caused Dufour, Hassall and Pootschi to part ways with The Libertines.
The subsequent success of The Strokes, a band with a similar style, caused Pootschi to reconsider her position. She formed a plan (dubbed "Plan A") to get the Libertines signed to Rough Trade Records within 6 months. In this period, Barât and Doherty wrote many of the songs which ended up on their first album. Gary Powell was recruited to play drums, as Paul Dufour was deemed by Pootschi to be 'too old'. On 1 October 2001, Barât and Doherty played a showcase for James Endeacott from Rough Trade. After Borrell failed to attend this important rehearsal, they telephoned him to discover he was on tour "living the high life." Endeacott's support led to them playing for the heads of Rough Trade, Geoff Travis and Jeanette Lee, on 11 December that year. They were told they would be signed, and the official deal took place on 21 December.
The Libertines were in need of a bassist, so Hassall rejoined the band at their request, but was informed he would have to stay in the background, as the band would be focused on the partnership of Doherty and Barât. After signing with Rough Trade, Doherty and Barât rented a flat together at 112a Teesdale Street in Bethnal Green which they named "The Albion Rooms" (a venue that became a location for many of their Guerilla gigs).
Now with a firm line-up, they began to play more gigs alongside The Strokes and The Vines in quick succession. This succeeded in spreading their name around the music press, with the NME taking a particular interest in them (an interest which continued throughout their career).
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 No. 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 No. 29. This was soon followed by the release on 21 October of the album, which charted at No. 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. The prelude to this moment can be heard on "The Good Old Days" from the Babyshambles Sessions, in which, after the lyric, "A list of things we said we'd do tomorrow," Doherty yells 'Get a tattoo!' However, Barât became increasingly exasperated with the people with whom Doherty was associating and the drugs they brought. Barât quit the sessions in disgust and Doherty finished recording alone. The sessions were given to a fan called Helen Hsu who, as Doherty allegedly instructed, put them for free on the Internet.
Back in the UK, tensions continued to grow as Doherty organised and played guerrilla gigs which Barât did not attend. Their new single "Don't Look Back into the Sun" saw the return of Bernard Butler as producer. The lyrical quality of the song was praised, and the single held as a prime example of Doherty and Barât's songwriting talents. However, Doherty did not work well with Butler and was rarely present during the recording process. As a result, the song had to be pieced together from the vocals he provided, with Butler himself recording Doherty's guitar parts.
As Barât's birthday approached, Doherty organised a special celebration gig in an attempt to smooth the tensions between them. Barât, however, was already attending a party organized by some of his friends, and the hosts convinced him not to leave. Doherty was left to play the gig himself. Feeling betrayed, Doherty neglected to take the train to Germany the next day for The Libertines' European tour. The Libertines were forced to play without Doherty: a guitar technician learned his guitar parts and several songs were dropped altogether. Soon, however, positions changed and it was Barât who refused to let Doherty into the band unless he cleaned himself up. Doherty continued to play with separate musical project Babyshambles whilst The Libertines completed tour commitments in Japan without him. Distraught and angry, Doherty burgled Barât's flat and was subsequently arrested. On 11 August, he pleaded guilty at the preliminary hearing to the charge of burglary.
Amidst the internal turmoil, "Don't Look Back into the Sun" was released on 18 August and charted at No. 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.
On 20 April 2014 an image of London's Hyde Park was released to the band's Facebook page. Around this time both Carl Barât and Peter Doherty indicated in interviews that they had accepted an offer to play the venue on 5 July 2014.
On 25 April, it was confirmed that The Libertines would play on Saturday 5 July in London's Hyde Park, headlining the day, as part of the Barclaycard British Summer Time series of concerts. Support for the concert was to be provided by a number of bands and artists, most notably The Pogues, Spiritualized, Maxïmo Park, Raglans and The Enemy
At their 5 July Hyde Park gig, they announced three new gigs, taking place in Alexandra Palace, on 26, 27 and 28 September.
In January 2015 it was announced that Doherty had successfully completed his rehab treatment at the Hope Rehab Centre in Thailand, and had joined his bandmates in the recording of their third studio album.
In January 2015 it was also revealed that The Libertines would be headlining the festival T in the Park in Scotland. n In February 2015 it was announced that The Libertines would be headlining Reading And Leeds Festivals.
In May 2015 it was announced that The Libertines would be headlining Corona Capital Music Festival in Mexico City.
In June 2015, Carl Barât shared an image of the band in Thailand with the caption, 'Kitchen sink dramas over track listings', suggesting that the album was now complete
In June, the band also announced that the first single off the new album would be 'Gunga Din', which they also debuted live at Best Kept Secret headline show, Hilvarenbeek
On June 26, 2015 The Libertines were the surprise special guests on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury 2015.
On July 2, 2015, The Libertines announced their 3rd album, named Anthems For Doomed Youth, to be released on September 4, 2015.