Pete Doherty: Love Music Hate Racism

by Ross Purdie | 21 October 2004

Virtual Festivals: Hi Pete. Sorry to get you out of bed!
PD: That's alright.

VF: Were you out playing last night?
PD: Kind of. We were rehearsing last night. What's that? (talking to manager) Oh no, we did a Radio 1 session. Yeh, it went really well.

VF: So you're headlining the Love Music Hate Racism gig this weekend at part of the European Social Forum. How did you get involved in that?
PD: It all started with me being involved in Kick Racism Out Of Football but then I got more into the music side of it with The Libertines. It's something that's very important to me. It strips away at my heart and inner workings of what makes me happy and sad. Racism is an abhorrent thing, something that is everywhere, from the playground at school, to inside the home and I'm happy to help out if I can.

VF: Have you witnessed racism first hand?
PD: As long as I can remember. I remember when I was four or five going to school and singing racist songs but not realising what they meant. Things like 'eeni-meeni-mini-mo' and being told off but not knowing what for. No one really explains anything, but it's everywhere.

VF: In the music industry?
PD: It's apparent in every day life, in any place or industry and the music industry is no different, it's like any other. As long as human beings are involved racism will be somewhere.

VF: So what can people like yourself do about it?
PD: Well, a few bands with half arsed ideals can't save the world but if we get together and just see what we can do then at least it's something positive. (pauses) Do you believe me?

VF: Sorry?
PD:
Do you believe me?

VF: Of course I do, why wouldn't I?
PD:
You just sounded like you don't believe me.

VF: Sorry, I'm writing all this down, there might be the odd gap.
PD:
Oh, I thought we were doing some kind of Capital radio show or something.

VF: No, it's all on paper. My shorthand's obviously not fast enough. Moving on, do you think there's more of an apathy within music towards politics these days? 
PD: Yeh, in the past bands seemed to express more.
I think there's definitely a gap in the market for people to announce their views. Definitely. Far be it for me to tell anyone what they should do with their time and how they should behave but I believe racism is inhumane and people should stand up against it.

VF: You've just come back from touring with Babyshambles and now you've got this show to play on Friday. Do you ever get tired of the constant gigging?
PD:
I'm tired now. We don't play that much do we?

VF: Well I'd say compared to other musicians you seem to be out there a lot...
PD: I suppose so, yeh.

VF: Is that when you're at your happiest? In your element?
PD: It's funny you say that because it doesn't make me happy. I don't know what makes me happy. It's just something that's necessary.

VF: And how does playing with Babyshambles compare with playing with The Libertines?
PD: Umm. It's just a bit more 'me' to be honest. Let's call it a day there then mate.

VF: What?
PD: I've got to go.
You've got me sad now thinking about things.

VF: Oh, I'm sorry.
PD:
Bye then.

VF: Pete?

Babyshambles headline a Love Music Hate Racism awareness gig at the Elephant & Castle Coronet this Friday, 15th October. Click here for more details.

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Photographer: Craig Arthur

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