Libertines - Interview (Exclusive)

After just interviewing Pete, he’s intrigued to see what Carl has to say to the same questions, a bit like one of those best friend tests you find on social media, except with Doherty playing guitar lightly in the background, in the Hilton Hotel in Bournemouth.

Carl seems restless, a friendly smile never leaves his face. His family is on the way to visit, it’s made clear how much he values this precious time off stage.

There’s such a bond between both Carl and Pete, their friendship has seen more ups and downs than a fiddlers elbow, yet they still seem like long lost brothers.

(R) So you’re coming to the end of your tour now, are there any gigs that have stood out for you?

(C) I think Manchester, it was the first gig we’ve ever done where the balance has just been right, like a ‘shiny floor show!’, with wall to wall people packed in, but then we’ve sort of retained our spirit and gone up. Yeah it was poppin!

Cause you know you can never really tell until after a gig, cause sometimes everything will be in place and it will be perfect or it could just be shit, but we managed Manchester and that was the main thing.

(R) It’s the north that’s why!

(C) Oh is that right! You’ve never had much luck with Manchester have you Pete?

(P) No I told you didn’t I, I always jinxed Manchester…

I’m surprised you didn’t hear about it…

(R) So about the intimate gig in Nottingham, it came by accident it wasn’t really supposed to happen…

(P) when we came out, and there were still kids outside and we got the guitars out

(C) Oh yeah that tiny guitar!

“It’s like my emotions are a big sack of cement that I carry around behind me, after I stop it takes me a while to actually reach me”


(R) So how important is it for you to do intimate gigs?

(C) Well moments like that are really important, I can’t really organize them, they just kinda happen and the spirit is there, it’s great, sometimes I feel terrified and feel under pressure but it felt really natural in Nottingham…

(P) It was something joyful, I came out and Carl had come out first, and to see Carl stood there in the car park with a little guitar…

(R) How small was this guitar!

(P) This guitar was tiny! It just filled my heart with joy, didn’t really even used to happen that much, back in the ‘so called day’ when we had gigs and it was just like, “we need to get these fucking people out of our house!”
It was amazing, and you were happy and you were smiling! They kept saying about how long they had been waiting there, we felt we had to do it forever, so we were like “right! We’re gonna get you all presents from the bus”, and we ended up giving like pants away and stuff like that!

“It’s so much more than the music itself, the energy and the presence, being receptive to something deeper and bigger.”

(R) Dirty or clean…

(C) Spotless... I think! Intimate gigs are important to me, I still do it with the Jackals, and I still play with an armpit lodged in my face…

(P) that’s why you got The Jackals together wasn’t it? You wanted to take it back to the lads in the back of the van, going around the country and the enthusiasm of that, the new members of the band, Carl really gets off on it!

(C) But I like doing really energetic stuff as well, but Pete says I play too fast!

(P) no I don’t I never say that! You know Ruby Tuesday is her real name? She was taken off the streets right by Bobby Gillespie and sent to college and got on the path of righteousness!

How did he find you!

(R) I was at the gig at Manchester and I wouldn’t leave until I met Bobby, when I did we got deep about politics and from then on I’ve worked closely with his photographer... so what went through your mind the minute before you were about to announce your reformation?

(C) There was a certain sense of pride to say I’m in The Libertines again, it’s very slow for me, it takes me ages for my body catch up, but at the time you’ve gotta just think, just do it!

It’s like my emotions are a big sack of cement that I carry around behind me, after I stop it takes me a while to actually reach me
But I think with The Libertines thing it was quite slow, and then it wasn’t real until we’d written…

(P) it was important to get some new songs in the bag as well

(R) The Libertines… your whole career has been… let’s use the word colorful, I can imagine you’ve seen some things; you’re still doing it now and it’s still mental, but what really makes you feel that excitement again from when you first started?

(C) Got to think about that really, obviously the friendship and the camaraderie, the pride and the relief, the simple things really. Also every gig I do I’m still so terrified, when I get on stage, initially I’ve gotta show the audience… just that energy.

When I was a kid I used to have this Doors live tape, there’s one moment in it I think it was when the music’s over…

Carl begins to mutter the lyrics of When The Music Is Over by The Doors at 100mph, a look of total confusion takes over Pete’s face

(P) eh?!

(C) I’m not speaking in tongue, I’m just trying to remember the lyrics… “We want the world and we want it now! And he goes ‘NOOOOOWWW!’ it’s not the recorded version it’s the live version, and ever since I heard that I thought, I’ve gotta do that on stage.

It’s so much more than the music itself, the energy and the presence, being receptive to something deeper and bigger. When we have those moments, yeah.

(R) We were just talking about bands like Zeppelin, Nirvana etc, so much has changed now, I guess you can’t just go and scream down the microphone…

(P) I was never really into Nirvana, when he comes off stage though at that Reading gig…

(R) Is that the one where Kurt came on stage dressed as Courtney Love?

(P) Yeah and she’s there when he comes off stage, and a little kid comes up to him, he goes from being this massive man on stage, all that power, then off stage he looks really kind of, troubled…

(P) This English kid comes up to him, he’s like uber American, Kurt, in my brain, and this kid goes “I’ve got you on my wall Kurt! I’ve got the drummers autograph, can you sign this?” and Courtney’s trying to pull him away, he gets to sign it but he just looks really confused by all these people around him…

Carl seems lost in thought, racking his brain for any Nirvana footage he’s ever seen.
Pete jumps up having just remembered something, guitar in hand and he’s straight back into work mode

(P) you’ve gotta remind me Carl, one of the songs live, I’ve been looking at the videos from Manchester and Glasgow, I watched some Reading, the song you played remind me to play it, can we have a look at it now actually?

(P) It’s ‘death on the stairs’, you’re locked into the chorus, fucking great performance; I’m a bit embarrassed about my verse but you’re really in there, normally through the chorus you play that straight riff, right? You go “please kill me!”…

The lads have both stood up now, Pete showing Carl footage of their Glasgow gig on his smashed up iPhone. We can all hear clearly in the video how Carl ever so slightly plays his guitar melody differently, a beautiful mistake, which has stuck in Pete’s head.

It’s been a long day with the boys and Pete needs to rest, Carl’s family has arrived and we all split up to continue what’s left of the day before they go on stage.

In a few hours The Libertines will play their second to last gig of this tour, thousands of fans impatiently wait near the BIC, top hats at the ready for a gig they will be telling their children’s children about.



Ruby Munslow

Twitter - @rubyymunslow