The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York" has become a part of Christmas

Is Shane MacGowan of The Pogues the new Bing Crobsy?


The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York" has become a part of Christmas

Phil Chevron, guitarist and songwriter for the Pogues, says the band's Christmas number “Fairtytale of New York” has become so popular that "it’s a funny thing really, to be almost a part of Christmas, to be Bing Crosby in a sense... Apart from anything else, this is when the mortgage gets paid.

"The annual success of 'Fairytale of New York' is always a nice little Christmas package for all of us – a whole new reason to party ... with mineral water!”

He also told The Irish Times in an interview that their song “Thousands are Sailing" about immigration is once again very relevant as many leave Ireland.

"It’s a song about two waves of emigration – the post-famine emigration and the emigration of the 1980s. But it’s really about a search for a sense of community and a needing to belong. The whole world is on the move now, probably more than at any other time in history – whether they’re escaping wars, natural disaster or economic circumstances. I think that’s why that song has an emotional clout for people who don’t necessarily have the experience of emigration in their DNA."

He told the Times that with the notable exception of the lead singer, the band's wild days are behind them.

"It’s always been a kind of good natured ship of holy fools because ... well, it kind of has to be. Certainly our partying days are long behind us – almost no one in the band even drinks anymore. With the possibility ever-present that something will go horribly wrong in the lead singer department, the rest of us tend to compensate by being scrupulously responsible.

Speaking of Shane MacGowan, the rumor that he got lost in New Orleans recently was also dealt with by Chevron.

"That was only because he didn’t know the name of his hotel. Usually there’s someone in his entourage who knows the name of the hotel, but on this particular evening that person disappeared. Fortunately, a fan bumped into him, looked after him and brought him along to the gig. As I said, when you’re in The Pogues, you learn to expect the unexpected."

Chevron told the newspaper that the American reaction on their recent trip was amazing.

"We went down the West Coast – from Seattle to Los Angeles – then across through Arizona, Colorado and Texas, finishing in Louisiana. We do a regular East Coast tour every year around St. Patrick’s Day. But on this tour, we hadn’t played some of the cities in 20 years, others we’d never played at all. So that was exciting.

"Initially you think it must be Irish America. But then you get to places like Portland, Oregon or Phoenix, Arizona and you realize it has nothing to do with us being Irish. They just consider us a rock ’n’ roll band – albeit one with tin whistles, accordions and banjos."


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