“With this band, every gig is like a battle. It feels like we’re going to war a little bit. Whereas with the Libertines, we go to war with each other,” Carl Barat tells Yahoo Music with a chuckle.
The band Barat is speaking about is his new project the Jackals, whose debut album Let It Reign is already shaping up to be one of the top indie-rock records of 2015. But Barat will probably always be most famous, or infamous, for founding unpredictable and legendary garage rock outfit the Libertines, who recently, triumphantly reunited. “It’d just like we picked up where we left off, really — but without fights, prison episodes, and hospitalizations,” Barat explains.
The Libertines’ Pete Doherty, Barat’s literal partner in crime, has always gotten most of the press attention, due to his exploits and antics that have led to multiple stints in rehab and jail. (Doherty even once served two months for burglarizing Barat’s apartment.) But Barat doesn’t seem to mind his relative lack of notoriety. “That doesn’t bother me. I guess with my ego when I was younger, I was a bit like, ‘Bring it.’ I’m not set on that anymore… I’d rather be known for what I do than just known. If anyone is going to bother me in the middle of street, it’s because they like the record or something.”
As for whether Barat resents Doherty for causing so much trouble — and possibly causing the Libertines’ career to stall, especially when it came to breaking America — he says with a shrug, “It’s been tumultuous, and some things have hurt. But you know, that’s just part of it, really. I mean, no triumph without pain, right?”
The Libertines are currently working on a comeback album, which Barat said should be out by “the end of the year, probably,” and Barat says relations with Doherty are amicable at the moment. “I think we’re friends,” he answers. “It’s funny, because I revert to the time five or six years ago when all our messages to each other were passed through the press, in interviews like this. But no, we get along great. It’s really sort of refreshing. Pete is a dear friend; he’s my brother. I’m really happy to see things working out again. We sat and wrote a song together on the typewriters with the humidity under the palm trees. It felt fresh and new. It’s nice to know you still got those songs. You still have so much to write, so that’s good.”
The Libertines will be headlining Britain’s massive Glastonbury music festival this summer, but Barat is finding time to focus on his new band as well, playing smaller festival shows with the Jackals at last month’s South By Southwest in Austin and at June’s Northside Festival in Denmark. “I’m going to do my best,” Barat promises, when asked if he plans to keep both bands going at full speed. He even jokes with Yahoo Music that maybe one day, he and Doherty could hold their own festival that would include the Libertines, the Jackals, Barat and Doherty’s respective post-Libs bands Dirty Pretty Things and Babyshambles, and Libertines bassist John Hassall’s side band Yeti. “We might start a new band without Carl, actually,” says Jackals guitarist Billy Tessio, referring to his Jackals bandmates Adam Claxton (bass), and Jay Bone (drums).
Tessio may be may be joking, but in all seriousness, 2015 looks to be a busy time for the Jackals. Check out the band’s performances, shot at SXSW at Yahoo’s Brazos Hall, right here.