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Carl Barât

seen live indie rock singer-songwriter british indie

Carl Ashley Raphael Barât (born June 6, 1978) was co-frontman of punk and indie rock revivalists The Libertines with Peter Doherty. He was also the frontman and lead guitarist in the band Dirty Pretty Things.

Carl Barât was born in Basingstoke, England and grew up in the nearby town of Whitchurch, England. According to a September 2004 interview with Blender Magazine, Barât had mentioned to have a French, Polish, and Russian ethnic background. Other sources have suggested that Barât also has Spanish blood. He divided his youth between his father, who worked in an armaments factory, and his mother, Chrissie, who was part of the commune-dwelling counterculture, such as CND and peace groups. Barât spent part of his childhood living with his mother on a commune in Somerset. He has one sister, Lucie Barat, an actress-turned-singer, who most notably played Helen's handmaiden in the 2004 film Troy and is currently the lead singer of The Fay Wrays. and several half siblings.

In 1996, Barât was studying for a drama degree at Brunel University in Uxbridge. He was somewhat disillusioned by his fellow drama students, however he did meet and get on well with a girl named Amy-Jo, who happened to be Peter Doherty's sister. Through Amy-Jo, Barât met Doherty. Barât initially disliked Doherty but they developed a very intense friendship, the two building a mythical view of an English arcadia, and "The Albion," a ship sailing to Arcadia which is populated in equal degrees by Dickensian gentlemen and cockney wide boys. The Libertines were subsequently formed with bassist John Hassall and drummer Gary Powell, with Barât and Doherty sharing songwriter and singing duties, examples of which can be heard on almost all of their songs.

The Libertines

The Libertines' first album, "Up the Bracket", was released in 2002 to critical acclaim. The band quickly became famous in part due to their volatile stage performances, characterised by intense bouts of mic-sharing, and fighting between Barât and Doherty. This paralleled their relationship, which over time had progressed to verging on dysfunctional and abusive, with Barât and Doherty being equally competitive and possessive towards each other.

In 2003, numerous troubles stemming from Doherty's addiction to both heroin and crack cocaine led to Barât asking Doherty to leave the band. Doherty discovered that the Libertines had left without him to perform in Japan, and he broke into Barât's Mayfair flat, stealing various items including an antique guitar and an NME Award. He was convicted and sentenced to six months in prison. The sentence was later shortened to two months, during which Barât and Doherty had reconciled through correspondence. Barât later warmly welcomed Doherty back to The Libertines on the day of his release and later perform an impromptu gig at the "Tap 'n' Tin" club, Chatham, Kent, dubbed 'The Freedom Gig'. The historic photograph that adorns The Libertines' self-titled second album, "The Libertines" and on the cover of Roger Sargent's (who took the photograph) and Anthony Thornton's book, "The Libertines Bound Together", is of that very night on October 8, 2003.

However, Doherty's drug addiction continued, even while the band carried on working on their second album in 2004. This strained his relationship with Barât both professionally and privately. Bodyguards were needed in the recording sessions, allegedly to prevent Barât and Doherty from physically assaulting each other and to keep Doherty's hangers-on away from him.

Before the release of the second album in 2004, simply entitled "The Libertines", relations between Barât and Doherty reached a breaking point. This resulted in Doherty being expelled from the band once again. Doherty did not take the expulsion well, especially as the Libertines continued touring without him as per contractual obligations. Doherty admitted in a September 2005 interview that he had not spoken to any of his former bandmates since then.

What was intended as a short leave of absence has turned into something more permanent, as Doherty has formed a new band, Babyshambles, whom he describes as "The New Libertines" and Barât calls "Pete's denial band" for their seemingly lax attitude regarding Doherty's drug habits.


Barât himself disbanded The Libertines in December 2004, citing his lack of desire to continue the band without ex-partner Doherty and an "ongoing problem with health." In 2005, Barât underwent surgery to remove a tumour behind his ear and spent several weeks recovering from the operation.

In February of 2005, the Libertines won NME's Best British Band award and Barât paid tribute to Doherty in his acceptance speech. Days later, it was officially announced that Barât had signed to Vertigo Records as a solo artist.

Barât's first work as a solo artist was providing vocals for the European duo Client on their single, "Pornography". Barât set up the London club Dirty Pretty Things in June 2004 where he regularly serves as DJ. In July 2005, he released an album contributing to the Under the Influence series, where musicians select tracks that have influenced them as artists.

Barât's was seen with Doherty on April 18, 2005, where the two publicly reunited at the Boogaloo Bar in Highgate, North London.

On April 17, 2006, Barât said about Pete's drug addiction "It's just sad and I wish he would sort it out. I would really like to work with him again some day. I don't deny that but I've not seen him really."

On 'Friday Night with Jonathan Ross', aired July 7, 2006 Pete Doherty said that he did not have a relationship with Barat anymore, shooting down rumours that the pair speak regularly. Although he too, said that he would like to work with Carl again. On July 18, 2006 Carl and Pete met in the Dublin Castle pub in Camden, London.

Dirty Pretty Things

On September 15, 2005, it was announced that Barât was forming a new band. His fellow bandmates include former Libertines drummer Gary Powell, Anthony Rossomando, who filled in as guitarist following Pete Doherty's departure from the group, and Didz Hammond, formerly of The Cooper Temple Clause, on bass. It was later announced that the band have taken the name "Dirty Pretty Things".

They played their first shows in Italy and Paris, France in October 2005, before recording their debut album in November 2005 in Los Angeles, California. This was produced by Dave Sardy, who has also worked with Supergrass, the Dandy Warhols, Jet, Marilyn Manson, The Rolling Stones, and Oasis. The album - entitled Waterloo to Anywhere - was released on May 8 2006 in the UK and August 8 2006 in the US.

Their first studio recorded demo, "Bang Bang You're Dead", can be heard on the Dirty Pretty Things website in the form of a flash video. Its sound has been likened to that of the early Libertines', mixing punk and reggae influences. This song was released as their debut single on April 24 and reached number 5 in the UK single chart. This coincided with the latter part of their first tour of the United Kingdom, which spanned from the 26th February to the 24th May 2006.

On 1st October 2008 Dirty Pretty Things announced their break up and embarked upon a 'Last Waltz' tour which took in the UK, Ireland and parts of Europe and ended shortly before Christmas 2008.

Carl will be doing some solo shows throughout 2009

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