Celtic punk godfathers The Pogues are perhaps associated with boozy excess as much as they are with the band's rollicking signature sound.
That's primarily due to newly-toothsome frontman Shane MacGowan's legendarily hedonistic lifestyle, embodied in such liver-punishing Pogues standards as "Whiskey, You're The Devil", "Streams of Whiskey" and their biggest hit, "Fairytale of New York", the classic Christmas ballad that appropriately begins in a "drunk tank".
So who better to bottle their own brand of booze? The Pogues Irish Whiskey is now available in America, and it's a solid blend of 50 percent 10-year single malt and 50 percent grain, with spring water from Ireland's Ilen River. West Cork Distillers, based in Skibbereen, Ireland, approached the band a few years ago to make the $40 whiskey, and the rowdy outfit was unsurprisingly all for it.
"If anyone should be making whiskey, it's us," James Fearnley, the Pogues' squeezebox player, said at the launch party Tuesday night at Paddy Reilly's Music Bar in Manhattan.
Peter "Spider" Stacy, the Pogues co-founder, tin whistle player and 18-year teetotaler agreed: "We were approached and it just seemed like something we should have done years ago. Our intention all along was to sell whiskey," he joked.
While the Pogues are currently on hiatus—Stacy has been jamming with New Orleans' Lost Bayou Ramblers, of Beasts of the Southern Wild soundtrack fame, and Fearnley plays with a band called Cranky George—2011's "A Parting Glass" tour was the last time the Pogues performed live.
"We're not broken up, but we've pretty much stopped touring," Stacy said. "There comes a point where you think, 'enough is enough.' We’ve been doing this a long time. The flesh might be willing but the spirit might not be."
As for MacGowan, who made news last year by getting 28 shiny new dentures on a titanium frame installed in his formerly toothless mouth, Stacy remarked: "He actually cracked his pelvis last year, but now he’s doing ok."
Whiskey, you're the devil, indeed.