Celtic tigers

By JIM SULLIVAN  |  March 12, 2008

Yet you’ve certainly had an influence on Celtic rock and roll. Consider the Pogues.
I remember one time in London various people like Roger Daltrey came in to do an evening with us. For our penance, the Pogues came and we sat on stage and the whole stage at the Brixton Academy was bouncing. It was a stand-up gig for 4000 people. The Pogues, that was rough-and-ready time. We did a 45-minute set, they did a 45-minute set, then we got together and it was hilarious, that’s all I can say. An experience. I wouldn’t want to do it any other night. I’m a devil for punishment, let’s put it that way. I’m pretty particular about not drinking before the concert, but the Pogues used to nip off to their little bar side-stage.

I’m not sure I’ve read anything negative about the Chieftains. How fucking beloved are you?
[Laughs.] Now you’re talking Irish! Well, we might put on a good safe one [show], and this works for us — we’re still in the business after 46 years. But we can let loose when we want to. We do it in a nice way. We do it after the final concert at Carnegie Hall [March 17]. We go on the town and we hit every establishment that has a green sign out. People follow us around. The royal tour of New York.

You’ve done this forever. When or how will it end?
I think I’ll die with my boots on.

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