A transcendent singer/songwriter and two-fisted gutter poet whose notorious drunken behavior, rotten teeth, and drug-fueled excesses often threatened to eclipse his reputation as a performer, Shane MacGowan was born on Christmas Day, 1957, in Kent, England. Within months, his family returned to their native Ireland, where he spent the first several years of his life immersed in the traditional music of the Irish culture. When MacGowan was six, the family moved to London; there his talents as a writer gradually blossomed, and he won a number of poetry contests prior to his expulsion from school at the age of 14 for possession of drugs. In 1976, he attended his first Sex Pistols concert, and quickly became a regular at local punk shows; he soon formed his own band, the Nipple Erectors (renamed the Nips after releasing their 1978 debut single, "King of the Bop"). Despite finding a mentor in the Jam's Paul Weller, the Nips were largely unsuccessful, and disbanded in late 1980; MacGowan then took a job in a record store, occasionally filling in with his friend Spider Stacy's band the Millwall Chainsaws.