Friday, July 30, 2004

Libs Feature In The Guardian

Nice Career Spanning Piece Here:

In a hotel room in New York, Barat is hunched over an acoustic guitar. As night creeps into morning, he'll run through various Libertines songs, try a few Beatles numbers and play lots by the Doors. He begins new single Can't Stand Me Now - a bruised portrait of how Doherty and Barat's relationship has deteriorated - before suddenly stopping. "Do you have any idea what it was like for me to tell Peter he couldn't be in the band?" he asks, his eyes welling up. Then he grabs a bottle of beer and loses himself in the song...

It's hard to remember it was the music that made anyone care about the Libertines in the first place. That and the chemistry between all four members of the band, an unpredictability that inspires magic and mayhem in equal measure. Combining the power of the Clash and the melodic beauty of the Beatles, their songs capture the angst of the disenchanted and swoon with the poetry of the Libertines' private world, Arcadia - a vision of England in which no one is tied to societal rules, and in which everyone is free to do as they wish.

It was a shared belief in Arcadia that forged the initial bond between Barat and Doherty. "It was something that a lot of people had laughed at," says Doherty. "Or maybe I'd never found quite the right person to share it with. With Carl it was glaringly obvious that we'd found each other"...

Their potential was finally spotted by Geoff Travis, head of Rough Trade. "They were alive, alive to a degree that you just don't see," he says. "They were hilarious, entertaining, jumpy, songs coming out of their ears." The Libertines were signed to Rough Trade in 2002 - and celebrated in typically idiosyncratic style. "We got a bunch of money," says Barat, "ironed it and put it in the fridge."

May 2003. The Libertines arrive in New York for the first time and play a triumphant show at the tiny Lux in Brooklyn. Afterwards they go back to their hotel to celebrate. Barat and Doherty sit with their guitars, playing Chas and Dave songs to a small group of friends. Everyone is happy. It doesn't last. The next day, the band are in a recording studio and Barat is eager to do some work. But Doherty has brought some friends in with him. The tension is unbearable.

"Pete and his friends having their little crack fun," remembers Barat. "They're singing this song - which is my tune - adding and changing bits. Then a girl says: 'Come and sing, it's fun. Shall I teach you the words?' " Barat left the studio and New York soon after.

Doherty remembers it differently. "I knew I had I a better album than Up the Bracket in me and I wanted to record it. But I was told we've got to keep touring, keep promoting. That was the first time I realised we were on a conveyor belt."