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'Shane's still alive?"
March 10, 2006 3:56 AM   Subscribe

'Shane's still alive?" That MacGowan is still standing, albeit not for long periods and not without help, is part of the reason the public is still fascinated with the group, which has reconvened for a brief US tour -- the Pogues' first stateside shows since 1989. (BugMeNot)
posted by PenguinBukkake (54 comments total)

 
You know how an old band can tarnish their legacy by getting together after many years and being old people acting like the vibrant band that you used to love? Well, this is worse because the singer's basically dead.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:14 AM on March 10, 2006


Why oh why oh why. The Pogues are legendary - Best band out of Ireland, ever... well apart from the Corrs ;-)

BUT

Shane is a mumbling, stumbling alcoholic who really can't sing at all anymore... though fairplay to the man for hanging in there. Don't waste your money unless it's just to see the legend of Shane make an absolute twat of himself.
posted by twistedonion at 4:24 AM on March 10, 2006


I had the opportunity to see the Pogues twice. Once, during a festival, he had to be escorted from the stage by a band member because the band couldn't stand it any longer. I can't recall if he actually sang a single note. A friend who took me to see them was a die hard fan. He had tears in his eyes seeing what the guy did to himself.

A year later, I saw them in small venue and while he wasn't entirely sober (to use an understatement), they managed to do play a reasonable gig. Soon after, they split. I do not need to see them this time, as the CDs with beautiful songs are enough for me.

To quote the song "The One" by Luka Bloom (written for Shane):

I think of the young ones who make their way home
Through the night after one of your shows
Their lives a little richer
For having been touched by you
They dance and they sweat and they call out your name
The excitement just belts out and flows
You've been singing your guts out
Is that not enough to do?

posted by swordfishtrombones at 4:30 AM on March 10, 2006


I caught If I should fall from Grace a year or so ago on Sundance. It was a fancinating movie and good for any Pogues fan, but man was it depressing.

I also made a dentist appointment the next day.
posted by beowulf573 at 5:01 AM on March 10, 2006


Shane is a mumbling, stumbling alcoholic who really can't sing at all anymore... it's just to see the legend of Shane make an absolute twat of himself.

twistedoninon please, how do you think MacGowan got to be a "legend?"
posted by three blind mice at 5:08 AM on March 10, 2006


There are some pics of MacGowan with this article; man, does he look rough (and that was 4 years ago).
posted by TedW at 5:11 AM on March 10, 2006


Is his drink of choice still pints of creme de menthe? I always took that tipple as a sign that he had slipped past being an alcoholic into some new state where sugar was the only thing keeping him alive...
posted by jack_mo at 5:20 AM on March 10, 2006


I saw him in concert in London in December 2000. Shows in the UK are a little different than in the US or Canada, in the sense that they sell you actual cans of beer (up to 4/person/time), which people seemed to delight in tossing directly at Shane throughout the concert. Shane himself either wouldn't or couldn't actually dodge them. Ah, the memories.
posted by clevershark at 5:23 AM on March 10, 2006


There are a bunch of pics of Shane from June 2005 at Getty Images. It's not a pretty sight.



Love the old CD's, but Shane is a total mess. I guess he needs the money.
posted by bim at 5:31 AM on March 10, 2006


So... he fell from grace of God I take it?
posted by hal9k at 5:34 AM on March 10, 2006


twistedoninon please, how do you think MacGowan got to be a "legend?"

well not by his stage persona these days anyway 3bm, what singing voice he did have (great fucking singer) is now long gone.
posted by twistedonion at 5:36 AM on March 10, 2006


So... he fell from grace of God I take it?

Yes...but at least he didn't spill his drink. :)
posted by bim at 5:38 AM on March 10, 2006


There was a documentary on BBC4 a couple of weeks ago (as part of the Folk Brittania series) purely about Shane and his song writing. It was good, so see it if it's repeated.
Shane seems like an utter mess, but if you actually listen to what he's saying he's as eloquent as ever.
posted by Summer at 5:39 AM on March 10, 2006



There are a bunch of pics of Shane from June 2005 at Getty Images. It's not a pretty sight.


