The U.K.’s frequently wrong (though always entertaining) tabloid The Mirror is reporting that acclaimed crackhead Pete Doherty is reuniting with his former Libertines bandmate Carl Barat to write a musical. According to Barat, London’s Donmar Warehouse theater has commissioned the duo to pen “about 20 songs” for a stage drama about the “struggles of an up-and-coming rock band” to open in early 2009. While this story is likely the result of wishful thinking, exaggeration, or out-and-out fabrication, we totally want it to be true. Regardless of whatever crack-related nonsense led to their breakup and subsequent tabloid infamy, the Libertines were easily one of our favorite bands of this past decade. And, even though we’d much rather see them reform for a proper album and world tour, we’d actually be perfectly happy with a Libertines musical. Why? Because it would be awesome.
Not only would their story make for endlessly entertaining melodrama (see here), but also, during the brief period when the pair were actually on speaking terms (from 1997 until July of 2003, when Doherty broke into Barat’s house and stole his video camera for crack money), they were responsible for an impressive amount of pretty excellent songwriting, all of which falls into one of two categories: (1) songs explicitly about shooting up heroin and (2) songs that sound like old-timey show tunes (and make us believe they’re capable of writing a halfway decent musical). After the jump, five Libertines tracks not about heroin!
1. “Anything But Love”
Barat and Doherty clarify their position on groupies (they enjoy having sex with them) in such sweet, melodic, PG-rated terms that this song (from their 1999 demo tape) could’ve fit comfortably in the score from Oliver!. We’d actually sort of like to hear what a Broadway orchestra could do with the coda.
2. “Music When the Lights Go Out”
A sparse, half-hearted electric version of this track made it onto the band’s self-titled second album, purportedly pieced together from takes recorded between Doherty’s arrests, court dates, and incarcerations. Still, we’ve always preferred the original cello-enhanced acoustic demo (it wasn’t on YouTube, but you can download it here). Doherty claims he’s singing about a girl, but it’s pretty obvious that the lyrics are about his failing relationship with Barat. If the struggling “up-and-coming band” in the Libertines musical turns out to be the Libertines, we’re pretty sure they’ll play this song.
3. “East of Eden”
Pete turns in a capable, possibly unnecessary rewrite of “The Bare Necessities” from The Jungle Book, with lyrics (sort of) based on Steinbeck’s depressing novel.
4. “What Katy Did”
A few years ago, Doherty wrote this sorta love song for then-girlfriend Kate Moss. She liked it so much that she took off her shirt and danced topless on YouTube (warning: Above video is probably NSFW). We like it too, though probably not that much.
5. “7 Deadly Sins”
On this B-side from 2003, Pete and Carl tunefully take stock of their various indiscretions. If there’s a merrier, more whimsical description of dangerous, irresponsible rock-star misbehavior than the one in these lyrics, we’d definitely love to hear it. This is probably how Rodgers and Hammerstein would’ve written about crack-fueled debauchery.
Pete Doherty to write musical with Carl Barat [Sunday Mirror]Five Reasons a Libertines Musical Isn’t a Terrible Idea