Doherty in 2012
|Birth name||Peter Doherty|
|Born||12 March 1979|
Hexham, Northumberland, England
|Genres||Indie rock, post-punk revival, garage rock revival|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, songwriter, actor, poet, writer, artist|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, bass guitar, harmonica, melodica, piano, organ|
|Associated acts||The Libertines, Peter Doherty and the Puta Madres, Babyshambles, Peter Wolfe, Littl'ans, The Streets|
Peter Doherty (born 12 March 1979) is an English musician, songwriter, actor, poet, writer, and artist. He is best known for being co-frontman of The Libertines, which he formed with Carl Barât in 1997. His other musical projects are indie band Babyshambles and Peter Doherty and the Puta Madres.
Pete Doherty was born in Hexham, Northumberland, to a military family. His father, Peter John Doherty, was a major in the Royal Signals, while his mother, Jacqueline Michels, was a lance-corporal in Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps. His paternal grandfather was an Irish immigrant from Cheekpoint in County Waterford; his maternal grandfather was Jewish, the son of immigrants from France and Russia. He was raised Catholic. He grew up at a number of army garrisons across Britain and continental Europe, with his sisters, Amy, Jo and Emily. Doherty was the second of the four children. It was while living in Dorset, aged 11, that Doherty began playing guitar, originally in an attempt to impress a female classmate, Emily Baker. He achieved 11 GCSEs, 7 of which were A* grades, at Nicholas Chamberlaine Comprehensive School in Bedworth, North Warwickshire, and four passes at A-Level, two at grade A. At the age of 16, he won a poetry competition and embarked on a tour of Russia organised by the British Council.
After his A-levels, he moved to his grandmother's flat in London – where he said he felt 'destined' to be – and got a job filling graves in Willesden Cemetery, although most of his time was spent reading and writing while sitting on gravestones. In a clip later made famous by YouTube, an 18-year-old Doherty can be seen in an interview with MTV, on the day of the release of Oasis' Be Here Now album. He attended Queen Mary, a college of the University of London, to study English literature, but left the course after his first year. After leaving university, he moved into a London flat with friend and fellow musician Carl Barât, who had been a classmate of Doherty's older sister at Brunel University.
Doherty and Barât formed a band called the Libertines in the late 1990s, although it was not until 2002, with the release of their debut album Up the Bracket, that they began to achieve widespread mainstream success.
The group achieved critical and commercial success and gained a dedicated cult following, with Doherty, in particular, being praised by fans and critics alike as one of the most promising songwriters to emerge on the British music scene for some time. However, Doherty's increasing drug problems led to his estrangement from the band. In 2003, he was jailed for burgling Barât's flat. The two initially fell out over this incident, but made amends whilst Doherty was in prison. He was originally sentenced to 6 months, but his sentence was cut to 2 months. Upon his release, Doherty immediately reunited with Barât and the rest of the band to play a gig in the Tap 'n' Tin pub in Chatham, Kent; known among Libertine fans as "The Freedom Gig".
Following his rejoining of the band, Doherty sought treatment for his drug addiction. He attended the alternative detox centre Wat Tham Krabok, a temple in Thailand, famous for its rehabilitation programme for crack and heroin users. He left after three days and returned to England. As a consequence of this, The Libertines cancelled appearances that they were due to make at the Isle of Wight and Glastonbury festivals.
However, while post-production work was taking place on the second Libertines album in June 2004, Doherty was again asked to leave the band. The band cited Doherty's continuing drug addiction as the reason for his dismissal but emphasised their willingness to take him back once he had addressed his addiction. Although Barât had previously stated that The Libertines were merely on hiatus, pending Doherty's recovery, the group effectively disbanded with Doherty's departure at the end of 2004. The remaining members became involved in other projects (see Yeti and Dirty Pretty Things). On 12 April 2007, Pete Doherty and Carl Barât played 13 songs together at the second of Doherty's "An Evening with Pete Doherty" gigs at the Hackney Empire, London.
In 2010 The Libertines reformed for appearances at the Reading and Leeds Festivals. They performed on 27 August at Leeds Festival and on 28 August at Reading Festival. The festival appearances were preluded by two gigs at the HMV Forum on 24 and 25 August. In November 2014 the band signed a record deal with Virgin EMI Records and released their third album, Anthems for Doomed Youth, on 11 September 2015.
