Dirty Pretty Things were an English band fronted by Carl Barat, currently a member of The Libertines and a solo artist. The formation of the band was announced in September 2005, after a dispute between Barât and Peter Doherty led to the breakup of The Libertines in 2004. Barât had worked with Vertigo Records and had previously revealed that his new project was with the label. Didz Hammond announced he was leaving The Cooper Temple Clause to join the band alongside ex-Libertines drummer Gary Powell and guitarist Anthony Rossomando, who had filled in for Doherty following his departure from The Libertines. Dirty Pretty Things played their first shows in October 2005 in Italy and Paris, France.
Initially, the band's name caused problems. A four-piece band from Salisbury had been playing as "Dirty Pretty Things" since early January 2005, claiming to have already trademarked the name in the UK; the two groups came to an agreement over the name, and the other band was renamed Mitchell Devastation. An Australian band had also been playing under "Dirty Pretty Things" since 2003, although it opted to change it. The name "Dirty Pretty Things" was shared by Barât's club nights in venues throughout London; they assumed the name "Bright Young Things" to avoid confusion. The Bearded Clam Lovers Experience is falsely claimed to have been Dirty Pretty Things' first choice of band name when they formed, abandoned in a conflict with a fictional band of the same name. A fact invented by a teasing fan, it was added to Dirty Pretty Things' Wikipedia page and subsequently published online by the NME to accompany the 10th photo of their "The Life and Times of Carl Barat" picture series on October 2, 2008.
Formation and first album
Dirty Pretty Things began recording their first album, Waterloo to Anywhere, in Los Angeles, California with high-profile producer Dave Sardy, and in Glasgow, Scotland with producer Tony Doogan. You Fucking Love it, a track from the band's debut album, was made available on a free CD with the April 1, 2006 issue of NME entitled "NME and MTV2 present Best New Bands Showcase 2006".
The band's debut album was released on May 8, 2006, reaching number three in the charts and receiving critical acclaim. The first single (and first official band release) from the album, "Bang Bang You're Dead", was released on April 24, 2006 and reached number five in the singles chart in its first week of sales. The second single, "Deadwood", was released on July 10, 2006 and reached number 20 in the singles chart. The album's third single, "Wondering", was released on September 25, 2006 and reached number 34.
The band toured extensively in the UK during the first half of 2006. They played their first American show at the SXSW festival in Texas. During the summer of 2006, the group played at several UK festivals, including the Gonville & Caius College May Ball 2006, Isle of Wight Festival, Wireless Festival, T in the Park, and the Irish festival, Oxegen. The band played with the Red Hot Chili Peppers at their stadium gigs in Ipswich and Coventry in July 2006. The band were supported on their debut tour of the UK by Dublin band Humanzi and Leeds-based band Louie.
Whilst playing a festival in Taipei, Barât broke his collarbone after falling from a motorbike during a drinking session, leading to speculation that Dirty Pretty Things would have to cancel upcoming dates. However, the band recruited Josh Hubbard, from Hull band The Paddingtons, to play guitar while Barât's injury healed. Dirty Pretty Things with Barât, sans guitar and with his arm in a sling, played a short tour of North America in August 2006, followed by a show at Edinburgh's Corn Exchange on August 28 as well as Reading and Leeds Festivals and various European festival dates.
On 16 October 2006, the band released a DVD, Puffing On a Coffin Nail, which featured more than two-and-a-half hours of concert footage and documentaries. On 25 October 2006, Barât appeared as a special guest at Paul Weller's set during the Electric Proms, duetting on "Peacock Suit" and "In the City".
2007-2008 and second album "Romance At Short Notice"
The band supported Muse at their June 16, 2007 Wembley Stadium show and supported the Red Hot Chili Peppers on June 24, at Goffertpark Nijmegen in The Netherlands and at the Stade Du France in Paris. They also played at Glastonbury festival, where they previewed several of their new songs. On July 22, the band supported Pet Shop Boys at the Eden Project in Cornwall, playing a slew of new songs including "Come Closer". "Radio Song" (co-written by Carl and Chris McCormack) was released as part of the OST for "Run Fat Boy, Run", on September 7, 2007 for download, and on September 10, 2007 on CD. In October the band appeared on the Love Music Hate Racism CD, which was released on the cover of NME. "9 Lives" was Dirty Pretty Things' contribution to the free album and was in a finished studio form.
The band planned to record the album in summer of 2007, to have it ready for a tentative September 2007 release, however problems with production led to the release date being pushed back . The prolonged recording sessions led to the cancellation of a support slot with The Pogues at Nottingham Arena on December 14th.
On 2 May, 2008 the band had completed 12 tracks for their second album and later revealed the title to be "Romance At Short Notice". The name is a reference to the final line in Saki's short story "The Open Window." Previously, the titles "This Is Where The Truth Begins" and "Spanked by the Yanks!" had been circulated.
On 12 May, 2008, the song "Hippy's Son" was made available for free download from the band's official website and on June 22nd, the band made all of the album available for free streaming on NME.com. Romance at Short Notice was released on June 30th, 2008, with the single "Tired of England" released a week earlier on June 23rd. Both album and single failed to reach high chart positions; the album entered the UK albums chart at number 35 and left after only two weeks, the single peaked at 54.
On July 11, the band appeared on XFM's Live From Leicester Square programme, playing "Plastic Hearts", "Bang Bang You're Dead" and a cover of Glasvegas' "It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry".
In September 2008, members of The Charlatans, Dirty Pretty Things, and Adam and the Ants collaborated for a cover of "Ant Music" on T4 Transmission.
On October 1, 2008, it was announced to the NME that the band would split after a final UK and European tour. In a statement, the band said it was time for them "to try new things" but added that these would not involve The Libertines.
In mid-November 2008, it was announced that Carl would be playing four solo acoustic slots as opener for Glasgow band Glasvegas on their North American tour in early January 2009.
The band played their final show on 20th December 2008 at the Astoria 2 in London.