The Libertines are back and NME has the world exclusive comeback interview with Pete, Carl, John and Gary. Pick up this week’s magazine to read it. Tickets for the show go on general sale today (Friday May 2), so check out the answers to some of the biggest questions around their latest reunion.
Why are they doing it?
The Libertines’ reunion isn’t something they’re doing for nostalgic reasons. At least, according to Pete Doherty, is isn’t. He tells NME: “It’s not fucking with the legacy, it’s //creating// the legacy.”
How did it come about?
It genuinely was a last minute decision. Two weeks ago, NME were told by a Libs management source it definitely wasn’t happening. Then, Pete told an Israeli journalist he was interested, surprising the rest of the band and re-kicking off conversations.
The band signed contracts quickly, and last Friday (April 25) it was announced they were to play to 65,000 fans at London’s Hyde Park on July 5, in what will be their biggest show ever.
The band’s first collective interviews were given to NME on Thursday (April 24) – Carl Barat and Gary Powell said they were the ones who deliberated the most over whether to reform, while John Hassall and Pete were pretty much up for it from the word go.
“For me, the right reasons are, can we do it?” Carl tells NME in this week’s magazine. “And I don’t fucking know…”. Barat also calls the reunion “a colossal risk”, while drummer Gary Powell is even more sceptical, saying: “We are totally putting our legacy on the line”.
Despite this, Pete is, he says, “all flushed with confidence” while John is keen to stress that he’s not doing it for the money.
How much are they being paid?
Speaking of which, Pete tells NME both him and Carl are getting a cool half a million pounds each for the Hyde Park gig. Which is probably more than they ever got playing the Tap’n’Tin back in the day.
What do they say to charges that they’re selling out?
Defending accusations of selling out, a defiant Pete Doherty tells NME: “Whoa. What the fuck? What do they [band critics] think The Libertines did? After doing everything in the spirit of the band for five years, the band sold out [by signing a traditional record deal].”
Doherty adds that it’s “completely in the spirit of the band to play Hyde Park for the money”, as they were always, “completely motivated by money and fame and being part of a sickening charade that we far too late realised we weren’t able to control”.
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Not that Gary is particularly comfortable with that notion: “Ignore everybody else. It would leave a sour taste in my mouth,” the sticksman tells us. “In order for us to do ourselves justice we’ve gotta do more than just one show.”
Pete, again justifying why they’re doing this, says the fact The Libertines never made it big while they were a going concern still bugs him to this day. “This is what we wanted,” he explains. “To play Hyde Park to the people. We never did and this is our chance.”
What have they all been up to?
When the comeback gig was announced, all four bandmembers were miles apart from each other – Carl in London, John in Sweden, Pete in Germany and Gary in China. John’s been in the studio with his new band, The April Rainers. Expect new material from them soon. Pete’s tinkering around in a studio in Hamburg at present, while Gary’s on tour with Ed Harcourt. And Carl, of course, is preparing to release an album with his new solo band The Jackals later this year.
How’s Pete and Carl’s relationship?
However, Pete and Carl have – for the first time since 2010 – been speaking with each other on happy terms recently. Pete likes Carl a lot right now: “He’s grown up a bit. The way he talks to me, I can see it,” he teases.
Carl likes Pete too: “Really, it’s just lovely to speak to Peter again,” he gushes.
What did they chat about in their first proper conversation with each other in ages last week? Brighton Rock and ‘She Is Far’, according to Carl. The latter is one of Pete’s earliest songs – it remains unreleased to this day. They’re entwined “like ivy in a tree”, Carl tells NME. He’s not saying who’s ivy and who’s the tree though.
Will we hear new music?
New music is a distinct possibility from the fourpiece, with Pete and Carl due to meet each other this week (beginning April 28). Carl has told NME he’s taking a guitar along with him which is handy, because Pete’s been practising too – he took a break during NME’s interview with him to play a quick burst of ‘Vertigo’ and ‘Death On The Stairs’, alongside covers of Belle & Sebastian, Love, Elastica and The La’s.
But: there’s no studio time booked or planned at present for the reunited Libertines.
Read much more in this week’s NME including The Libertines’ thoughts on the support line-up, how it’ll compare to their 2010 reunion and whether they can pull off the mighty task of headlining Hyde Park this coming June – head here to check it out.