The Libertines played an arena tour across the UK in January 2016, followed by a European tour and then dates in South America.
Prior to the disbanding of The Libertines, Doherty collaborated with local poet Wolfman. Together they recorded the single "For Lovers", which entered the top 10, charting at number 7, in April 2004. Despite the success of the single, which was nominated for a prestigious Ivor Novello Award for songwriting, Doherty and Wolfman received relatively little money, having already sold the publishing rights for a small sum in a pub.
Later in 2004, Doherty provided guest vocals to the song "Down to the Underground" by the British group Client. The song was released in June 2004 as a B-side to the group's single "In It for the Money" and appears on their second album City.
In 2006, Doherty was featured on the charity single "Janie Jones", which was released to raise funds for Strummerville. A number of artists and bands, such as Dirty Pretty Things, We Are Scientists, The Kooks and The Holloways, also featured on the track.
Doherty founded Babyshambles towards the end of his time with The Libertines. The group has released three studio albums: Down in Albion, in November 2005, Shotter's Nation, in October 2007, and Sequel to the Prequel, in September 2013. The band's touring schedule and releases have occasionally been disrupted by Doherty's ongoing legal problems. The line-up of the band has changed several times: drummer Gemma Clarke left the band due to Doherty's drug problems and was replaced by Adam Ficek, and guitarist and co-songwriter Patrick Walden has also left the band and was replaced by Mick Whitnall. In August 2006, Babyshambles signed up with major record label Parlophone, on which they released The Blinding EP on 9 December 2006. In January 2007, they signed a long term record deal with Parlophone.
In November 2007 Babyshambles played their first arena tour, taking in dates at the MEN Arena in Manchester, the Nottingham Arena, Bournemouth International Centre, London's Wembley Arena and Birmingham's National Indoor Arena.
In September 2013, the band's third album Sequel to the Prequel was released.
Solo work and guerrilla gigs
Doherty has been working on new acoustic material, similar to the wealth of his unreleased songs that can already be downloaded on the internet. On his own, and often with his band, he has continued The Libertines' tradition of performing on short notice guerrilla gigs in small venues. On New Year's Eve 2005, Doherty held a guerrilla gig in his North London flat where he showcased some of his solo works, many of which later leaked onto the internet. 31 March and 1 April 2006 Doherty was performing two surprising solo gigs, his first in mainland Europe, at the NonStop Kino pornographic cinema and venue in Graz, Austria, after he failed to turn up for an earlier arrangement in January. For this occasion he produced, at the suggestion of Bettina Aichbauer, friend of Doherty and owner of the NonStop Kino, a film with the title Spew It Out Your Soul which he showed on-screen during his performance. On 12 July 2008, Doherty played a solo gig at the Royal Albert Hall. It was his biggest solo show so far. The concert was originally scheduled for 26 April, but had to be rescheduled to a later date due to Doherty being sentenced to 14 weeks in prison for breaching probation on 8 April. The solo show did not get the best ratings but was all in all still well received. Jon Swaine of The Daily Telegraph criticised that "whole chunks of the set … passed by as listless noodling, with neither Doherty nor the audience appearing to know quite how to behave" and that – without a full band – Doherty seemed out of place at such a big venue. Betty Clarke of The Guardian described Doherty as "focused" and "on good form". Friend and collaborator Peter Wolfe had a guest appearance on stage when Doherty performed "For Lovers". Swaine stated Wolfe ruined the song with "some especially tuneless backing vocals". The gig was forced to an abrupt end during the encore due to a stage invasion by the fans.
On 13 January 2009, NME.COM announced that Doherty's solo album, entitled Grace/Wastelands would be released on 16 March, preceded by a single, "Last of the English Roses", on 9 March. The website also revealed the track listing of the album and credits. In 2009 Doherty was made an honorary patron of the University Philosophical Society.
Whilst performing a solo gig at the Grimsby Auditorium in March 2009, Doherty declared Grimsby a "shit-hole" midway through his set after being continuously pelted with coins and drinks by a harsh crowd.
