Shane McGowan‘s large and crucial inﬂuence upon the band. It was he. along with enigmatic whistle player Spider Stacy. who formed the Pogues (then titled Pogue Mahone. until the translation ‘Kiss My Arse‘ became known) in London in 1982. The mixture of McGowan's punk sneer on top of rebel rousing Irish laments has always proved oddly poignant and. at best. can be acutely affecting. Known as much for his drinking exploits and irreverent (at times plainly offensive) demeanour as for his rasping vocal style. Shane McGowan has always symbolised the Pogue attitude. for better or for worse. His personal ‘ups and downs’ seem to provide an accurate barometer for the band‘s collective fortunes. Playing the American dates without him must have been difficult.
‘Ofcourse. But it was a necessary thing to do to keep the band together as a working force. Shane was very ill. IIe. quite literally. could not get on the plane. so there was obviously no way that he could do the gigs. In many ways the whole period got everyone together and made us all work extra hard to keep the shows going. It was a difficult time. but one that‘s definitely strengthened every one ofus. Shane will never be the healthiest person in the world. but he's back on form now. His singing and writing on the new LP are better than ever.
‘Shane's always written a lot. but. as with everything. you get hits and misses. A year ago. all of us were just not in the right frame ofmind for doing an album. or even a gig. When you've been together for as long as we have. you are bound to get lapses. aren't you? Nobody can be sharp all the time. whether it be an individual or a band. Maybe we should have left it for six months instead of recording Peace and Love. Like ifwe‘d done If I Should Fall From Grace With God (released in 1988. the third and most successful Pogues album up till now) a year or so earlier. it might not have been so good an album. We‘ve definitely hit it right this time though. We‘re all together now. Strummer‘s producing was great. He was entirely on the right wavelength.‘
The two best known Pogues tunes have both been collaborations: the Pogues-Dubliners celebratory rendition of ‘The Irish Rover‘ in early 1987 and the beautiful ‘Fairytale of New York‘. in which Shane duetted with Kirsty MacColl in the Christmas Top Five of the same year. A little sadly. perhaps. there are no more collaboration projects lined up.
‘No. . . not really. Kirsty might come up forthe gigs with us though. It‘s not the same. playing ‘Fairytale‘ without her. Oh. and we got the daughter ofJohn from the Dubliners to play on the new album. We needed an Irish Harp on one of the tracks and it turned out that none ofthe band could play it. Ha ha — The Pogues couldn’t manage an Irish instrument. I suppose that’s quite a good one. really.’
It seems like a lot of things are good for The Pogues right now. The spirit is strong. as is the new album. and the live dates will be eagerly awaited by many. Glasgow has always afforded the band a triumphant ‘homecoming‘ atmosphere. with past gigs consistently proving enjoyable and well-rowdy affairs.
“Oh yes. Glasgow is always brilliant. They‘ve become a tradition in themselves. the Glasgow shows. It’s the best way of starting a tour. and this tour really feels like we’re starting over again. It’s like. what a difference a year makes. . . Isn’t that the cue for a song?’
It certainly is.
The Pogues play Barrowland, Glasgow, 1—3 Oct.
_ PRINC'ESSQUARE ' 4-8 BUCHANAN ST GLASGO'W
Specralrty Shopping Browse through five levels of fashion, accessories, leather goods, books,handcrafted designer Jewellery and specialist gift boutiques - Princes Square - a beautifully restored building dating from l84i and now, probabiy,Scotiand's finest speciality shopping centre.
Take a break in our themed wine bars, cafes and restaurants. Relax over a freshly brewed coffee. Order from a wide variety of freshly prepared and cooked dishes catering for everything from a light snack to delightful meals.
Evenings and Sundays Too !
And there's no need to rush a visit to Princes Square - you can shop, dine, or Just soak up the atmosphere in the evening and on Sundays too. The Terrace Foodcourt and the Princes Square shops are open until 7.00pm Monday to Saturday and the Foodcourt is open until 5.00pm on a
Sunday with the shops closing at 4.30pm. The licensed restaurants are open until midnight (excluding Sundays).
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