Shane MacGowan brushed off his battles with alcohol and drugs

‘I’d be dead now if I wanted to be’: Defiant Shane McGowan brushes off his battles with alcohol and drugs in first look at new film about his life directed by Johnny Depp

  • New film, Crock of Gold, reveals life of Irish singer-songwriter Shane MacGowan
  • Battled several addictions in life and his sister was told he had 6 months to live
  • Documentary takes look at his childhood in Ireland and moving to London at 13
  • Uses a mixture of never-before-seen archive and family footage and animations

A new film about the hellraising life of Shane McGowan is set to give a raw glimpse into the singer’s battles with drugs and alcohol, through never-before-seen footage

The film, Crock of Gold, directed by Johnny Depp, looks back the musician’s eventful life – from his childhood in Ireland with big dreams of pursuing a career in music, to moving to London when he was 13 before becoming a musical icon. 

In the trailer for the new film, released on 20th November, his younger sister Siobhan, a journalist and musician, said he was never the same after The Pogues’ first world tour, saying: ‘He went away and he didn’t come back, not the Shane that I ever knew.’

She then went on to reveal doctors had told her that at one point, if he continued in the same way he was, Shane – who has described how heroin ‘messed him up’ – only had six months to live. 

However, defiant Shane, 62, can be heard in a voiceover stating: ‘If I really wanted to die I’d be dead already.’

In the new documentary about Shane MacGowan, the Irish singer songwriter, pictured, can be heard saying: ‘If I really wanted to die I’d be dead already.’

As well as followed for his music, many people have followed Shane’s battles with addictions over the years which have been well documented 

The documentary, directed by Julien Temple, uses unpublished archive  and family footage, as well as animations, to tell the story of MacGowan’s band The Pogues. 

The never before seen clips reveal the highs and lows of Macgowan’s life, from touring the world and making music loved by millions to his struggles with addiction. 

Speaking about his younger days, he said he ‘loved the drink, the gigs, the girls’ but claimed  ‘to make great music, a good musician has to put music before everything  and that’s what I’ve always done’.

Known for his raw and honest lyrics, MacGowan, who was born in Pembury, Kent, but soon moved to Ireland after he was born, was once referred to as ‘one of the finest writers of the century’ and regarded as the saviour of Irish music. 

The film looks at MacGowan’s whole life, from his childhood in Ireland to moving to London when he was just 13 years old in pursuit of his music career. Pictured, a 20-something MacGowan outside Buckingham Palace in a documentary about kebabs, titled Punk Kebab, in 1977

To create the film about Shane’s life, the directors compiled a range of never-before-seen archive and family footage. Pictured: Shane performing at British Summer Time Festival at Hyde Park in 2014

But while he and the band enjoyed the successes of their musical talents, as they toured the world Shane, said: ‘It was non-stop excitement and then things just went wrong, horribly wrong.’

MacGowan’s attitude to alcohol is shown in one revealing clip in which he says: ‘Actually we’re better when we’re sober, but it’s not as much fun, so we get drunk .’

His life and struggles have been well-documented over the years, including getting his teeth fixed in 2015 after losing his final one in 2009. 

Earlier this year Johnny Depp, left, spoke about meeting Shane, right, for the first time how he was instantly taken by the Irish star. Pictured, the pair together in 1994

In the documentary, you hear from members of Shane’s (pictured) family, including his sister Siobhan, who said she was once told her brother had six months to live 

Shane recalls the moment ‘everything went horribly wrong’ while he and his band The Pogues (pictured performing)were on a tour around the world, which he described as ‘non-stop excitement’

In 2018, his wife Victoria, who he married two years ago after being together for 32 years and engaged for 11, told the Irish Mirror that drinking was not his only vice. 

She recalled one time she found him with a needle in his leg: ‘When he answered the door to me after having missed his flight to the United States to open for Bob Dylan, and there was blood pouring out of his mouth because he had eaten a Beach Boys record, it looked as though it was the 100 tabs of acid that were the problem, and not the gin and tonic.’

Speaking about the new film earlier this year, director Depp spoke with journalists about the first time he met MacGowan, admitting that he was instantly taken with the star.

His sister Siobhan, a musician and journalist, said after her brother left Ireland he became a person she didn’t know any more. Pictured, Shane in a scene in the documentary film

Shane’s struggles were well-documented over the years, including getting his teeth fixed in 2015 after losing his final one in 2009. Pictured, Shane in messy room in footage from the documentary 

After 32 years together, 11 of which they were engaged, Shane and Victoria finally tied the knot in 2018, with Shane in a wheelchair after a bad fall damaged his back. Pictured: The couple together at the 50th anniversary of The Late Late Show in Dublin, Ireland, in 2012

He said: ‘When I met Shane he was negotiating a pool table. There was a drink in this hand, a pint, and in this hand there was a guitar.

‘And he was teetering, balancing back and forth trying to negotiate which way to fall. I watched him do that for about 15 minutes.

‘Then I was introduced to him, before he fell, and from that moment on you just knew… there are moments in life when you know this will happen one time and one time only, when you get the opportunity to spend time with greatness.’

He continued: ‘Having known him [McGowan] a long, long time I can only say I fell in love with him the second I met him and I’m still in love with him to this day.

‘His wife Victoria is a wonderful partner for Shane, they’re best friends, and I’ve seen that continue over these many years under all kinds of duress.’ 

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