“Are you fucking joking?” a somewhat stunned Pete Doherty laughs upon hearing the news that he just missed Mel C joining Blossoms on stage at Glastonbury 2022. To be fair, it’s because he was making his way to his backstage NME interview.
He gets over it pretty quick, clearly soaking up the feel-good Glasto vibes after The Libertines absolutely smashed their joyous, sunshine-inspiring opening set on The Other Stage this morning. After being introduced by a video message from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – who called on the crowd to “spread truth” about the war with Russia and share Glastonbury’s inclusive and loving feeling “with everyone whose freedom is under attack” – the band paid tribute to the leader and war-torn country, and brought about a little togetherness with wall-to-wall indie bangers.
Before he dashed off to catch a few more bands, we caught up with Doherty to talk politics, the long-awaited new Libs’ album, and who might play him and Carl in a movie.
Hello Peter. How have you been?
Pete Doherty: “I’ve been alright, you know? Ticking along, ticking along. Well, I was enjoying Blossoms – but you dragged me off! I got quite emotional actually. They were fucking on fire. He’s great, that fella from Blossoms. They all are. I shed a little tear.”
Sorry for making you miss Mel C getting up with them
“I didn’t know she was coming on!”
Are you a big Spice Girls fan?
“No, but my little sister was at the time. It was the Britpop era at the time, so that was more my scene.”
Congratulations on your marvellous opening set this morning.
“Yeah, it was a good’un! Did you see Volodymyr Zelenskyy as well?”
Yes indeed. Did that add an extra emotional weight to your set?
“Absolutely. It was like when Jeremy Corbyn did a speech before us when we played a big festival at Tranmere Rovers’ Ground. Sadly he lost to the Tories that year, but it looks like the Tories took a bit of a panning last night [in the by-election] and lost some seats.”
Politics aside, it seemed like you guys were enjoying yourselves on stage today more than ever. Did it feel that way?
“Yeah, it picked up a bit towards the end. Everyone really enjoyed it and thought it was a spanking gig.”
How would you describe the chemistry in The Libertines these days?
“The chemistry is working to the original chemical formula, with the prosperity, harmony and advancement of the Albion’s dream and promise.”
And after this you’re off to sunnier climbs with The Libertines?
“Yes, we’ve pencilled in a writing session in Jamaica.”
You told us before that it had wildly diverse ‘Sandinista’ vibes?
“There are lots of things on the table – some really good strong and melodic rock’n’roll songs. We’ve also got ideas for soundscapes and spoken word stuff.”
Do you have a goal in mind for when it might be ready?
“By the end of the year, I think – hopefully. We’ll get the demos done in the summer hopefully and then we’ll see.”
But before that, you’re playing a show at Wembley Arena of course…
“We have indeed: celebrating 20 years of ‘Up The Bracket’ coming out. We’re going to be playing the album and some rare treats as well. Stuff like [deep cuts] ‘General Smuts’ and ‘Plan A’ that we’ve never really played properly. It will be nice to get stuck into some of the B-sides.”
You’re playing with The Cribs as well, which will be an indie sleaze fiesta. Are you aware of the indie sleaze phenomenon?
“I’ve been spearheading indie sleaze for years! I wasn’t aware that it had officially been tagged as that but I’m happy to support it.”
All the kids are getting into the music and fashion of indie from 2002-2008.
“Oh really? Well, good luck to them!”
Congratulations on your new book too. How does it feel to have your story out there?
“Oh, The Likely Lads – thank you. It’s basically a ghost-written autobiography. With all of the best stories that I was happy to tell and thought were hilarious – everything got taken out! My mum said that if I’m not sued, beaten up or killed within a week of it coming out, then she’ll be very surprised.”
How would you feel about it being adapted into a movie?
“I don’t know, it depends on who would play me. Maybe my son could play me. He’s the right age; about 20.”
And what about the rest of the band?
“Carl would probably want to play himself. A bit of hair dye and he’ll be fine. He hasn’t really changed shape much. We can all play ourselves, with a bit of digital tweaking.”
What does the rest of your Glasto weekend look like, Peter?
“Well, I’ve got to get back to the dogs because I’m missing them. I’m going to catch a couple of bands, and definitely see IDLES. I love them; great shows. Dr. John Cooper Clarke is doing something too so I’ll try and get to that. I’ll try and catch Hak Baker too, and maybe Billie Eilish. It’s all about logistics at Glastonbury, isn’t it?”
Are you around for Paul McCartney?
“No, I’ll be gone by then. I’ve met him before. Lovely chap. Salt of the earth.”
Meanwhile, Doherty’s latest acclaimed album ‘The Fantasy Life of Poetry & Crime’ with Frédéric Lo is out now.
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