Pete Doherty reflects on his new “sobre-er” era: “I’m less temperamental”

Pete Doherty reflects on his new “sobre-er” era: “I’m less temperamental”

Since kicking heroin in 2019, indie rock’s likeliest lad has led a gradually more sustainable lifestyle. Now, you’re more likely to find Pete Doherty taking the dog for a stroll around Normandy’s lush countryside than falling out of a Camden boozer at 4am.

Still, we’ll always have the memories. And many of those (now quite foggy) memories can be found in new documentary Peter Doherty: Stranger In My Own Skin. Directed by Pete’s wife, Katia deVidas, the film takes a lifetime’s worth of home videos (some shot by deVidas since their first meeting in 2008) and packages them up into 90 minutes of chaotic gigs and backstage parties, as well as much grimmer moments spent in seedy bedsits when the full weight of drug addiction comes crashing down upon Doherty’s shoulders.

It’s a portrait of a wayward musical genius, then, told through the lens of one who loves him best. We went for a drink with them (just one, promise) to find out how it got made.

Hey guys, how long have you been working on this documentary for?

Katia deVidas: “Quite a while, when I started it was not meant to be a long film… and then the more we got to know each other, the more beautiful moments I could capture and then we had the movie…”

Was there ever any conflict over what went into the film?

Pete Doherty: “Not really. Basically, we’d sit down and I’d suggest what I thought could go in… but I wasn’t really part of the editing process… Two or three years ago, there was a three-hour edit. And now all my favourite bits are gone.”

KDV: “This is not a pop star vanity project. [It’s not part of the] trend of publicity documentaries that come on Netflix.”

There are some intense scenes in there of Pete doing drugs, was there anything you decided was too much to show?

KDV: “I don’t think so… What could be more shocking than that for the viewers? It’s a necessary part of the film… It was part of Peter’s life everyday back then.”

Pete Doherty in new documentary ‘Stranger In My Own Skin’. CREDIT: Piece Of Magic Entertainment

Pete, is the sobriety still going well?

PD: “Well yeah, I’m cleaner, sober-er. I’m off crack and heroin and on the path.”

In the film we see you given an opiate blocker to help kick heroin – did it work?

PD: “It did work, but the blocker was in an experimental stage. The [doctor] who was giving me them ended up getting struck off – it was that experimental… Now, instead of having to put this thing under your skin they can just give you a shot. So the technology’s really advanced.”

Do you feel as if you’ve escaped that part of your life now?

PD: “Yeah luckily. It just wasn’t sustainable. There comes a point when the body just can’t keep up with that level of abuse. There’s lots of debate about the other effects of the drug but the physical effects alone are just not sustainable really. It becomes a Russian roulette.”

Has being clean helped with performing?

PD: “Probably yeah.”

KDV: “Many people say the voice is better now.”

PD: “I never had a particularly strong singing voice anyway. It’s always been about the lyrics and the melody. I just turn up on time now. I don’t cancel any shows… If things are difficult I tend to just carry on now rather than just walk off stage. I’m less temperamental.”

Pete Doherty on-stage during new documentary ‘Stranger In My Own Skin’. CREDIT: Piece Of Magic Entertainment

When he quit drugs, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards said people started to treat him differently…

PD:The Rolling Stones are really lucky that they’ve got a great relationship. They obviously just love playing. They were born to play rock and roll music, you know? I think if they hadn’t cracked it as a successful band, they’d still be playing in a pub in Richmond together.”

Do you think you and Carl Barat will still be playing with The Libertines when you’re 80, like the Stones?

PD: “I think so, we get a lot of pleasure from it. We subscribe to the old troubadour mythology, just telling stories and singing songs.”

‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ might have a different meaning then…

PD: “The meaning of the song won’t change. it’ll still be the perfect break-up song.”

Wolfman, Pete’s friend, gets a cameo in the doc – what’s he up to now?

KDV: “He’s in rehab in Bali!”

PD: “It’s a bi-annual event… I think he might be addicted to rehab. He gets the chance to put his feet up. He gets out of Maidstone for three months.”

KDV: “He sent me a beautiful message. He really wants it to be his last rehab. He is really dedicated to it because he doesn’t want to be a grumpy sad old man. So fingers crossed.”

And are you two working on anything else together?

KDV: “We’re working on a script together…”

PD: “We’ll tell you a little bit… Can we tell him a little bit?”

KDV: “We’ll tell you it’s a tragicomedy. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry, just like in this documentary.”

What was it like to live it, Pete – mostly laughing or mostly crying?

PD: “I can’t remember! I loved and hated every second of it in equal measure.”

‘Peter Doherty: Stranger In My Own Skin’ is in cinemas now

The post Pete Doherty reflects on his new “sobre-er” era: “I’m less temperamental” appeared first on NME.

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