10 The List 18 November—l December 1994
Shane MacGowan: ‘People move on and people change. But I don’t.’
SHANE MACGOWAN has emerged from hibernation with a triumphant yelp and a new band. Preparing to hit the road again, the former Pogue props up his favourite lrish bar with Kathleen Morgan.
herever Shane MacGowan goes. he drags with him the media
image of a toothless horror spewing expletives and
yesterday's dinner at anyone who dares cross him. The ex—l’ogues’ frontman who put the traditional lrish into rock ‘n' roll has a history that is difficult to ignore. l-lis public descent into alcohol and drug- induced oblivion. culminating in his ejection
from the Pogues. made him the stuff of
Sit this man down at his favourite lrish bar in London‘s Kings Cross and a different lvlacGowan emerges. Yes. the language is colourful. the mouth virtually toothless and the breath sweetened by a double shot of Martini. but the 36-year-old is driven by more than the need for another drink. In the rehearsals fora European tour with his new band the Popes. he is attempting to take control of his life and work. This time. he aims to do it his way.
‘I’m not going to get sucked into touring all the time, but I’ve been doing a lot of press. Jesus Christ, it’s better than being an out of business butcher in Sarajevo.’
With the release this month of a rattcously brilliant album The Snake. he has confounded those critics who branded him as good as dead when he was thrown out of the Pogues three ’years ago. .\lac(iowan professes not to care about what is or is not written about him: ‘I don‘t give a fuck about my critics.‘ He is simply doing what comes naturally — writing songs and singing in a voice that could freeze hell or charm the angels. depending on his mood.
There is something gleeful about the dishevelled figure warmed by the living flame tire and authentic lrish patter of Filthy MacNasty‘s. The speech might be slurred. but beneath MacGowan‘s ramshackle exterior lies the shrewd wit that fires his music.
Speaking of The Snake. a furious cocktail of love ballads. self-penned lrish rebel songs and punk ditties. he sounds decidedly pleased with himself. ‘l‘m not a perfectionist. but objectively I think it‘s a great album.‘ He mutters