A Conversation with Darryl Hunt

Publication: Good Times (San Diego)
Date Printed: April 9-April 22, 1996
Section: ?
Page: ?
By: Glenn Haussman

For more than a decade the Pogues have been diligently making music while unintentionally avoiding the American mainstream. Though not as furtive of a financial wonderland for them as their Irish counterparts, the recalcitrant U2 and the mewling Cranberries, their unusual blending of Irish Trad with Blitzkreig punk has been enough to be sustained by a very picky American base.

Originally known as Pogue Mahone, the Gaelic phrase for "kiss my ass," they quickly dropped the confrontational moniker after an offer was dangled by a record company. However, their nearest release resuscitates the name and helps to identify that this band has almost come full circle in creating musical dirges and aggressive chants of rebellion.

Though not an original member, bassist Darryl Hunt has been part of the Pogues organization almost from the very start. "I was a driver, tour manager and sound man," explains the jack of all trades in an accent laden with thick Irish drawl. Eventually he began to fill in for original bassist Caitlyn O'Roirdan when she could not make it to a gig. "Finally, she could not make it at all and I asked if I could be in the band," shares Hunt.

Of course he was asked to join, and since he was always part of the organization, and schlepped more equipment than anyone would care to admit, he did not accept the part as an outsider and slid into his new found role with tremendous ease.

Years began to pass and in 1991 the band started to fray at the edges. The unexpected exit of founder Shane McGowan [sic] was a stunning set back that Hunt is very frank about discussing. "His health was not the best and he also began to get very disillusioned. I don't think he wanted to be in the group, and if he did, he wanted to be able to control everything on his own. This went on for a couple of years and in 1991 it all came to head and he became so completely out of it, commitments to perform were impossible."

After McGowan's departure, the intense pressure lifted and friendships continued, but the residual effects caused more shakeups. James Fearnley found he wanted to commit full time to his family, Terry Woods went at it on his own and Phil Chevron found himself to ill to continue working. "Their batteries were all used up," says Hunt. "I think they were also starting to feel that this wasn't their band anymore. With the line-up we have now, it feels as if we are more of a team."

On their newest release, the aforementioned "Pogue Mahone," finds a departure in the type of material played, but Hunt volunteers that "it still has that Pogues signature of beat groove punk rhythm dynamic. There is still the element there, even though we have different players. We just try to make songs as good as we can."

The CD is peppered with musical departures and the 13 tracks takes the listener on an instrumental world tour as sounds from all over the planet are interjected. One song "Amadie," explores the true story of Amadie Adouin who was violently assaulted by racist attackers and whose career was forever destroyed. In past Hunt has been outspoken against racism and has encountered people's irrational hatred. "One time I was in LA and I was playing rap music over our PA and someone comes up to me and says 'take this nigger rubbish off.' This was some Pogues fan. This upset me because some of my favorite artists are rap artists. I like Warren G, Dr. Dre. It is another expression of a very rich vein of music that comes from the black sheep of America."

An album besieged by delays, the took over five months to complete the album which went into production in October 1994. "Things don't always happen the way you want it," confesses the affable bassist. "It arrived in English stores in September and just now in America. I did not envision this time line when we started. The album should have been released this time last year."

Like Bob Dylan, Hunt believes playing live "purges the spirit" and he never, ever listens his music on CD. Though well structured and never considered a jam band, songs sound roughly the same every night but to those who have an intimate relationship with the songs will notice numerous changes in style. "There is plenty of room to maneuver and keep things fresh."

Touring all over the world through September there will be no time for sightseeing as their schedule is packed. "This is a great time. I like to travel and see new places although I do get a bit bored by airports and hotels." On April 11th, the Pogues will begin a three week tour of northern portions of our continent at the Supper Club in New York City and will end off with a visit [to] Fearnley in L.A. [Note: The tour actually ended in San Francisco, after the L.A. shows.]

The Pogues are a band that has held through the clichéd thick and thin and managed to remain marketable throughout changes that would put most acts out of business. Their reason for success is obvious. If you don't like it, pogue mahone.

Copyright 1996, Good Times (San Diego)
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