The Pogues had a brief, furious run of success, spurred on by a genius frontman who seemed to have trouble staying hydrated. Now you can get vicariously sauced with the new documentary Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan, available in wide release starting December 4th.
From 1984 to 1991, MacGowan and the Pogues explored the punk rock side of traditional Irish music, reinventing both genres in the process. They were appointment viewing whenever MacGowan showed up, which became increasingly rare towards the end of his tenure. In 1990 he was so unreliable that the band couldn’t tour for their album Hell’s Ditch, and in 1991 they gave him the sack. His war on sobriety intermittently continued until 2016, when he detoxed during a lengthy hospital stay. Reportedly, he’s been clean ever since.
Crock of Gold was produced by Johnny Depp and directed by Julien Temple. It documents MacGowan’s rise, his fall, his further descent, another period of falling, and the final push to sobriety that included his 60th birthday celebration with Nick Cave. As the new trailer suggests, both director and subject have a sense of humor about the journey.
The two-minute preview opens with MacGowan saying, “To make great music, a good musician has to put music before everything. That’s what I’ve always done.” The footage then goes on to explore all the intoxicants he put before music. Along the way, we detour to his childhood drinking courtesy of animations by Ralph Steadman, and hear intimate details courtesy of his longtime partner Victoria Mary Clarke. It ends with a bit of self-reflection. MacGowan says, “I actually work better when I’m sober,” and then pauses for dramatic effect. “But it’s not as much fun, so we get drunk.”
Check out the trailer below. Crock of Gold will be screened in a special one-night only event on December 1st, before appearing in select theaters and on-demand starting December 4th.
Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan Poster: