Flea Recalls The First Time He Met Shane MacGowan In Emotional Tribute

By Katrina Nattress

December 1, 2023

Photo: Getty Images

When news broke that Shane MacGowan died on November 30, the music world took to social media to pay tribute to The Pogues singer. For Flea, that meant recalling the humble story of first meeting him.

"And now I say, god bless the great Irishman Shane MacGowan," the Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist wrote on Instagram. "Every time I heard him sing I heard the truth, and my heart filled up with humanity."

"I once saw him sing with the Pogues at a festival in the late 80's," he continued. "It was so beautiful and I was reduced to tears. I approached him, and gushed 'Man that was so beautiful, thank you etc...' He looked at me and burst into laughter, accidentally spitting beer in my face, and it was not thoughtless or mean at all, he was just so humble and being a dude singing it seemed absurd to him to be elevated, like I was doing to him. I have never been a church going man or a religious man, but if I ever felt baptised [sic], it was that beer and spit in my face that did it. Im so grateful he sang his songs for us."

MacGowan was in the hospital on November 22 for undisclosed reasons and was diagnosed with a rare condition called encephalitis in 2022. He was 65 years old.

See Flea's emotional post below.

The PoguesRed Hot Chili Peppers
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