UMass Lowell Music Business Professor Available for Interviews

Alan Williams brings Birdsong At Morning to the Sounding Out! music series. Image by Jennifer Myers
Music Professor Alan Williams is a source for reporters writing about the industry.


Media Contacts: Emily Gowdey-Backus, director of media relations, and Nancy Cicco, assistant director of media relations 
Shane MacGowan, the hard-driving poet and frontman of the Anglo-Celtic band The Pogues, “redefined what both punk and Irish traditional music could mean,” according to a UMass Lowell expert available for interviews about the musician’s influences and legacy. 
MacGowan passed away Thursday, Nov. 30, according to a statement posted on an official Instagram account maintained by his wife, Irish journalist Victoria Mary Clarke. MacGowan, who had endured a period of ill-health for the past year, was 65. 
“The Pogues played traditional Irish instruments with a punk attitude,” said music Professor Alan Williams, an authority on music in relation to its social and cultural contexts. “His songs were indistinguishable from the traditional Irish folk songs the band included on albums and set lists. In doing so, he grounded the punk moment as an expression of working-class existence across centuries.” 
Formed in the late 1970s, the band reached the height of its fame a decade later – its music becoming a touchstone for Irish culture – before splintering apart under the weight of MacGowan’s substance abuse and debates over the political content shared in the group’s songs.
Despite the turbulence, he has said his troubles fueled his creativity. After five Pogues’ albums and solo work, in 2018, MacGowan received the Ivor Novello songwriting inspiration award. Along with fans, fellow artists responded to his work; collaborators along the way included musicians Nick Cave, Elvis Costello, Sinead O’Connor and Steve Earle. The award-winning documentary “Crock of Gold – A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan,” was produced in 2020 by actor Johnny Depp, who also appears in the film.
Williams leads UMass Lowell’s music business program, where he shares his talents and knowledge as a songwriter, bandleader, sound engineer and record producer with students, many of whom will become the profession’s next generation of leaders and artists. To arrange an interview with him, contact Emily Gowdey-Backus or Nancy