The Libertines rectify whether or not Johnny Borrell was ever really ‘in the band’

'If you don't pop your cherry and you don't play the gig, you're not in the band'

The Libertines have spoken out to deny the indie myth that Johnny Borrell was ever a member of the band.

It is widely believed that the Borrell played bass with the band in their early days in the late ’90s. It is also rumoured that ‘The Boy Looked At Johnny’ from ‘Up The Bracket’ is about him. However in a new interview with Q, they state that while the Razorlight frontman remains a good friend of bassist John Hassell (who recently played on Borrell’s new record), he was never strictly a ‘true’ member’.

Asked about how they first met, Pete Doherty replied: “Right! There was a wonderful pub called The Albion around Brick Lane way and it closed down. It did have an evil atmosphere, now and again, but at the time, I was looking for that as an observer, not a participant.


“Johnny Borrell, evil incarnate, he saw me carrying the pub’s sign home and said, “where are you taking that?” I said, “I’ve got to drag it all the way to Whitechapel,” so he said “no, leave it at mine”. He’d bought this swanky new hipster place on Brick Lane, so I did. I came back the next day in my van and I don’t know what he’d done with it because it wasn’t there and neither was he! That’s actually a true story, I’m not slagging Johnny Borrell off though. It was probably a different Johnny Borrell.”

Carl Barat then stated that Borrell was “never in The Libertines”, arguing that he ever played two rehearsals with the band.

“We told him we were right up shit creek and if he was going to help us out [and play bass at a show], then it would be amazing,” Doherty continued. “But if you say you’re going to do it, do it. Don’t phone from Cardiff, two minutes before the gig, saying you’re living the dream with Alabama 3.”

Barat added: “Exactly. If you don’t pop your cherry and you don’t do the gig, you’re not in the band.”

The Libertines live
The Libertines live


Meanwhile, The Libertines also recently spoke to NME about their plans for their upcoming tour, new album and building their own ‘HQ’ hotel and studio.

As well as headlining both Truck Festival and Tramlines this weekend, the band’s upcoming UK tour dates are below. Tickets are on sale here.

17 – Dunfermline Alhambra
18 – Inverness Ironworks
19 – Kilmarnock Grand Hall
22 – Blackpool Empress Ballroom
23 – Hull Arena
25 – Plymouth Pavilions
26 – Scarborough Spa
30 – Lowestoft Claremont Pier
1 – Margate By The Sea Festival (Margate Dreamland)
2- Brighton Brighton Centre