My God, he's looking a lot like an even uglier Blixa Bargeld
posted by twistedonion at 5:42 AM on March 10, 2006


He's often to be seen at the Boogaloo Bar on the Archway Road and doesn't look too bad in the flesh actually. Doesn't seem to move much though.
posted by Dan Brilliant at 5:50 AM on March 10, 2006


Actually my first reaction to the Getty photos was, " My God! It's Kid Rocks daddy!"
posted by Yer-Ol-Pal at 6:16 AM on March 10, 2006


I saw the Pogues in December and it was an utterly magical experience, Shane wasn't half as paralytic as I expected and the band stunning.
Shane's 'singing voice' was never the point about going to a Pogues gig, the poetry, the tunes and the shambling glory are still there.
They're not a pretty sight though, i'll give you that.
posted by brilliantmistake at 6:38 AM on March 10, 2006


Time is cruel.... look at nick Cave shooting the breeze with Mr. McGowan. /shudder



twistedonion: My God, he's looking a lot like an even uglier Blixa Bargeld

The Arch-Mullah of Neubautenstan will be issuing a fatwah on you later today.
posted by illovich at 6:57 AM on March 10, 2006


I agree with Summer, he still is pretty eloquent if you can make out what he's saying. I saw him in Galway in 2000 and it was a great show. Yes he was definitely drunk, but he made it through all of the songs and sounded like the Shane I'd been listening to since I was 12.
I'm so sad these Boston shows sold out before I could get a ticket.
posted by jdl at 7:04 AM on March 10, 2006


I'm so sad these Boston shows sold out before I could get a ticket.

You can give him money, but he's just going to spend it on booze.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:07 AM on March 10, 2006


I saw him in Galway in 2000 and it was a great show.

Lucky you - remember seeing him once with the Popes a few years ago, probably around the same time... absolutely terrible... incoherent, mumbling, and the popes were shite.
posted by twistedonion at 7:12 AM on March 10, 2006


I saw the Pogues with Shane on the Fall from Grace tour in the year of our lord 1989 or something. Still the greatest show I've ever been to. Later Pogues and Popes shows paled by comparison.

Shane really deteriorated after parting ways with the Pogues, though The Snake was impossibly good given his condition. From all accounts, he's improved in the last couople of years, and is getting more coherent. I'm waiting for them to announce a show in San Francisco, and I'll be first in line.

There are some great Pogues clips on Youtube, including a Red Roses-era clip replete with Spider and his bar tray. And I still say that the first three Pogues albums are some of the best music ever laid down, and will stand whatever test of latter-years touring.
posted by Kafkaesque at 7:47 AM on March 10, 2006


I guess every Pogue's fan knows the story behind the name, but for those who do not, it comes from Pogue Mahone which means "Kiss my Ass" in Irish.

The BBC refused to say it, so the boys wisely shortened it.
posted by three blind mice at 7:58 AM on March 10, 2006


.
posted by stet at 8:19 AM on March 10, 2006


Pop dandy Dickon Edwards (of Fosca) has somehow become a friend/assistant to Mr MacGowan, and writes about their adventures in his diary. Read about their trip to Tangier (and see the photos!) in the August 19 - December 19 posts on this page. Quite the odd couple.
posted by mr.marx at 8:21 AM on March 10, 2006


Saw Shane MacGowan at the 9:30 club in DC about four or five years ago -- it actually was reasonable gig. Even though his band played intrumentals on two different occaisons because he had to leave the stage between songs. From the balcony I could see him standing just off the side of the stage -- he was just drinking even more. Straight out of the bottle. Crazy.

