LED BY THE fantastically gifted Shane MacGowan, the Pogues ('82-'96, now reunited) mixed punk rock and Irish traditionals into vigorous, drunken (but hyper-literate) rock sublimity. Decemberists' Jenny Conlee and Chris Funk, with their friends Ezra Holbrook, Jesse Emerson, Derek Brown, Casey Neill, and Hanz Araki are Portland musicians who make their own great noise. This St. Patty's they're becoming KMRIA (Kiss My Royal Irish Arse), a truly legit Pogues tribute. Chris Funk talks Pogues:
How'd the idea to tributize the Pogues come about?
Jenny Conlee and Ezra Holbrook talked about it for years. Then Casey Neill moved back to town from NYC, so the three of them really kicked it into gear. Plus the fact that Hanz Araki moved to town and can cover the hot-shit flute and whistle parts as he is, well, hot shit.
You guys have Pogues' approval I hear.
Yes. The Maestro Jimmy Fearnley is a fan of our band, the Decemberists. He came out to our LA shows and jammed on stage with us (kicked our butts I might add). Anyway, Colin [Decemberists singer Meloy] saw him on his solo tour and [Fearnley asked] if we needed any help transcribing parts, which we did (like the middle tune in "Bottle of Smoke" and "Turkish Song of the Damned.") From there he gave us a stamp of approval on their website, though he hasn't heard us and may regret it, ha ha.
Have you met Shane before?
Yes, at the Roseland Theater before a show. Out of respect for a great singer and lyricist I'll just leave it at that.
Have you heard their post-Shane stuff? It's horrible!
Out of great respect for an amazing band I'll just leave it at that. There are some good tunes somewhere in there. Phil [Chevron] is actually a great songwriter and singer I think. He wrote "Thousands are Sailing," you know!