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.

By 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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