Arts & Culture

Pete Doherty Is a Crackhead, But Probably Not a Nazi

British Musician Pete Doherty, who is better known for being the ex-boyfriend of supermodel Kate Moss than for his stints in bands Babyshambles and The Libertines, performed the German song "Deutschland, Deutschland Uber Alles" at a recent show in Munich. … Read More

By / November 30, 2009

British Musician Pete Doherty, who is better known for being the ex-boyfriend of supermodel Kate Moss than for his stints in bands Babyshambles and The Libertines, performed the German song "Deutschland, Deutschland Uber Alles" at a recent show in Munich. The song is widely known for having been the Nazi party’s anthem.

Doherty was booed by concertgoers and, according to Reuters, threw a microphone at a moderator (side note: what is a concert moderator? Is that some fancy European way of saying "stage manager"?) when she asked him to get off of the stage. The next day, Doherty’s publicist released a statement reading, "He was unaware of the controversy surrounding the German national anthem and he deeply apologizes if he has caused any offence."

Here’s what I can’t stop thinking about regarding this whole situation: why does anyone hire Pete Doherty to perform anymore? Sure, he has some great records to his credit, but he’s been such a hardcore drug addict (crack, heroin, and ketamine are ones he’s admitted to) for so long now that it’s hard to see why anyone keeps taking him seriously. If Amy Winehouse has had a dozen chances to get her act together because of continued belief in her talent, Pete Doherty has had a thousand. He’s been in and out of both prison and rehab, and it seems like he’s determined to keep using drugs no matter what. Just last week he had to cancel several performances in Ireland when his heart stopped due to "blood poisoning."

Look, I’m not condoning what Pete Doherty did at all. Singing the Nazis’ theme song was vile, but the audience was smart and aware enough to be rightly disgusted by it. But what really bothers me is that he was given any platform at all. I’m sick to death of the notion that drug addicts and alcoholics are better musicians, or that unecessary suffering makes them better at their art. Romanticizing addiction in famous people doesn’t do anything to help the people who struggle with addiction every day and don’t have the money to go to fancy rehab clinics or pay their way of jail. If the audience in Munich – and everyone else who was offended by Doherty’s song choice – really wants to make a stand, they’ll refuse to indulge this man and his habits. It’s harder for an addict to realize they need help when they keep earning money and their behavior is excused by a publicist. So if his dealer won’t cut him off, music fans will have to. And if you’re really such a hardcore Babyshambles fan that you want to hear their music? Buy a CD. I guarantee it’s more coherent than Doherty is now.