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James Fearnley

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James Fearnley

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Biography

James Fearnley (born 9 October 1954, Worsley, United Kingdom) is an English musician. He plays accordion in the folk/punk band The Pogues.

As a child he was a choir treble, but his voice changed at the age of sixteen. He took piano lessons but did not enjoy it, so he chose to learn the guitar instead. He played with the singer Nik Wade and later with a group called The Mixers, a band based in Teddington. Fearnley became the guitarist in the last edition of Shane MacGowan’s band The Nipple Erectors.

The group then consisted of Shane MacGowan on vocals, Shanne Bradley on bass and Jon Moss on drums. When The Nips disbanded at the end of 1980, Fearnley joined the soul band The Giants. Fearnley was asked by Moss if he wanted to become a permanent member of a band in which he sometimes played, Culture Club. Due to a misunderstanding, Fearnley never joined Culture Club, and shortly after this the band went on to fame.

Fearnley sold his guitar and spent a year writing a novel. In 1982, MacGowan and Jem Finer were seeking an accordion player for their latest project. MacGowan knew that Fearnley had taken piano lessons and believed that he may have been able play the accordion too. Finer turned up at Fearnley’s flat with an accordion in a laundry bag and persuaded him to give it a try. Fearnley was nicknamed ‘maestro’ because he could tune the instruments.

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