— by Farrah Weinstein
Carl Barat promises that "Bang, Bang, You're Dead" is not about Pete Doherty.
"It's about me, really," the British guitarist told MTV News. "Everyone's always assuming I wrote it about the Libertines, but I made a decision not to write anything about the Libertines without the Libertines on this record."
Barat is referring to a track on Waterloo to Anywhere, the album he made with his new band, Dirty Pretty Things. The Doherty-less crew sports the same garage-band look with a prettier grittiness: black jeans, top hats, neck scarves, shaggy hair, striped shirts, aviator sunglasses and lots and lots of sweat.
Libertines drummer Gary Powell joins lead singer Barat in the band, along with bassist Didz Hammond and guitarist Anthony Rossomando, who is (shocker!) a Boston native.
So how did Dirty Pretty Things launch themselves out of the wreckage that was the Libertines and put all the drama of Pete Doherty's much-publicized drug addiction behind them?
Simple. Last summer, Barat gave guitarist Rossomando a call and put the wheels in motion.
"Carl rang me up, and he's like, 'Come on over to London and get inspired,' " Rossomando said. "We walked around a bit, he showed me a lot of the city, and it's a really inspiring place. We felt like a gang, and it went seamlessly. We got vibes on each other. We feel like we're a mutated family or something."
"We're lucky that the whole band came together pretty quick. And it's natural, even with an American," Barat joked. "It feels great for me to be onstage in this new band because I've been waiting so long to do it. And I couldn't ask for more from audiences — everyone's going crazy in England."
Indeed. Dirty Pretty Things sold out their first U.K. tour in 20 minutes and have since performed in Brazil, Italy and, next up, Ireland. Get your datebooks out: They're heading to the U.S. in August and will be playing gigs in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and New York.
The bandmembers say that ideas for most of the songs on Waterloo to Anywhere were recorded on little cassette Dictaphones and cell phones, although the album itself was put together in Los Angeles and Glasgow, Scotland.
"It certainly gave us a bit of objectivity because Glasgow is the polar opposite of Los Angeles in a lot of ways," Barat said. "But it was just good to get out of London because for me there are too many distractions."
Naturally, many of the tracks were inspired by Barat's homeland. "Last of the Small Town Playboys" is "just a little bit of a lament for the big fish in the small ponds of town who could have gone out and been something," said Barat, who was born in Basingstoke, England.
Their latest single, "Deadwood," is an aggressive, fast-paced song. "And of the years that rolled by/ Yeah some were so good/ But now I know that/ You were the coward/ The holes in your soul/ In tatters for all these years," Barat sings.
The "Deadwood" video was shot in a bar on a farm in Essex, England. The boys go wild, smashing up cars, riding motorcycles and partying with strippers, reminiscent of the Libertines' partying ways.
And Libertines fans need not worry: From time to time, Dirty Pretty Things will bust out an oldie like "Death on the Stairs" onstage.
"I think 'Death on the Stairs' is my favorite Libertines song," Barat said. "I recognize the reason that people know who we are is because people knew about the Libertines. I think a lot of the fans still like to hear these songs, so we play them occasionally."
Barat looks back on the Libertines as "training" for Dirty Pretty Things, and he says they are here to stay.
"It sounds a bit cheesy, but we're very tight," he said. "And I guess what keeps me going personally is [that] I haven't done what I set out to do yet. It's a good fight to fight, fighting for a cause. Just a reckoning, values, validation, understanding, togetherness, loyal ties."
Speaking of loyal ties, Barat insists there is no bad blood between him and Doherty, even though their split (Doherty also formed his own band, Babyshambles) was anything but amicable.
"I miss Pete because he was amazing — still is, really," he said. "But we're doing such different things right now. I still consider him a friend. Of course I miss him. Yeah, I've got a few regrets about things not working out, but c'est la vie."
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