Pete Doherty is reportedly calling in investigators because he can’t fathom out what has happened to all his cash. I know. Too many jokes. But, genuinely, is this is just another in a long line of trusting musicians duped by evil accountants? Okay, not likely in this case. A ‘source close to the rocker’ (ie they just made it up) told The Sun that ‘Pete wants to know where the money is, he should be able to afford what he wants.’ Now, I’m sure we all suspect where he spent a large chunk of his disposable, but it does happen. Musicians, especially those precious about their songwriting craft, tend to want to stay away from what they see as the rather grubby money side of the business. After all, they are there to make art, not to make pots of cash (merely a happy by-product.)
Leonard Cohen is out and about touring to try to make up for the fortune he lost to his former manager. Billy Joel famously said his constant touring and re-issue programme was ‘trying to dig (me) out of a thirty million dollar hole’ created by his nefarious management team. The Allen Klein takeover of All Your Favourite 60’s Bands (TM) is a story as well known to music fans as the Nativity is to Christians. Why is this? Why do bands get taken in so easily?
A lot of it is due to history and too much trust. Bands in the 60’s genuinely did just want to make music, and so long as there was enough money for booze, drugs and gaudy Country Houses, they were happy. The first to challenge that, and be honest in their devotion to Mammon, were Led Zeppelin. However, they had a terrific Manager in Peter Grant, a hulking, bullying Brutus whose contempt for promoters was matched only by his devotion to his boys. Many in the 70’s felt employing a trusted friend or contemporary would ensure they’d avoid being ripped off as so many great 60’s acts had done. For some it worked – the Springsteen/Landau marriage in particular. For others, as noted, it didn’t.
Nowadays, it’s all above board. Bands are signed to Managerial companies, huge conglomerates, in much the way sports stars are. It’s probably safer, though one does miss the magic of the band manager as fifth member. The biggest acts are run like ‘The Apprentice’. Nothing is left to chance, everything is business and to be honest, the chances of you having a Top 10 album and no cash in a year are probably as slim as they ever have been.
Which brings us back to Pete. Now, it’s probably fair to assume that he made a few bob from the Libertines and a fortune from the Pete Doherty industry. It’s also probable to assume he’s banged a fair amount of that cash into his bloodstream. In this case, it’s far more likely that his fortune simply isn’t on a par with his fame and he simply doesn’t have as much cash as he thought he had. So expect another big tour and an album recorded and released with indecent haste soon. Either that, or his bandmates should invest in security systems. Just ask Carl Barat.