Before the Libertines put out their much-anticipated comeback album later this year, Carl Barat and his new band, the Jackals, will release their debut record, ‘Let It Reign,’ on Feb. 16. When forming the band, Barat held auditions that drew in 1,000 submissions. But does Barat consider himself the next Simon Cowell? Not at all.

“The thing about Cowell is that he doesn’t mind being a bastard,” the Libertines guitarist said in an interview with the Guardian. "I hate saying no to anyone. I had to do that effectively … 997 times. That was really tough.”

Rather than putting out another solo album – Barat released his self-titled debut back in 2010 – he wanted to surround himself with musicians who were equally enthusiastic about the music as he was.

“Just the thought of apologetically plopping another solo album on the production line, like: ‘Hey guys, if anyone’s interested I’m doing another solo album – I know nobody liked the last one ...,'" he said. "I also wanted a gang, people who felt as much of an investment in it as I did.”

When discussing why he felt his lone solo record wasn’t well received, Barat cited the album cover.

“It was me taking a photo of my beloved, pregnant with my child … but I think it looks a bit narcissistic," he explained. "I think that cover was the reason why that fellow from the Black Keys kept having a pop at me.” (In a 2011 interview with the Guardian, the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach said, “There’s nobody Pat [Carney] wants to punch in the face more than Carl Barat, you know.”)

As Barat and his Libertines bandmates prepare to make their triumphant return following Pete Doherty’s rehab stint in Thailand, he says, “It’s baby steps.”

When asked if he felt hypocritical criticizing Doherty’s drug addiction while partaking in the lifestyle himself, Barat admitted, “I embraced it as much as Peter did, no doubt about it.”

“But I had a rule that said you can’t do heroin and crack, because they seemed to be in a different area,” he added. “But hopefully that’s all behind us.”