Record label drops Doherty for being 'too difficult to deal with'

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The Independent Culture

In terms of column inches, he is one of the biggest stars in the UK. But now Pete Doherty, the troubled musician better known for sex and drugs than rock and roll, has been dropped by his record label.

Rough Trade, which propelled acts such as the Smiths and the Strokes to success, said Doherty's band Babyshambles no longer has a contract with them.

His once-promising career has been overshadowed by arrests, drug abuse and his fling with the supermodel Kate Moss. His unpredictable behaviour has meant many in the industry despair of dealing with him.

A spokesman for Rough Trade said: "He doesn't have a contract with us. We are obviously very fond of him, but at the moment we are not working with him."

An insider said: "Rough Trade were in the process of renegotiating a deal, but the talks broke down because it just proved to be so difficult to deal with Pete and the people he surrounds himself with."

Doherty, 27, has been with the label all his recording career, releasing two albums with his previous band the Libertines, which disintegrated as his drug problems took their toll. The label kept him on when he formed his new band and stuck with him during his court appearances over the past 18 months for alleged assault and drug possession. This month, the music paper NME, which has long championed Doherty, castigated its readers for voting him the second-greatest rock idol in history (behind Nirvana star Kurt Cobain), saying he was "just a worn-out drug addict".

Conor McNicholas, the editor, doubted many labels would be willing to take a chance with him in his present state. "Not that he won't create great music again, but the amount of hassle that goes with it is just not worth it, which is very sad," he said.

"It's more likely that he will record on an ad hoc basis, using money from friends, release over the internet free and make his money from touring, because Babyshambles are still a big live draw." Their album, Down in Albion, has sold 110,000 copies since release in November.

"For a little while things were too dark to even begin to get my head around," Doherty told June's The Word magazine. "Spending all my time dropping my trousers to the police. Sat in cells. What I want is a little bit of self-control. But plans are the last thing you want."