Rum, Sodomy and the Death

DUBLIN—A member of the rough and tumble Irish band The Pogues has died and to everyone’s surprise, it’s not lead singer Shane MacGowan.

Blending traditional Irish music with a punk aesthetic, The Pogues were darlings of the 80s.  As the gnarly face of the band, MacGowan earned a reputation as both a brilliant writer and a complete drunk. His antics onstage are legendary, when he bothers to show up.  A ticket to a Pogues show either means a once-in-a-lifetime musical experience or two hours of MacGowan slurring through songs while slumped on a barstool, beer in hand.

MacGowan’s alcohol and drug-fueled escapades are notorious.  As a teenager, he was accepted into a prestigious public school and then kicked out a year later for drug possession.  In 1991, the singer’s own band fired him mid-tour during a stop in Japan. In 2001, friend Sinead O’Connor had him arrested.  O’Connor claimed it was in an effort to get MacGowan to abandon a heroin addiction.

Regularly pickled, often high, and famous for his once stubby and now completely disintegrated teeth, MacGowan soldiers on.  He is both a modern medical miracle and a poster child for the pitfalls of drug and alcohol abuse.

In a related piece of news, Pogues guitarist Phil Chevron has died of cancer at age 56.

Molly Donovan

I grew up in the USA, but don't hold that against me because I'm also Canadian. Just think of me as the mole.

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