They also had a premiere of the aforementioned If I Should Fall From Grace not too long after that concert at a now defunct art theater here in D.C. My GF and I went to go see it, and as part of the premiere event they were giving away free Guiness at the theater. After about 15 minutes of watching Shane MacGowan's alcohol ravaged visage on a ten foot screen, I pretty sure that no one finished their drink. Truly, truly tragic.
posted by Heminator at 8:39 AM on March 10, 2006


And I still say that the first three Pogues albums are some of the best music ever laid down, and will stand whatever test of latter-years touring.

absolutely - they were so 'punk' back then! shane was such an incredible songwriter and lyricist and this seems to get lost beneath his drunken maniacal veneer. i fucking love this band so much. thanks PenguinBukkake!
posted by visit beautiful mount weather! at 9:00 AM on March 10, 2006


I saw the same show at the 9:30, thinking that it would probably be the only time I'd ever see this guy in the flesh, and was surprised at how good of a show it was. Every weird little gesture he made was fascinating. And there was a guy who waited just offstage who lit cigarettes and ran them up to Shane at the mic. Also the enthusiasm of the audience probably had something to do with the success of the show. You could barely hear the band over the audience singing along to "Dirty Old Town."
posted by melvix at 9:01 AM on March 10, 2006


"Fairytale of New York" is still my favourite Christmas carol of all time.
posted by mzanatta at 9:34 AM on March 10, 2006


"Fairytale of New York" is still my favourite Christmas carol of all time.

Mine too.

BTW anybody else notice it was real cold this morning. Like enough for hell to freeze over?
posted by tkchrist at 9:54 AM on March 10, 2006


I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. MacGowan when a group of musicians that I was playing with opened for the Pouges. It was the tour that they had Joe Strummer with them playing guitar. It is indeed surprising that he is still alive.

They were a mess. I've never seen such bad behavior from professional musicians in my entire life. The show was delayed because the techs could not get their instruments in tune--the noise in their dressing room was just too much. They probably had at least 30 guests crammed into the tiny room. So we were kicked out of our dressing room so their techs could use it.

Shane was absolutely charming, but he could also be quite belligerent.

Later on, audience still waiting, they demanded another case of tequila or no show. Normally a band at a venue like this would get all they could drink, but I think the management was a bit worried and had tried to cut them off.

When they finally went on stage, they were drunker than I have ever seen any human beings. They played brilliantly. It was an incredible show and probably one of the best nights of my life.
posted by free pie at 9:59 AM on March 10, 2006


I gots tickets. If it sucks it sucks, I still get to see the pogues, if it's good, then hurray. It's a win-win.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:33 AM on March 10, 2006


Shane's going to be DJing this St. Patrick's Day at Southpaw in Brooklyn, FYI. I can't imagine him having the coordination to actually put needle to record, but hey? Why not...
posted by huskerdont at 10:42 AM on March 10, 2006


I always new Shane was still alive at the end, even though he was slumped over in his saddle like that.
posted by luriete at 10:50 AM on March 10, 2006


I saw the Pogues during the summer of 1990 with the Violent Femmes and Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper somewhere near Boston. Generally speaking, they were excellent, though I seem to recall Shane having a bit of a lie down on stage in the middle of the set.

Yeah, I'd see them again. In a heartbeat.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:57 AM on March 10, 2006


Is his drink of choice still pints of creme de menthe

I used to serve him every so often at a quiet hotel bar in Dublin he'd probably be embarassed to be associated with, and he always drank pints of Kilkenny and straight Martini white vermouth over ice . . . . he always tipped me fairly well.
posted by jamesonandwater at 11:06 AM on March 10, 2006


it comes from Pogue Mahone which means "Kiss my Ass" in Irish.

Not to be pedantic, but "Pog mo thoin" is how it's spelled. I've never understood how it got mangled to the anglicized version.
posted by jamesonandwater at 11:09 AM on March 10, 2006


I saw them on that tour in NY, Joey Michaels! I think it was the best concert I ever saw. At least in NY, Shane was in great form, no lie downs; although, of course, I was somewhat overmedicated myself, and the glory is all a bit blurry now. But what a combination Mojo Nixon & Shane MacGowan made.
posted by mygothlaundry at 11:23 AM on March 10, 2006


Saw them in 89 at Tipitinas in New Orleans. Fantastic show, Shane was drunk enough to forget some lyrics but the band kept him propt up. Somewhat interestingly there were these two full-on heavy metal chicks front and center dancing their asses off and looking very much out of their demographic... so much so that wives and girlfriends of the band kept sneaking out from backstage to take photographs of the two floppy chested, head banging ladies than Shane was sharing a bottle of wine with.
posted by hatchetjack at 11:24 AM on March 10, 2006


Shane is a mumbling, stumbling alcoholic who really can't sing at all anymore... though fairplay to the man for hanging in there. Don't waste your money unless it's just to see the legend of Shane make an absolute twat of himself.

