Harsh words from a pope

A former member of Shane MacGowan’s band the Popes adds his voice to the criticism of Shane’s manager Joey Cashman. And Shane’s father Maurice also rejoins the fray.

The furore surrounding Shane MacGowan’s manager Joey Cashman intensified this week, with two former members of Shane’s band The Popes calling on the Dubliner to step down from his role. There’s also been renewed criticism of Cashman from MacGowan’s dad, Maurice.

“I hate to say it but I think Shane’s career is bollocked as long as Cashman is around,” says ex-Popes accordion-player Mick O’Connell. “He needs people around his business that just do a professional job and treat the band with respect.

“The last few gigs I did were some festivals in Europe,” he states. “It was just more trouble with Joey missing planes and us all being stuck facing the promoters and getting the shit, waiting for him and Shane to show up.”

Popes founder member Danny Heatley, who played drums with the outfit, has also spoken out.

“The set-up at the moment under Joey Cashman is the most unprofessional since Spinal Tap,” he told hotpress. “His dad, Maurice, is 100% correct when he says that Shane’s career is being strangled by Joey and that he deserves better.”

Heatley catalogues a series of business failings that have plagued efforts to prolong MacGowan’s career at the top.

“Everybody in the music industry knows that merchandising is a huge part of an artist’s income, but rarely was there any available when we were on tour. Why is there no career strategy, with proper tours and albums? The list of questions is endless.”

There is no doubt that Shane MacGowan’s recording career is currently in turmoil. hotpress understands that his record company, Eagle, who released the Across The Broad Atlantic live set, have lost patience, having pumped a considerable amount of money into an unfinished studio album – which may now never see the light of day.

Controversially, Heatley suggests that Shane is no longer pro-active, partly because his manager wants it that way.

“When Joey Cashman’s in town with Shane, he even sleeps in the same room as him. He answers the phone and nobody who’s trying to help Shane can get to him,” he claims.

While Joey Cashman may well be carrying out Shane’s wishes, the context is hardly a positive one.

“The amount of people who died around that band while I was in it was unbelievable – Charlie McLennan, Dave Jordan, Robbie O’Neill, Paul Verner, Mo O’Hagan, Paul Rowland’s girlfriend and a handful more than that as well.”

Heatley feels that McLennan’s death is of particular significance.

“The rot really set in after Charlie died. He was the one person that Shane loved and trusted completely. Joey hasn’t got Charlie’s heart. He’s in it for himself. Shane’s a very trusting person but it’s to his own detriment where Cashman’s involved. I was a founder member of The Popes, and know where the fuck ups are coming from.”

And what does Heatley say to those who’ve long predicted Shane’s demise based solely on his own seemingly chaotic lifestyle?

“People have been saying he’s got six months to live for the past 25 years, you know? He’s always had the constitution of an ox – but how strong an ox he is these days I couldn’t tell you. It’d be a hugely sad thing if the world lost somebody like Shane MacGowan through drink and whatever else he gets up to these days.”

* * *

Shane and Joey: The missed interview

Contacted last week on the eve of Shane MacGowan’s Dublin Olympia gig, Joey Cashman told hotpress that he was anxious to give his and Shane’s side of the story. He dismissed criticisms from Shane’s father Maurice MacGowan with the accusation that MacGowan senior has “lost the plot”. Joey invited hotpress to meet himself and Shane at the Deepark Hotel in Howth where they were both staying, for an interview. The interview was later rescheduled for the Olympia itself, but despite turning up at the venue and making repeated calls to his mobile phone number, we were unable to track him down.

So far, the manager’s only response to the controversy – and an on-line petition by MacGowan fans calling for his removal – has been to fax hotpress a statement that purports to be from Shane and urges that “no business matters relaying to Shane MacGowan should be conducted or discussed with Mr. Maurice MacGowan or any other person claiming to represent him.”

Branding it “irrelevant waffle”, Maurice MacGowan is scathing in his reaction.

“The response to the petition has a very poor command of English so Shane could not have been the writer,” he says. “Shane’s people have a perfect right to express their views on the petition but have chosen not to exercise that right because they don’t want to make themselves more ridiculous than they already are. I notice on the statement that yet another job has been created for Cashman, which is ‘Shane’s representative and long-term manager’. I would suggest a kick upstairs as a final appointment. Shane should appoint him as his ambassador to the Holy See (The Vatican), a job no more imaginary than the others he has held. He’d fit in perfectly in that web of intrigue. Obviously he must retain his long-term perks such as full-time hotel accommodation, taxis ad-lib and first class air travel.”

hotpress has been unstinting in its praise for the music of Shane MacGowan. We would welcome the opportunity to talk to both Shane and Joey Cashman and to give them the opportunity to respond to all of the criticisms made by fans of Shane’s and by former members of The Popes.


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