12 Things You Never Knew About…

Dirty Pretty Things

Like all good music-lovers Clash followed the rise and rapid fall of The Libertines with great interest.

In their aftermath came Pete Doherty’s Babyshambles and a catalogue of drug related offences, while his one-time inseparable housemate and sailor on the goodship Albion, Carl Barat, emerged with his Dirty Pretty Things.

DPT achieved sales success and built their own fanbase in 2006 with their only output to date, ‘Waterloo To Anywhere’.

With hopes for a Spring release for their second album looking set to be dashed, Clash decided to seek out some notable dirty, pretty rumours about what Barat and the boys have been up to.

Clash decided to seek out some notable dirty, pretty rumours

1. Whilst recording their as yet untitled second album in Marina Del Rey, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, last year, a studio visit from manager Alan McGee led to a close encounter with a visitor from outer space. McGee, producer Nik Leman and drummer Gary Powell left the studio to head into the Hollywood Hills for food. Emerging from their car McGee heard static on the telecom lines above them before a white object flew over their heads. Gary didn’t see the strange sight, however McGee is adamant it was too fast for humans to have built it. Although DPT are fond of booze, McGee gave up drugs in 1994 before turning his back on alcohol several years ago. The Scot is adamant that the UFO sighting was genuine and bodes well for the album.

2. Producer Nik Leman was a cheap choice for producing the second album after DPT failed to see eye to eye with the more high profile Dave Sardy (Oasis, Jet). Gary was especially critical of not being allowed to drum the way he wanted on their debut. Carl, who had never heard of The Clash until Mick Jones produced The Libertines debut album, says he hasn’t “got” a producer since Jones.

3. Leman has no major producing credits to his name but does boast a military background. A former member of the United States Army Special Forces, who spawned Rambo, Leman is a Green Beret turned producer with only a few credits for remixes with dance remixes for artists such as Client. Anthony believes it was a conscious decision. “We don’t really need someone to come and put their sound or style or imprint into the band. We’ve got enough shit going on to reign in as it is.”

4. The long and convulted end to The Libertines left Carl with a very heavy heart, with the weight of expectation from their burgeoning fanbase pressing heavily on his mind when the time came to call it day. The process left Carl dealing with depression and something of a split personality disorder, which led to the creation of his alter ego, Evil Carl. On first DPT single ‘Bang, Bang, You’re Dead’ he was alleged to be laying his former cohort Pete to rest, however the song actually signalled the death of his alter ego, Evil Carl.

5. Debut album ‘Waterloo To Anywhere’ was recorded with Dave Sardy in Los Angeles and Tony Coogan (Belle And Sebastian, Mogwai) in Glasgow. Initially the band hoped to record and write it on the Faroe Islands, but they headed to Sardy’s studios instead before running out of money half way through and seeking refuge in Glasgow. Whilst recording in Glasgow’s Castle of Doom studios on Woodlands Road, which were built by Mogwai and Doogan, DPT became familiar faces in the city’s west end areas – Byres Road and Ashton Lane – as well as frequenting the iconic Nice ‘n’ Sleazy.

6. When it came to writing the follow-up the band demoed twenty songs, including ‘Hippy Son’, ‘Plastic Hearts’, ‘Come Closer’, ‘The North’, ‘Buzzards & Crows’, ‘Chinese Dogs’, and ‘This Is Where The Truth Begins’ (which is also contender for the album’s title), with twelve set to make the final cut. The record was completed late last year but won’t be released until May at the earliest.

7. Carl and Anthony Rossamondo, who has replaced Doherty as his main writing partner, split time between writing the second album in Alan McGee’s Welsh home and in the rather less salubrious site of cemeteries in and around London. Moppy haired axeman Anthony explains, “We go in the afternoon and hang out, drink a couple of cans and wander around and bump back into each other and go, ‘What have you got? What have you got?’ kind of thing.”

8. Didz wasn’t kicked out of The Cooper Temple Clause, he left of his own accord. Sessions for their third and final album, ‘Make This Your Own’, took place in Bath, leaving new dad Didz to make six-hour round trips from his home in London. Ben Gautrey from TCTC said, “When you’ve got a little baby girl you can’t just say, “OK, I’ll be at the rehearsal room at 10 or 11” because your baby girl comes first and there might be some problem before you can leave. He was getting frustrated not being able to contribute, we were getting frustrated feeling like we were walking on egg shells and waiting for him to come and add his bass parts and it wasn’t a healthy environment to be working in.”

9. Carl Barat is one of the most injury prone musicians in the world ever. So far he has managed to fracture cheek bones, have a tumour removed from his neck and dislocate his shoulder all whilst being under the influence. He is even partially sighted in one eye after he collapsed following a Jamesons session at Alan McGee’s home in Wales and cracked his face off a sink. Fortunately, he has manged to avoid any serious injury over the past twelve months and entered 2008 without any medical hang-ups.

10. Carl’s biggest fear is of wasps. He cannot be in the same room as one.

11. Carl’s favourite new band is Glasvegas. He took them out in a rowing boat in Regents Park, London, when he met them last summer. He has also been listening to a lot of Carole King.

12. DPT entered into the field of acting over the past twelve months. Carl played a young Gene Vincent in Sam Meek biopic Telstar, while Anthony slipped almost unnoticed into the third series of The Mighty Boosh on BBC 3. Anthony played Pete Neon, an elusive celebrity, who exhibits the mannerisms of a timid bird. He is tagged by Vince for his Celebradar in the episode,“Eels”.

All interesting stuff, but do you have any to add?

Use the comments feature below to share your Dirty Pretty Things ‘facts’.

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