Interview: The Libertines on the road to Fife gig

The LIbertines at T In The Park 2015 (Pic Lisa Ferguson)
The LIbertines at T In The Park 2015 (Pic Lisa Ferguson)

Bands tend to go on tour for a variety of reasons – to promote their latest album, to mark an anniversary of some kind, or to be quite cynical, to make money.

But for indie four-piece The Libertines, the reason behind them hitting the road is to find a hotel by the sea –yes, you read that right...

The LIbertines at T In The Park 2015 (Pic Lisa Ferguson)

The LIbertines at T In The Park 2015 (Pic Lisa Ferguson)

The last we heard from Pete Doherty, Carl Barat, John Hassall and Gary Powell was two years ago with the release of ‘Anthems for Doomed Youth’ and their biggest ever live tour to date.

But now they are visiting coastal towns around the UK coast in search of a suitable home for their studio-cum-HQ – and who doesn’t love a good old seaside tour?

“We’re looking for a home, one roof for the many splendoured trappings of Arcady, a factory, with a guest house, bar and studio,” Carl explained. “We do like to be beside the seaside – and who doesn’t? – and we hope to find that home on this tour, so watch this space…

“We want a place to make a record, place to rehearse, place to write, a place to do whatever we want really.”

Few artists have been through the mill quite like The Libertines – the heartbreak, drugs, fights, jail time and enough drama to keep Eastenders in story lines for a few years.

The Libertines were a breath of fresh air when they first exploded on the music scene in the early noughties, and as Carl himself puts it, “gave fans some kind of ideology and a sense of belonging.”

Things finally came to ahead in 2004 and the band parted ways.

Following the split, it was always a “will they, won’t they” on whether they would ever get back together. It was a “couldn’t live with you, couldn’t live without you” situation, Pete recalled.

Speaking about his turbulent relationship with Pete, Carl said: “We went through so much together and shared our perceptions of the world through our writing.

“I don’t suppose we can find anyone else to perform that role. We always end up drifting back to one another. Even if there are various prisons and other organisations along the way. There’s just a bond there that’s very deep. I never thought I was being patient. It’s just, well, what was the choice?

“But I think it’s a lifelong thing. I have the name of the band tattooed on my arm – as does Pete – which is a constant reminder. We’re bound together.”

Following a short-lived reunion which saw the band take the headline slot at the Reading and Leeds Festival in 2010, a proper reunion came four years later in 2014.

The band teased fans with an image of London’s Hyde Park on their Facebook page. It was finally announced that the Libertines would headline the Barclaycard British Summer Time series of concerts on Saturday, July 5.

The Boys in the Band were back.

“I was getting treatment for my various over-enthusiasms when Carl appeared like a vision with a notion to record some new music together,” Pete said.

Those songs became their third album, ‘Anthems For Doomed Youth’ to wide critical acclaim in 2015, signalling a welcome return of the likely lads.

This year not only marks 20 years since the band first got together, but also marks the 13th anniversary of the release of ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ with the band taking to their Facebook page to leave a poignant message for their fans:

“Thirteen years ago we released ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’, a song about the rough seas you sometimes have to weather with the people you love.

“All these years later and we’re still here, we’re still playing live and working on new songs. A big part of that is you guys and we love you for it. Thank you for last two decades and especially the last few years, letting us come back for another jig aboard the Good Ship Albion.

“Plenty seas behind us, plenty seas ahead... see you when we break land soon.”

And the band have landed.

Setting off through September and October, weaving their way through seaside towns up and down the country, including three dates here in Scotland – Dunfermline, Inverness and Kilmarnock – before knuckling down to record their fourth album which Gary hinted at earlier this year.

“The new album is due out in the spring next year,” he said. “There’s always the possibility of sneaking in a little bit of something new on the tour just for people to get to grips with whatever direction that we will be taking next, to keep people as emotionally engaged as we possibly can.”

Carl added:“I think we’re in a position now where the pressure is always up. It always has been. The pressure is on just to make the best record we can. I’m excited and confident that we’ve got something to say and write about as always, and all that chemistry can come out true to form.

“The things we write about are kind of life-long themes – it’s part of the vocabulary really.

“I certainly think it’s good to explore new ideas and write about other things but our voices are our voices and that’s not changing.

“I guess it will be the ‘classic’ Libertine sound that people know and love. That’s a nice way of looking at it.

“We’ll just be rolling up our sleeves and the hard work will pay off. Arbeit macht frei.

“We’ve still got two decades’ of stuff, and we’ve still got a lot to write about.

“There’s a lot of water yet to go under the bridge so yeah, there’s definitely plenty still to do.”

Pete added: “We’re looking forward to getting on the road, and finding a new home. Get your hips and your lips at the ready.”

You heard the man.

The Libertines play Dunfermline’s Alhambra on Sunday.

>> Libertines Timeline:

1997 – Pete Doherty and Carl Barat form The Libertines after the pair quickly bond over a shared love of arcane English culture and music. After rejecting the name The Albion they team up as The Libertines with bassist John Hassall and drummer Paul DuFour.

2001 – After failing to set the music world alight the first time around, the Libertines give it another try and sign to Rough Trade Records with new drummer Gary Powell.

2002 – The Libertines release their debut album to critical acclaim.

2003 – Despite the growing success of the Libertines, Doherty becomes estranged from the group and forms Babyshambles. Throughout the year, he is plagued with drug issues, finally being jailed for six months.

2004 – Doherty is sacked from The Libertines and two months later, the band’s second album is released.

2006/2007 – Pete’s drug use spirals out of control and sees him in and out of jail and rehab in between releasing new material with Babyshambles. Carl moves on with his band Dirty Pretty Things.

2014 – the band reform and release new album ‘Anthem For Doomed Youth’ the following year.

2017 – The Libertines announce a new tour and with new material in the works, the boys are definitely back on top form.