At this point, Peter Doherty--as he calls himself these days--is probably better known for drug busts, run-ins with the law, and his on-again-off-again relationship with supermodel Kate Moss than he is for his music. That's too bad, because the British singer/guitarist, who recently celebrated his 30th birthday, has too much talent to simply waste.
After first gaining notice as a member of the Libertines, Doherty resurfaced with Babyshambles. Recently, he released his first solo effort, Grace/Wasteland. Some might find it hard to feel sympathy for Doherty. After all, he was seemingly living the dream--he was a bona fide rock star in his native England, dating a supermodel and living the high-life before he started to piss it all away with a series of ill-advised decisions and a bad drug habit. In an interview last fall with the Mail On Sunday, he told Piers Hernu he suffers from extreme stage fright, which may have contributed to his substance abuse problems.
"I'm always nervous before playing a gig to tell you the truth," he said. "It's what nearly did me in when I was with the Libertines. I just couldn't handle it. Once the gig is kicking off then you know why you go through that weird wall-climbing--terror, basically.
"There's a quote from Liam Gallagher when he was asked to comment on Kurt Cobain's death. He said, 'He was a sad b****** who couldn't handle the fame.' And that's true of some people who are thrust into this world. It does **** your head up.
"And what was supposed to be the perfect life, the dream life--playing music for a living--turns into a living nightmare."
In "Sheepskin Tearaway," another track from Grace/Wastelands, Doherty seemingly references his drug problem with the line: "He was full of scars and full of heroin." Scottish singer Dot Allison guests on vocals.
For much of Grace/Wastelands, Doherty called on some noted colloaborators. Former Blur guitarist Graham Coxon plays on all but one of the album's track and Smiths producer Stephen Street, who has also worked with Babyshambles and on Coxon's solo material, produced the album. While Grace/Wasteland is generally a rather low-key affair, Doherty does show off his diversity, moving from biting acoustic numbers like "New Love Grows On Trees" to the old-time jazz of "Sweet By And By." Take a listen to those tracks below and let me know if you think Peter Doherty deserves another chance.