Tom Heyman Digs Pogues: Singer and songwriter Tom Heyman told us about his Pogues experience.
Tom Heyman: I spent 1983/84 “studying” English Literature at the University of Reading in the UK. In truth, the only thing I really “studied” while I was there were the gig listings In NME, Melody Maker and Sounds.
One of the most memorable shows I ever saw was the Pogues in 1984 at the Electric Ballroom in London on Easter Monday. On this show the band appeared on stage dressed in full 1940s woolen NY Police uniforms, and for the first 30 seconds of the show the air was thick with plastic pint glasses being hurled towards the ceiling and towards the stage, which was I suppose a show of some sort of exuberance or appreciation on the part of the absolutely bonkers audience.
The thing I remember most about the show was a feeling of kinetic excitement, the heaving audience dancing madly to a band that was playing on the edge of absolute chaos. Shane MacGowan was still playing guitar at this point and was a completely transfixing front person, but the whole band really had and incredibly charismatic presence, especially bass player Cait O’Riordan and tin whistle player Spider Stacy who I distinctly remember smashing a beer tray against his head for added auxiliary percussion.
Interestingly the bill that night also included local Camden Rock-a-Billy band the Blubbery Hellbellies, a band that had a weight requirement (you had to be over 250lbs to be in the band…) Nineteen years later in 2003 I toured Europe and recorded an album as a hired guitarist with a noted cult rockabilly artist named Lloyd Tripp who was the original upright bassist in the Blubbery Hellbellies and was on that show at the Electric Ballroom with the Pogues.
There was no weight requirement to tour with Lloyd.
Tom Heyman Digs Pogues: Tom’s Heyman’s 24th Street Blues is out October 6.
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