In May 2016, Peter was joined on his 'Eudaimonia' tour by Drew McConnell (bass), Miki Beavis (violin), Katia de Vidas (keyboard), Stephany Kaberian (accordion) and Rafa (drums). He was also joined by Jack Jones of Trampolene on guitar, who was support on the tour. He shared new track 'The Whole World Is Our Playground' on 4 May 2016.
In early December 2016, Doherty released the album Hamburg Demonstrations, which had been recorded in the city over a six-month period, using mostly session musicians. It was produced by Johann Scheerer and received favourable reviews.
Peter Doherty & the Puta Madres
In November 2016 Jack Jones was announced as lead guitarist in Doherty's new band The Puta Madres, joining Drew McConnell (bass), Miki Beavis (violin), Katia de Vidas (keyboard) and Rafa (drums), who had previously been his touring band. Peter Doherty and the Puta Madres played a gig in Argentina, followed by a week of shows in France including two nights for the reopening of the Bataclan. They played Kentish Town Forum in London and Manchester Albert Hall in December 2016 and several dates across Europe in February and March 2017.
Following European and South American tours and festival appearances, the band recorded their debut album in France during the summer of 2018. The band played a short tour of the UK in February 2019.
Painting and writing
In June 2006, Doherty announced that he had signed a deal with Orion Books to publish his journals, in which he had recorded poetry, drawings, and photos over the course of his career. Most of Doherty's journals are freely available on the internet. The book, titled The Books of Albion: The Collected Writings of Peter Doherty, was released on 21 June 2007.
On 15 May 2007, Doherty exhibited his paintings for the first time. The art exhibition took place at London's Bankrobber Gallery and was on show for one month. The collection featured 14 paintings.
An exhibition of Doherty's paintings titled, "Art of the Albion", took place at the Galerie Chappe in Paris from 25 April to 25 May 2008. The exhibit caused controversy due to artworks made with Doherty's own blood. According to newspapers, anti-drug campaigners were enraged and accused Doherty of glamorising illegal substance abuse. Art experts were similarly unimpressed. David West, the owner of London's Decima gallery, for example, slammed his work: "It's not got any artistic merit. He's using his blood to make them interesting, but when you look at them they're what any four-year-old can do."
On 22 September 2015, conceptual artist Andy Picci staged an art project in which he pranked a group of paparazzi, dressed up as Doherty and duly found himself splashed over the cover of the Parisien newspaper, which had taken him for the real thing.
Following in the footsteps of model and ex-fiancée Kate Moss, Doherty became the face of Roberto Cavalli's Fall 2007/2008 fashion advertising campaign. The photos gained praise for depicting a much cleaner and more handsome Doherty. The '50s-style photographs have been compared to images of Marlon Brando.
On 9 December 2010 it was reported that Doherty would be taking the lead role opposite Charlotte Gainsbourg in Confession of a Child of the Century, Sylvie Verheyde's film adaption of Alfred de Musset's autobiographical novel La Confession d'un Enfant du Siècle. The film was screened at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
In interviews, Doherty has listed his favourite books as George Orwell's 1984, Brighton Rock by Graham Greene, Our Lady of the Flowers by Jean Genet, Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire and the complete works of Oscar Wilde. He has also mentioned Emily Dickinson and Tony Hancock as influences; Doherty and his father were once members of the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society. Doherty mentions Hancock, and makes an allusion to his catchphrase 'Stone me!', in an early song entitled "You're My Waterloo". However, numerous literary and musical allusions occur throughout Doherty's ongoing Books of Albion. He places particular importance on the Romantic poets and on existential philosophers such as Albert Camus and Miguel de Unamuno. Doherty has also alluded to work by the Marquis de Sade and Thomas de Quincey. On the Babyshambles album Down in Albion, there is a track entitled "À rebours", which is significantly influenced by the novel of the same name by Joris-Karl Huysmans.
A frequent lyrical theme for Doherty is Albion, the ancient name for Great Britain. Doherty also uses 'Albion' as the name of a ship sailing to a utopia called Arcadia, a place without rules or authority. Doherty and Barât shared a flat in London, at 112a Teesdale Street, Bethnal Green, affectionately known as 'The Albion Rooms', despite being rather run down. Doherty named his diaries, in which he writes poems and other thoughts, the Books of Albion.
