Sunday 19 November 2017

Shane MacGowan: Music stopped me from joining the IRA

Shane MacGowan. Photo: Tony Gavin
Shane MacGowan. Photo: Tony Gavin
Pogues: Shane MacGowan

Nick Bramhill

SHANE MacGowan has admitted he would have joined the IRA if his family had not encouraged him to become a professional musician.

The Pogues frontman said his parents' republican background and the alienation and hostility he experienced growing up as the son of Irish immigrants in London in the 1960s and 1970s filled him with hatred towards his adopted country.

But he said that he's now thankful his parents took it upon themselves to steer him clear of joining the Provisionals and instead encouraged him to vent his anger through his music.

He said: "I was brought up by Fenians. I was told, 'Watch out for the f**king Brits - them bastards!' That was true when I came over here [London], and it's still true - all the 'no blacks, no dogs, no Irish'. That was true. You were hated.

"I was told not to get involved in the Provisionals. I was brought up in an official IRA family - they [his parents] didn't like the indiscriminate bombing, the stupid bombing. They didn't like the punishment squads.

"The people that brought me up told me to steer clear of all that and to do it with the music."

However, the 56-year-old singer-songwriter also revealed that he is planning to finally part ways with the Pogues, the London-Irish Celtic punk band that has made him a global star.

MacGowan was infamously booted out of the band in the early 1990s due to his increasingly drunken unreliability, but the group reformed 13 years ago with their talismanic singer back at the helm.

But in an interview with Uncut magazine, MacGowan has strongly hinted that the Pogues' gig at London's Hyde Park next Saturday - where they're supporting The Libertines - could be their last.

And he wants to focus his musical energy on his new band, The Cronins.

"I didn't intend it to go on for this long [the reunion with the Pogues]. "Anyway, this is the last gig," MacGowan said.

Sunday Independent

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