That was my thinking, oh, about 16 years ago.
posted by mazola at 11:24 AM on March 10, 2006


Criminy, that's sad. I'm going to put on If I Should Fall From Grace and try to forget I saw all that.

Right after I brush and floss.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:24 AM on March 10, 2006


I saw them last night at the 9:30 club, and while I love the Pogues, I was *very* cynical about how their performance would be, but they were awesome. Shane MacGowan was drunk, but nailed it, and the band was solid (and much more sober.)
posted by drobot at 11:41 AM on March 10, 2006


Just to back up, I saw them in the late 80s/early 90s. A friend and I flew 1000 km to see them in Vancouver.

As I recall, the band did a first-rate job of trying to cover for an obviously out of control Shane. To be fair, Shane was on stage the whole night and sang every song, though not always into the microphone.
posted by mazola at 12:18 PM on March 10, 2006


(BTW, youtube has some decent Pogue clips I hadn't seen before.)
posted by bardic at 12:42 PM on March 10, 2006


yippee, I have tix to see them next week.
posted by madamjujujive at 1:18 PM on March 10, 2006


seeing them tonight in dc at 9:30 club, but... not getting my hopes up for the quality of the show. hooray for christmas gifts. i will have photos on my website by next week.
posted by kneelconqueso at 1:31 PM on March 10, 2006


Time is cruel.... look at nick Cave shooting the breeze with Mr. McGowan. /shudder

On the contrary, Cave's developing a creepy Fred Gywnne-ish look that seems entirely appropriate ...
posted by ryanshepard at 1:57 PM on March 10, 2006


Yeah, my friends band is playing that southpaw show (it's for shane's birthday). I'm a little worried that they're going to try to keep up with Shane, liquor-wise.

For noone can do that and survive.

(my freind's band page, if you're interested)
posted by lumpenprole at 4:25 PM on March 10, 2006


I saw the Popes in Providence a few years back. Someone had to go get him from a bar in Boston so he could do the show. When he finally got on stage, he waved a bottle of vodka as he called the audience a bunch of fucking assholes (at least, I think he did, I could pick out "feck'n" and "shils" from his ramblings) and then proceded to do a fairly decent set for a man who'd rather be passed out on a bar floor in Boston. It was a fun experience.
posted by Ruki at 5:08 PM on March 10, 2006


Like, drobot, I caught the show in DC last night. Truly enjoyed it, too! Shane arrived for the first song completely hammered and believe it or not he got better with every swig of the jamesons, somehow managing to make it through 2 encores, and beating my guess of 4 songs by at least 7. The whiskey, on the other hand, did not make it to the encores.
posted by shoepal at 8:00 PM on March 10, 2006


I guess every Pogue's fan knows the story behind the name, but for those who do not, it comes from Pogue Mahone which means "Kiss my Ass" in Irish.

While Pog Mo Thoin does mean kiss my ass, the word "Pogue" alone like that is Gaelic slang for gay, or it was where I grew up.

Best band out of Ireland, ever

Except they're from London! MacGowan himself speaks with an English accent under all that slurring due to having been been born there and lived there the majority of his life, a fact most people seem to miss completely.
posted by fshgrl at 8:57 PM on March 10, 2006


fshgrl, he also mentions London (and Soho) in the lyrics of several songs.
posted by shoepal at 7:19 AM on March 11, 2006


I am happy to report it was a kick ass 2-hour show in Boston last night, Shane was in fine form. At the end of the second (or was it third?) encore, they closed with "Fairytale of New York" - that alone made the night worth it!
Some local reviews & commentary:
- The Spry tunes, band buttress Pogues singer
- Drinking it all in - Pogues enjoying second round of life on the road
- Faithful fans embrace spirit of the Pogues
posted by madamjujujive at 9:19 AM on March 15, 2006


I caught the Pogues a couple of years ago and Duck Dunn was playing bass with 'em.
posted by stevil at 2:06 PM on March 18, 2006


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