Drug use and legal problems
Doherty has been repeatedly arrested for drug offences and offences arising from drug use, such as driving under the influence, car theft, and driving with a suspended licence. He has pleaded guilty to possession of crack cocaine, heroin, cannabis and ketamine. His addictions have resulted in jail time and multiple trips to rehabilitation facilities. Drugs had been so important at some points in his life that in his younger days Doherty worked as a drug dealer to pay for his drug habit, as he admitted to author Peter Welsh in his biography. Doherty stated that he had been a rent boy, and that during that time he robbed one of his male clients.
In 2003, while Doherty's first band The Libertines was performing in Japan without him, he broke into Carl Barât's flat and stole various items, including an old guitar and a laptop computer. On 7 September Doherty was sentenced by Judge Roger Davies to six months in prison; the sentence was eventually shortened to two months on appeal with the judge commenting, "We feel that a custodial sentence was justified in this case but sufficient credit was not given for his timely plea of guilty which it should have been. We have reduced his sentence to two months which will allow for his almost immediate release." Doherty was released from jail on 8 October 2003.
On 2 February 2005, Doherty was arrested after an altercation with documentary filmmaker Max Carlish, who was making a rockumentary about the singer and sold photos of a heroin-smoking Doherty to the tabloids. Doherty and his friend Alan Wass had been charged with robbery and blackmail. On 7 February, he was released on bail after his record company Rough Trade put up £150,000 in bonds. All charges against him were later dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service due to a lack of evidence.
On 8 April 2008, Doherty was jailed for 14 weeks by a court for breaching a probation order after a string of brushes with the law for drugs and driving offences. On 18 April 2008, he was moved to a private area of Wormwood Scrubs prison after learning that fellow inmates were planning to attack him, therefore making it safer for the singer. On 6 May 2008, he was released after his sentence was cut in half and a further 18 days were remitted due to a government plan to reduce overcrowding. He also had another two days off for being in police custody (after serving just over 4 weeks of a 14-week sentence). He described prison life as "a lot of gangsters and Radio 4" and showed a certificate confirming he had passed a drugs test while inside.
Doherty made another attempt to fight his drug addiction in September 2007, when he underwent rehab for six weeks at Clouds House. However, he relapsed in November 2007 following his appearance at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2007 in Munich.
In June 2009, Doherty was arrested in Gloucester and charged with driving dangerously, while drunk, and in possession of heroin. He was released on a £50,000 bail and after 'guilty' pleas were entered, was asked to return to court on 21 December for sentencing. He was spared jail but was ordered to pay £2,050 in fines, and was banned from driving for 18 months, despite the court hearing Doherty had 21 previous drug offences and six motoring offences. Following his release from court, he was escorted by officers to the nearest police station and re-arrested for possession of a controlled substance, later revealed to be heroin. The following day, 22 December, it emerged that Doherty could be charged with offences linked to a hit-and-run incident, which left a pedestrian in a critical condition. His manager, Andrew Boyd, appeared in court charged with a number of offences relating to the incident. While Doherty was in Gloucester court on 21 December, heroin fell out of his coat pocket. He was arrested for possession and was convicted for this offence at the same court on 27 January 2010. He was fined £750 and ordered to pay £85 court costs.
On 11 March 2010, Lowestoft magistrates fined Doherty £500 and banned him from driving for 12 months for allowing his Daimler car to be used uninsured by his manager. On 19 March 2010, he was arrested on suspicion of supplying controlled drugs. He was reported to be on bail until April 2010.
On 18 October 2010, Doherty was summoned to court for cocaine possession. In March 2011 he pleaded guilty to possession, and was granted unconditional bail until sentencing on 20 May. On 20 May, Doherty was sentenced to 6 months in jail for possession of cocaine, following the inquiry into the death of Robin Whitehead.
In January 2015, it was announced that Doherty had successfully completed his rehab treatment. However, in August 2017 it was revealed that he had been found with heroin in his car while travelling through Italy. He was also found to be driving with an invalid licence. Doherty received a fine.
Since moving to Margate in 2017, Doherty has been arrested by Kent police on numerous occasions. In January 2019, he was held for 48 hours and questioned. Charges of drug possession and several driving-related offences were later dropped.
In November 2019 Doherty was arrested in Paris, France, on drugs possession charges.
Family and personal life
Doherty's mother, Jacqueline, is a nurse, who published a book about life with Doherty and his drug problems with the title Pete Doherty: My Prodigal Son. Doherty's father, Peter John Doherty, is a retired major in the British army.
