Philip’s father had been an actor and producer in theatre and, by association, Philip had a great interest in show music. When he was 16 he heard the cabaret singer Agnes Bernelle on the radio. He met her, and ultimately produced one of her albums. It is possible that Philip took the name Chevron from the record label Chevron Records, which has issued artists like Bing Crosby, Judy Garland and Sarah Vaughan.
In the mid 1970s Philip became mesmerised by the blossoming Punk movement. He joined Pete Holidai and Steve Rapid in forming Ireland’s first punk band, The Radiators From Space, “because they needed a guitarist”. They reached number 17 in the Irish charts with their debute single “Television Screen”. During the recording of their first album lead singer Steve Rapid left and Philip stepped forward to fill the role.
The Radiators from Space organised a punk festival in Dublin, but security was a problem. A audience member was killed during the show, and subsequently nobody would book the Radiators from Space to play.
The group moved to London, changed their name to The Radiators, and recorded the LP “Ghostown”.
In 1981 Philip recorded a five-track mini LP of Berthold Brecht and Kurt Weill songs called “Songs From Bill’s Dancehall”. He performed his Brecht/Weill show with Christy Moore and Donal Lunny’s group Moving Hearts, but it wasn’t successful. He got a job in Camden’s Rock On record store, where Elvis Costello was a customer. Philip talked to him about a single he wanted to record and Elvis agreed to produce it. The A side was “The Captains And The Kings” from Brendan Behan’s play “The Hostage” and the B side was a re-recording of The Radiators'”Faithful Departed”. The single was released on Elvis’ own label IMP in 1984.
Philip asked The Pogues’ manager Frank Murray to manage him too. But Philip was more of a producer than an artist then. He produced among others The Men They Couldn’t Hang and Agnes Bernelle. The Pogues were going on their first tour outside the UK, but Jem Finer was unable to tour, so somebody had to replace him. Frank asked Philip and he agreed to do it, even though he’d never played the banjo before. After that tour Philip stayed in the band.
In 1989 Philip took part in a tribute album to Phil Lynott called “Ode To A Black Man”, released on cassette in different versions in 1989 and 1991. He also sang a duet with Mary Coughlan on the title track of a 1990 charity album “For The Children” by the group LILT. This project was led by Ron Kavana and included different Irish musicians, including The Pogues. Philip also did a solo version of “Thousands Are Sailing” for the soundtrack to a BBC documentary about Irish music called “Bringing It All Back Home”.
You can read more on Philips life and work on the Pogues website: http://www.pogues.com/PastPogues/PChevron/PChevron.html
One of the finest songwriters Ireland has ever had.Tracks by Phil Chevron