Pete Doherty recalls wild first meeting with Shane MacGowan

Pete Doherty recalls wild first meeting with Shane MacGowan when The Pogues frontman stole his crack pipe – as he pays tribute to late singer

  • READ MORE: The making of vulnerable genius Shane MacGowan 

Pete Doherty has paid tribute to his late friend Shane MacGowan, saying he ‘loved and respected’ the singer. 

The Pogues frontman Shane died ‘peacefully’ at 3am on Thursday with his wife Victoria Mary Clarke and family by his side. 

The singer – whose prolific history of alcoholism and drug abuse was well documented – was battling viral encephalitis – a life-threatening condition that leads to brain swelling – and had been in and out of Dublin’s St Vincent’s Hospital for months. 

Yet Pete, 44. who has also had a highly-publicised battle with addiction, admitted he thought his friend was ‘bulletproof’ as he reflected on their firm friendship. 

Speaking on BBC Sounds, the Libertines star revealed it was his ex-girlfriend Kate Moss who first introduced him to Shane at her home, revealing the model would talk about Shane and his wife like they were ‘gurus.’ 

Pete Doherty has recalled his wild first meeting with Shane MacGowan, saying The Pogues frontman stole his crack pipe and took all his drugs (pictured in 2005) 

Pete recalled: ‘When I met him he charged in and took my crack pipe off me, smashed it up, charged out and then came back and helped me put it back together with sellotape. 

‘He smoked all my drugs and told me how s**t quality they were after having smoked them all. That was the first time I’d ever met him so I thought that was pretty cool!’ 

Yet Pete revealed not all their encounters involved ‘narcotic moments’, saying: ‘Most of the time he’d be there round her [Kate’s] house and he’d say “go on, get the guitar out and show us what you’ve got” and we’d just play guitar and sing songs.

I just loved the bloke to be honest. I knew he was ill but I kind of thought he was bulletproof… I don’t want to sound all gushing but I’m just going to say how I really feel. I loved him, he was solid, he  had a manic laugh and he knew a hell of a lot about history – the American Revolution, the history of Cuba…

‘When he’d get up on stage and play with us, he was just always up for it. Always up for the banter. 

‘Up in the dressing room we’d get the  guitar out and for me that’s the strongest connections I’ve made, with people like that, through music. 

‘I loved and respected him. For a long time I was sitting at his feet in awe and over time I got his respect. 

‘During difficult times in my life I  could speak to him. When I was in jail he knew some people and he helped me out with a few spots and I felt close to him.’ 

The Pogues’ frontman Shane died ‘peacefully’ at 3am on Thursday with his wife Victoria Mary Clarke and family by his side after being in and out of Dublin’s St Vincent’s Hospital for months

He went on to praise the Irish musician’s talent, calling him one of the ‘top three or four lyricists of the past 40 years.’

Pete mused: ‘He had a gift for melody beautiful, melancholy, but action-packed tales of buccaneers, and sodomy in the backstreets of Soho, and falling off your stool in the last chance saloon, and then running down the road and kicking your heels as the sun sets. Getting up and doing it all over again the next day. 

READ MORE: Shane MacGowan’s widow Victoria Mary Clarke shares sweet snaps 

‘Kind of an old romantic, told tales, told stories in songs, strong characters, he painted a lot of pictures and fairytales.’ 

Pete went on to dub Fairytale of New York ‘one of the best songs ever written’, adding: ‘It’s something he can be proud of, you never get tired of hearing it.’ 

Hellraiser Shane, whose 1987 hit Fairytale of New York became a Christmas classic selling millions of copies worldwide, was famous for his hard-partying lifestyle slurred speech, missing teeth and on-stage meltdowns during his 1980s heyday.

In recent years, the Irish icon was confined to a wheelchair and was aided by his wife and carer at home, having been plagued by by ill-health linked to his years of alcohol and substance abuse.

His heartbroken wife today shared the news of the rocker’s death – which came just days after she released a touching photo of them together to mark their fifth wedding anniversary.

The star began drinking at the age of five, when his family gave him Guinness to help him sleep, and his father frequently took him to the local pub while he drank with his friends.

His first spell in rehab when he was just 17, after he became addicted to valium.

In 1999, Irish singer Sinead O’Connor reported him to the police for snorting heroin.

MacGowan later said the move was a wake-up call that helped him to stop using the drug.

The singer would also often perform drunk on stage and was pictured on several occasions looking worse for wear after drinking.

MacGowan spent nine years as the lead singer and songwriter for the hugely popular Pogues between 1982 and 1991 and then also fronted the band on and off between 2001 and 2014.

Pete revealed it was his ex-girlfriend Kate Moss who first introduced him to Shane at her home and the rockers spent the night sharing a crack pipe (pictured in October 2022) 

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