Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Montague Arms 1989 - Shane MacGowan, Mark E Smith & Nick Cave

Prompted by a comment to an old post I have tracked down a legendary NME interview from 1989 (25th February) with Sean O'Hagan and James Brown interviewing Mark E Smith (The Fall), Shane MacGowan (The Pogues) and Nick Cave (The Birthday Party/Bad Seeds), conducted in the Montague Arms in New Cross.

'A bottle's throw from Millwall FC, The Montague Arms, a mock Gothic fun pub for morbid tourists, plays host to a bizarre summit meeting. Amidst stuffed horses' heads, skeletons on bicycles and mocked up corpses, three of contemporary music's most infamous individuals are gathered at the NME's request. Shane MacGowan of the Pogues, Mark Smith of the Fall and Nick Cave all share an outsider's attitude that informs their respective musical output. Both championed and castigated for their obsessiveness and extremism, this unholy trio are dogged by reputations that precede them. That they agreed to such a meeting is surprising. What ensues is inspired and insane by turns. The fractured and, often fractious, conversation sprawls between the amiable and the aggressive- Presley to Nietzsche, songwriting to psychology, football to fanatics'.

It all ends up like this: 'Things fall apart. The unholy trinity climb on the pubstage. MacGowan on drums, Smith on guitar and Cave on the organ. A jam of sorts ensues- The Velvets meets Hammer Horror with a hint of Acid House. Totally wired. Summit mental'.

The interview is worth reading in full, never mind the New Cross connection, I can't imagine the current dumbed-down NME printing a verbatim account of musicians arguing about the relative merits of Brenday Behan and Nietzsche down the pub.

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