January 7, 2009 / 6:10 PM / 10 years ago

Libertines fans see signs of possible reunion

PARIS/LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Fans of The Libertines are speculating the British rock band could become the latest act to stage a reunion, after signs of reconciliation between former frontmen Pete Doherty and Carl Barat.

British singer Pete Doherty of Babyshambles performs on stage during Budapest's Sziget Music Festival on an island on the Danube River August 17, 2008. REUTERS/Karoly Arvai

Doherty, 29, and Barat, 30, fell out four years ago in a blaze of drugs and arguments but have recently been seen at each others’ gigs and even spontaneously performed together.

Hopes for a more lasting reunion were rekindled when Dirty Pretty Things, the band Barat formed after the Libertines’ implosion in 2004, broke up at the end of last year.

With Britpop act Blur and the Specials re-grouping for a few shows, fans hope The Libertines will catch the conciliatory mood.

Barat talked of pursuing new musical projects after Dirty Pretty Things died, but was quick to add these would not involve reviving The Libertines. Some believe he may change his mind.

“Carl is up for a reunion,” a source close to both musicians said, adding obstacles lay mostly with the other two former members of the Libertines, bassist John Hassall and drummer Gary Powell.

Music industry insiders caution that Doherty’s battle with drug addition and erratic lifestyle could also stand in the way of reconciliation.

“Carl obviously has issues with Peter’s drug abuse,” the source said.


Despite only releasing two albums in the seven years of their existence, The Libertines created a loyal following.

They led a revival of guitar rock with raw, lyrical songs reminiscent of The Clash and The Smiths and a vision of a mythical England, inspired by British poet William Blake.

At the heart of the emotional appeal of their music and performances was the tempestuous relationship between the frontmen, which culminated in Doherty burgling Barat’s flat.

After Doherty was kicked out of the band, he started his own act Babyshambles, making headlines with celebrity girlfriends such as Kate Moss and stints in jail and rehab.

Recently, there have been signs of a rapprochement.

In September 2008, Barat and Doherty reunited for an impromptu gig at the Prince of Wales pub in Camden.

In November, Doherty, who is putting the finishing touches to a solo album, was spotted watching Barat perform at the Bataclan theater in Paris during the final Dirty Pretty Things tour. The pair briefly met after the show.

But when asked about the prospect of a reunion, all Doherty’s manager Adrian Hunter said was: “Boring.”

While Barat insists he is busy with his own projects, he has at times shown nostalgia for his days with The Libertines.

In July 2008, speaking to The Sunday Mail Live about his appearance at Doherty’s Hackney Empire gig in April 2007, Barat said: “It reminded me how great we were together and how much unfinished business there is.”

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; editing by Sophie Hardach

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