Carl Barat tells NME.COM he’s looking at forming a new band next year, or even going solo...

CARL BARAT plans to split Libertines at the end of the year if PETE DOHERTY doesn’t clean up and rejoin the band.

The star is currently working on plans for what he’d do if Doherty is either too unwell or unwilling to rejoin Libertines this year. The group aren’t planning any more tours or studio time beyond December, putting the band on ice for the “foreseeable future”. Band sources have told NME.COM the decision is tantamount to splitting Libertines, but with Carl leaving the door open for a reunion if Pete is ever well enough.

Speaking last week, Carl told NME.COM that he’s working on new songs, has a new found confidence and is considering either going solo or rehearsing musicians for a new group next year. It’s likely that any new band would feature some members of Libertines.

Carl told NME: “As of the end of December Gary, John and I have decided Libertines will be off the road for the foreseeable future, no more official gigs are booked. An ongoing problem with my health, which requires an operation, will put me out of action for maybe some months. My position with Pete hasn’t changed, I hope he gets better, I still love him and hope he will come back in full health and take the world with Libertines and put the Albion back on-course. Joining the old crew on the good ship wouldn’t be so hard.”

He continued: “I’m gonna have to do something different for a bit. I’ve got a lot of songs written, I don’t know if that means getting a splendid top-hole band together or just going off and recording [them]. So I’m going to go and do that for a bit.

“I do put a rather stoic brave face on which is hard to maintain sometimes. I don’t always believe that’s how I feel behind it. But right now I feel like I’ve got more focus about what I do in the future than ever before. And I’ve found confidence and faith in my writing. So I feel a bit more positive.”

Carl said that he still hopes more than anything for a reunion with a fit and healthy Pete, but he can’t see it happening in the immediate future. He told NME.COM: “My heart, of course, is with Libertines. In its original line-up… To be honest, I’ve not been that close to what’s going on (Libertines have been touring the US). The pictures [of Pete] sadden me. I don’t feel he’s well at the moment.

“I don’t know if [Libertines will] ever be quite the same but I don’t see why they’d be any less valid or why we’d have any less purpose or conviction or relevance if we did get back together. Of course I’d love to. But I’m not going to rest on my laurels waiting for Pete to decide if he’s going to stop taking drugs… I’ve got things that I need to get out my system in song right now and I’ve got some other work to do.”

Barat has to have an operation at the end of the year which will stop him playing live for a number of months. No more shows will be scheduled in the UK before December, meaning the last time the band played live with Pete was on the opening night of Carl’s London club Dirty Pretty Things before Doherty flew to Thailand for rehab in the summer. Their last UK show was at this year’s Carling Weekend: Reading and Leeds festivals in August.

However, the group have been touring North America without Pete, which came as something as a relief for Carl. At one show in Washington DC fans invaded the stage, similar to their legendary gig at the London Forum last year.

He added: “We were doing what we set out to do. It’s been a bit of a trailblazer really. In America there’s none of this press surrounding the band. People have just heard that there’s gonna be a good band in town and gone out and had a good time. We think we’ve done good. But obviously it’s still a bit tricky right now.”

There are no plans to release a third single from ‘The Libertines’. However, Carl has been in the studio with the band Client, having co-written their new single ‘Pornography’ which is released on January 10, 2005.

Alan McGee, manager of The Libertines said: “There are no limitations to Carl’s songwriting talent or musical adaptability. The most probable way forward under the current conditions of the Libertines will be to do many co write projects and various guest appearances.

”I have never known Carl more confident musically than he is at the moment. A great Carl Barat solo album or as yet unnamed band featuring current members of the Libertines awaits sometime in late 2005. To me ‘Pornography’ sounds like Carl and Client have written a great Cure type of single.

If there is going to be life after the Libertines, then Carl Barat’s journey is certainly going to be an interesting one.”