Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted on Jan 16th 2009 5:00PM by James Sullivan
As legend has it, MacGowan met his future bandmate Spider Stacy, whose tin whistle would help give the Pogues their core traditional sound, in the bathroom at a Ramones show. The new band they formed also had a name that would soon be abbreviated: They were originally named for a lovely old Irish phrase -- pogue mahone -- that translates to "kiss my arse." From the start, the Pogues were like no other, utterly remaking such classic pub songs as 'Dirty Old Town' and recording their second album (with the priceless title 'Rum, Sodomy and the Lash') with Elvis Costello as producer. By 1987, they would have an international hit with 'Fairytale of New York,' a sweet holiday-themed song about a boozer spending Christmas Eve in the drunk tank.
After years of unreliable behavior and chronic onstage inebriation, MacGowan was famously booted from his own band in 1991. (The Clash's Joe Strummer was temporary brought on board as a replacement.) Forced retirement did nothing for his drinking problem; MacGowan quickly formed a new band, the Popes, and picked up where he'd left off with the Pogues, showing up for gigs late and pickled -- when he showed up at all.
MacGowan claims that he was introduced to beer at age 5, whiskey at 10. Having somewhat miraculously turned 50 in 2007, MacGowan has shown little sign of slowing down. In 2002, shortly after the Pogues reunited for the first time, MacGowan made news at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin when he threw up on fans in the front row.
If MacGowan still lives to tell his poetic, often incomprehensible tale, his onetime duet partner in his band's biggest hit was not destined for such luck. On 'Fairytale of New York' MacGowan traded hilariously barbed lines with Kirsty MacColl, daughter of the folk songwriter Ewan MacColl, who wrote 'Dirty Old Town' as well as 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,' famously covered by Roberta Flack. Kirsty MacColl died in December 2000 while scuba diving with her family in Cozumel, Mexico, when she was hit by a speedboat owned by a Mexican supermarket-chain magnate. Alcohol was not cited as a factor in the accident.