The Libertines' Pete Doherty and Carl Barât almost joined the army

5 April 2024, 18:00 | Updated: 11 April 2024, 15:04

The Libertines on nearly joining the Army!

By Jenny Mensah

The Libertines rockers revealed on Johnny Vaughan's 4 Til 7 Thang that they almost joined the territorial army.

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Pete Doherty and Carl Barât nearly joined the Territorial Army.

The Libertines rockers stopped by Radio X to discuss everything their new album, All Quiet On The Eastern Esplanade, which was released this Friday (5th April), and opened up about their decision to start a band.

Speaking on Johnny Vaughan's 4 Til 7 Thang, the Run, Run, Run rockers revealed that their careers could have gone very differently if they'd followed in the footsteps of Pete's dad and joined the army.

The rocker explained: "My dad was in the army, [...] my sister is in the army and so is my brother in law and up until the ages of 11, 12 that was sort of what I was expected [to do] and that's what I knew, but it occurred to me as I started to get a little bit older that going around the world in a uniform with a gun - I think it was when I first saw a picture of The Beatles that I thought - 'I'd rather go round the world with a guitar in my hand rather than a gun and in that uniform".

"It didn't stop us joining the army at one point" interjected Carl. "We tried to join Holloway TA bomb disposal squad. We thought that because his dad was already in the gang that we might get a few perks and we thought that it might be a bit like going away every fourth weekend with a bunch of dentists and what not doing assault courses and having a rollicking good time".

Despite their somewhat naive enthusiasm, Pete revealed that things may have been very different if they were prepared to lose their youthful locks.

Pete added: "Listen, we did try. They would have had us, but they insisted we cut our hair, didn't they? And [Carl] had this amazing ponytail at the time, which we don't talk about now..."

The Libertines' Pete Doherty and Carl Barât with image of the rockers with Johnny Vaughan inset
The Libertines' Pete Doherty and Carl Barât with image of the rockers with Johnny Vaughan inset. Picture: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images, Radio X

The title of the band's fourth album is inspired by Erich Maria Remarque’s 1928 anti-war novel All Quiet on the Western Front - and asked if they feel like music is a war, Pete replied: "There was an element of that years ago. We really thought that we were willing to die for something and we didn't know what.

"And these visions we had of the 'Glory of Empire' faded into this different idea we the world and our history, so we were quite confused."

"There are more elements to the theme," added Carl. "There are the red jackets thing we used to have."

Pete added: "There's a theme that runs through a lot of the songs."

All Quiet On The Eastern Esplanade is out now.

Stream the album, which includes the previously released singles Run, Run, Run, Night Of The Hunter, Shiver and Oh S***, below:

See the tracklisting for All Quiet On The Eastern Esplanade below:

  1. Run, Run, Run
  2. Mustang
  3. Have A Friend
  4. Merry Old England
  5. Man With The Melody
  6. Oh Shit
  7. Night Of The Hunter
  8. Baron’s Claw
  9. Shiver
  10. Be Young
  11. Songs They Never Play On The Radio

Meanwhile, The Libertines are set for a UK and Ireland tour this autumn, which will be preceded by summer shows and a headline date at On The Beach Brighton 2024.

As previously announced by Radio X, the Don't Look Back Into The Sun rockers will play Brighton seafront on Sunday, July 28th joined The Charlatans, The Mary Wallopers, The Big Moon, The Futureheads, Chappaqua Wrestling and more.

The full line-up of additional artists for the Libertines show is to be announced soon.

The Libertines to headline On The Beach Brighton 2024

"There's something about the sea," Doherty told Radio X when asked about playing on Brighton beach for the first time. "There's a calling to it. We're an island nation, aren't we?"

Turning to his Libertines colleague, Pete recalled: "Do you remember the times in Camden, at the end of the night, it'd be two or three in the morning, when we were like 18, 19, and I had my little van? One time we drove down to Brighton."

Barât replied: "There's always that sort of innate attraction to those bodies of water."

The show is part of two weekends of gigs that will take place on a special stage on the world-famous beach, with The Kooks previously confirmed to play on Sunday 21st July.

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Pete Doherty and Carl Barat performing live with The Libertines in December 2003

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