After numerous attempts to persuade him to make a serious attempt at rehabilitation, in early 2005 Doherty's father decided he was tired of broken promises and vowed not to see his son again until he was clean of drugs. The sensitivity surrounding the issue became apparent in the BBC Two Arena documentary about Doherty, on 12 November 2006, which included footage of him talking about this aspect of his personal life. He was visibly upset and had to politely ask the interviewer at one point to stop filming. In October 2007, Doherty explained in an interview with the BBC Radio 4 show Front Row that he had briefly reconciled with his father after three years when his father visited him in rehab, but were estranged again over drugs.
Doherty has had a tumultuous relationship with Kate Moss, frequently covered by the press. They met in January 2005 at Moss' 31st birthday party and had an on-off relationship for several years. Moss had also taken to singing at some of Doherty's shows. On 11 April 2007, Doherty announced Moss as his fiancée during the first of his solo gigs at the Hackney Empire, London, at which Moss also performed. Doherty planned to marry Moss during the summer 2007. Since July 2007, Moss and Doherty have broken up.
In July 2008, Rolling Stone reporter Claire Hoffman asked Amy Winehouse about her relationship with Doherty. Winehouse replied: "We're just good friends", and added: "I asked Pete to do a concept EP, and he made this face, he looked at me like I'd pooed on the floor. He wouldn't do it. We're just really close".
Doherty is a socialist, stating that "I do have utopian fantasies. A lot of them are more - I wouldn't say spiritual, but they relate more to the imagination and the individual. But for me socialism is a way of trying to put far-fetched ideas into everyday use, trying to find a way to bridge the gap between that fantasy and reality, and reaching out across that gap to the people who can actually do something to make the change."
Doherty prefers vintage equipment. Many of his vintage guitars and amplifiers have been destroyed in various domestic incidents.
- Epiphone Coronet – Doherty often used the rare one pick-up model ('New York Coronet' made in 1957) in the early years of the Libertines, as well as in some later gigs. It is affectionately known as 'heavy horse' also Doherty's username in online band related forums. His father held the guitar 'hostage' during 8 years of Doherty's chaos and carnage, allowing it to be used in recent Puta Madres album recording sessions.
- Gibson ES-330 – One of Doherty's first known guitars. Used throughout the early Libertines gigs.
- Epiphone Casino – Used with Babyshambles at recent concerts.
- Rickenbacker 360 – Used a lot in Babyshambles, live and in the studio.
- Gibson ES-335 – Used during the later years of the Libertines.
- Epiphone Olympic – Another rare one pick-up Epiphone. Seen on the cover of the "I Get Along" single (The Libertines).
- Solo albums
|Year||Details||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|2019||Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres||25||-||-||-||36||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
- "Last of the English Roses" (9 March 2009) UK No. 67
- "Broken Love Song" (3 August 2009)
- "Flags of the Old Regime" (9 March 2015)
- "I Don't Love Anyone (But You're Not Just Anyone)" (27 September 2016)
- As featured artist
- "For Lovers" (Wolfman featuring Pete Doherty) (12 April 2004) UK No. 7
- "Their Way" (Littl'ans featuring Pete Doherty) (17 October 2005) UK No. 22
- "Prangin' Out" (The Streets featuring Pete Doherty) (25 September 2006) UK No. 25
- Other appearances
- The Books of Albion: The Collected Writings of Peter Doherty. Orion Books. 2007. ISBN 0-7528-8591-X.
- Doherty, Peter (2014). Antonia, Nina (ed.). From Albion to Shangri-La: Journals and Tour Diaries 2008 - 2013'. London: Thin Man Press. ISBN 978-0-9562473-9-1.
Awards and honours
- 2004: Doherty was voted to be joint No. 1 in NME's 2004 Cool List, along with fellow Libertine Carl Barât. The following year he was placed at No. 6, and on 10 May 2006 was voted No. 2 in their poll depicting 50 of rock's greatest heroes.
- 2008: On 28 February 2008, Doherty won the "Hero of the Year" award at the 2008 Shockwave NME Awards.
- 2009: On 25 February 2009, Doherty won the "Best Solo Artist" award at the 2009 Shockwave NME Awards.
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