GuilFest 2011 - Lineup

The Popes

The Popes blend Irish folk and punk and have seen active service both on their own account and with Shane MacGowan of the Pogues, who sang lead vocals on two Popes albums and features on The Popes new album ‘Outlaw Heaven’ which is out now. The new album showcases some of their most exciting and brilliant material to date inspired by Paul “Mad Dog” McGuiness’ brief stint on remand a few years back.

MacGowan features on three songs on the new album: ‘Outlaw Heaven’, Bastards’ and ‘Loneliness Of A Long Distance Drinker’ and Spider Stacey also guests on ‘Outlaw Heaven’. The current live line-up since reforming includes Paul (Mad Dog) McGuinness - Guitar and Vocals, Charlie Hoskyns - Guitars and Backing Vocals, Will Morrison - Drums and Backing Vocals, Dave Allen – Fiddle and Backing Vocals, Jim McAllister – Bass and Backing Vocals and Whiskey Mick – Mandolin and Backing Vocals.

‘A batch of songs dripping with the need to be heard. It’s a chaotic, red-blooded mix of punk, rockabilly, Celtic and country surging to ferocious peaks’ Uncut

‘This is what The Waterboys would have sounded like had Mike Scott sipped from the streams of whiskey. A true rough diamond’
The Guardian

‘The most warm, celebratory and downright mortal LP you’ll likely to hear in 2009’
Clash Magazine

‘Rouses like only the best of Irish Folk can’

The Popes are back with their new album, ‘Outlaw Heaven’ showcasing some of their most exciting and brilliant material to date. Shane MacGowan features on three songs on the new album: ‘Outlaw Heaven’, Bastards’ and ‘Loneliness Of A Long Distance Drinker’. Spider Stacey also guests on ‘Outlaw Heaven’. Chief songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Paul McGuiness says, there is an Irishness about the songs on this new album as opposed to it being irish music! The feel is more Thin Lizzy-Van Morrison than it is Shane MacGowan or The Pogues’.

Shane MacGowan formed The Popes to record his album 'The Snake' in 1994 after leaving The Pogues. From that original line up are Paul (Mad Dog) McGuinness, on vocals and guitars (Paul originally played with The Pogues, his first performance being live on the David Letterman show, plucked from the technical team at a moment's notice!). After releasing 2 sell out singles - 'Are You Looking At Me' and 'Holloway Boulevard' on Scarlet Records - The Popes signed to Snapper Records and released their debut album 'Holloway Boulevard' which received great reviews and the record-buying public took the band to their hearts - and their parties!  After recording another live album with Shane in New York on St Patrick’s Day, ‘Across the Broad Atlantic’, and extensive touring, Paul began writing material for the new album.

Inspiration for ‘Outlaw Heaven’ came in the unlikely form of a 4-month stint in Pentonville prison where Paul was being held on remand for perverting the course of justice. Also battling with drink and drugs Paul says of his prison experience;
‘I hated being stuck in a cockroach, mice infested 8x6 cell for 23 hours a day, but once I got over the bad food and cramped conditions I began to realise it was the best thing to happen to me in a long time. I imagined I was in a luxury hotel getting the rest, detox and seclusion I needed to sort my life out. I also met some of the kindest, straightest, upfront people ever, and that was only the murderers! Prison is however the mother of creativity and before you could say OUTLAW HEAVEN I was off writing and singing songs to my cellmate. I didn’t have a guitar so I wrote the lyrics down on the three pieces of paper I was allowed every fortnight, the music I composed in my head. If I was able to get to church on Sunday I was able to borrow the priest’s guitar. Thank god for the folkmass (I never thought I’d say that)’
The end result is a ferocious, modern rock record that comes across with sincerity and heartfelt emotion. Lyrically the album is very insightful and the main theme running through the songs is hope followed by love and hate and the tenuous link between them.
After Paul was released from prison and following the sad death of Popes banjo god Tommy McManamon at the end of 2006, he reformed The Popes with a new line up of fantastic and experienced musicians; drummer Will Morrison, guitarist Charlie Hoskyns, Laurie Norwood on bass, Fiachra Shanks on banjo, mandolin, guitars and vocals and Ben Gunnery on fiddle.

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