Cue the jokes about scandalous riders: The Libertines are back, reuniting for this summer’s Reading and Leeds Festivals.
Ever since the Libertines split, the hyperbolic British music weeklies have tipped the reunion to happen, occasionally using “Could be…” quotes from frontmen Carl Barat and Pete Doherty. But outside of a few close calls here and there, the full-on reunion never materialized.
Instead the world has had to make do with Barat’s comparatively dull Dirty Pretty Things and Doherty’s sometimes thrilling musical excursions with Babyshambles and a host of co-conspirators who’d slip in and out of the shadows like something from a Sherlock Holmes mystery.
Doherty has also shown an affinity for falling afoul of the law, regularly appearing in the tabloids due to some combination of drugs, driving and celebrity romance.
But now the Libertines are back, promising readers of the NME “to play the songs people want to hear,” which certainly sounds like a cash-in, even if it’s a fantastic one.
“Potentially it’s a fucking disaster,” said Doherty in the video, which is part of what makes the whole thing so exciting. It could all go horribly wrong, which is sort of where the band’s brilliance lies. If rock & roll is at its best when it all feels as though it could go wildly off the rails, there are few acts who’ve tapped into that vein as perfect as the Libertines.
Whether they survive the trip to record or play again is almost secondary. The Libertines were always meant to burn bright for a moment, then leave us wondering what the hell had just happened.