"There was an energy there, an energy that wasn't going on at the time. And we just thought, what we're doing is good, however badly we're doing it, it's good 'cos it's based on good music. It's emotional. It's what songs are about."
The Pogues emerged from a London squat in 1982, and became the first band to mix traditional folk music with the spirit and energy of punk.
With the full co-operation of the band, their friends and associates, Ann Scanlon links the Pogues' punk beginnings to a Celtic folk past and, by following them from sparsely attended pubs to sold-out stadiums, reveals how London's most shambolic bar band have developed into one of the finest live acts in the world.
Fully illustrated with scores of photographs from the band's own files and including a full discography.
Interviews Shane, Spider, Jem, Andrew, James and Cait, who tell their story where it all started, in the streets and pubs of London's Kings Cross, she also interviews the managers, agents, label bosses, film-makers, producers, promoters, PRs, journalists, friends and fans, topics covered include arguments & drunken spats, love affairs, the marriage of Cait and Elvis Costello, the death of Kirsty MacColl, the illnesses, drugs, sackings, legal actions & above all, the over-riding passion for music.
October 1982: ABC, Culture Club, Shalamar and Survivor dominate the top twenty when the Pogues barrel out from the backstreets of King's Cross, a furious, pioneering mix of punk energy, traditional melodies and the powerfully poetic songwriting of Shane MacGowan.
Reviled by traditionalists for their frequently fast, often riotous interpretations of Irish folk songs, the Pogues rose from the sweaty chaos of backroom gigs in Camden pubs to world tours with the likes of Elvis Costello, U2 and Bob Dylan, and had huge commercial success with everyone's favourite Christmas song, 'Fairytale of New York'.
Yet, the exuberance of their live performances coupled with relentless touring spiraled into years of hard drinking and excess which eventually took their toll — most famously on Shane, but also on the rest of the band — causing them to part ways seven years later.
Here, their story is told with beauty, lyricism and great candour by James Fearnley, founding member and accordion player. He brings to life the youthful friendships, the bust-ups, the amazing gigs, the terrible gigs, the fantastic highs and the dramatic lows in a hugely compelling, humorous, moving and honest account of life in one of our most treasured and original bands.