We chat to Babyshambles and The Libertines! Featured

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Having been the drummers for two of the biggest indie rock and roll bands in the past decade, Babyshambles and The Libertines, Adam Ficek and Gary Powell chat to us about bandmates, break-ups and Morrissey….

B: How does Leeds compare to other cities you’ve played?

G: Leeds genuinely is awesome! When we came here with the Libs and played Cockpit with Parva [now the Kaiser Chiefs], it was our first induction into Yorkshire, and then we played Leeds festival. Leeds fest was awful, you know the usual story; too much drink, way too much drugs, then the guys had a fight outside, it was just terrible.  

B: The media often focuses on drink and drugs rather than your music, does that annoy you?

A: We get asked that so many times, it was annoying but if the media hadn’t focussed on the rock and roll drugs cliché, we wouldn’t have been so successful. 

G: Unfortunately the personas and everything that came with them took over. It’s part of the rock and roll package. People like the music but they also like the characters behind the music. To retain some kind of anonymity behind everything your music has to be damn good.

A: Morrissey can do that.

G: No he can’t.  He created a character and everybody jumped on board, and then he went into his little cave. I’m not a big Morrissey fan. When I played with the New York Dolls, Morrissey ignored me at soundcheck, and then we had a big meet and greet with everybody. I was stood next to [David] Johansen, it was literally like meeting the queen, so Morrissey stopped at Johansen chatted to him for a bit and then walked away. Morrissey’s a knob, he’s an absolute prick!

B: So is the rock and roll lifestyle not as glamorous as everyone thinks?

A: Kids buy into rock and roll. When you’re on the inside you realise its all bulls**t, you see it for what it is. The media need those icons to sell their magazines. It definitely worked, when ‘Shambles took over, there’s no way Pete would have sold that amount of tickets if he wasn’t with Kate Moss.

G: The problem is a lot of the kids don’t actually realise that this rock and roll lifestyle that they all clamour for is within their grasps already. What the students are doing is no different to what the rock stars are doing

A: It’s all perception. The media embrace it, they embellish it. When you’re starting your own label and you realise how it all works, it’s a shame because you can never go back to that place where you really get excited about, not just the music, but the whole branding, the band, every night on tour, it’s just kind of different. I’ve lost something; that naivety.

G: With both Babyshambles and the Libertines, being so open with the fans, it was our glory and our downfall. Nobody wants to know who Superman was, nobody cares about who he really is, they just want him to be there for them.

B: Still living the rock and roll lifestyle?

G: I’ve calmed down, but I’m still kind of going hard every now and again. When you get the opportunity to let your hair down, why the hell not? Especially when you’re with an audience as cool as Leeds.

B: Do you keep in touch with your ex- bandmates?

A: I’m currently in litigation with mine…

G: You assume that everything we do musically is all life encompassing, but actually it’s not. We do music together, it’s a job that we love doing, but it’s not the be all and end all. The reason we are in contact is because first and foremost we are friends.

B: We’ve heard Pete and Carl are writing together again, is there any plans for a reunion?

G: They fall into love, they fall out of love, it’s an ongoing circle with those guys. Obviously there is always a possibility because they created the Libertines. The initial dream of the Libertines, of Arcadia, of Albion was created by the two of them. It never has reached the plateau that they would actually like, so there is always a reunion on the cards. They literally want the Libertines to be huge, to be bigger than anything. But the question is, is whether they can figure out how to do it.

B: Adam, do you prefer fronting your own band Roses Kings Castles?

A: Yeah I do it all, then drag people along to perform it. I find a group of musicians that I think are able and look alright. I love doing it all but I find it really hard because you go on tour and there’s sometimes just no-one there.  I’m thinking I’m going to release a couple of singles, maybe ill do some shows, but there’s no pressure. I don’t feel I have to go touring anymore, I guess I’m just not hungry enough anymore.

B: Is it more about music or lyrics for you?

A: Whenever I try an organised writing session it sounds rubbish, it just has to come out then it just sounds right. The lyrics aren’t that important to me.

G: Always, no matter what anybody says, it’s always about the music. If the lyrics were great and the music was terrible, you wouldn’t listen to the lyrics. Tinie Tempah and Labrinth have no lyrical flow whatsoever and whatever they’re rapping about, who cares? Most people in this country are listening to Radio One and being brainwashed. We know DJs play s**t music sometimes because they know it goes down well. People don’t really think for themselves, and it’s not their fault; it’s the fault of the industry.

A: Kids ask me all the time what they should do to get into the industry, and I have to say I don’t know. I say do it because you get a buzz out of playing. If you’re doing it to try and be famous, you’re better off learning an Adele song and going on ‘The X-Factor’.

Philippa Barnes

Aspiring journalist for BounceSin, currently stumbling through life in Leeds. Likes reading, dancing and sangria - but not the hangover.

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