U.K. rock outfit the Libertines has garnered a respectable fan base across the Atlantic, but the band remains front-page fodder in its homeland, thanks to estranged principal member Pete Doherty's ver

U.K. rock outfit the Libertines has garnered a respectable fan base across the Atlantic, but the band remains front-page fodder in its homeland, thanks to estranged principal member Pete Doherty's very public heroin addiction and recent fling with supermodel Kate Moss.

Doherty was also arrested yesterday (Feb. 2) in London on suspicion of assault and robbery. Despite such attention, the remaining members of the band actually eschew the paparazzi spotlight.

"We kind of ignore what's going on anyway," drummer Gary Powell tells Billboard.com. "At the end of it, it's really just Pete's problem and not really ours."

Whereas Doherty had been playing shows in the United Kingdom with his side project, Babyshambles, the rest of the Libertines are taking time away from the band for a few months before reconvening to hit the summer festival circuit. At those shows, the group hopes to play some new material.

However, guitarist/vocalist Carl Barat has always maintained that there will not be another album under the Libertines name without Doherty's participation. By the same token, a management spokesperson does not rule out the potential for the remaining members continuing to record and tour under a different name.

"There is plenty of stuff happening -- it's just the matter of formatting it into how we want it to be portrayed," Powell says. "And is the idiom of performance going to be the same as it was before? There is so much to figure out. Just go out and do it, that's kind of been our motto: have instruments, will play. But now that we have time to attempt to be a little bit professional, we're going to try and do it. I think we've reached that kind of status quo of professionalism."

The Libertines' 2004's self-titled effort debuted at No. 1 on the U.K. album chart and No. 4 on Billboard's Heatseekers tally.

What remains to be seen is whether Doherty will ever return to the Libertines. Contrary to popular opinion, the singer/guitarist hasn't been kicked out of the band he co-founded with Barat. However, his return is by no means guaranteed, leaving the status of replacement member Anthony Rossomando uncertain.

"I really haven't thought about it, to be honest," says Powell. "We've done two summers of tours without [Doherty]. And, I might add, the performances were kind of OK. But it's still [up to] Pete as well, and that's where that 'but' kind of fits in for me."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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