Stacy leaves school at the age of 16 after failing to attend regularly. He holds a few jobs, including working at a carwash and as a used car salesman for nearly two years. One of Stacy’s early bands was The Millwall Chainsaws, which Stacy describes as more of an idea than an actual band, although they perform seven gigs within two years. The band features Stacy on vocals and Shane MacGowan on guitar. Stacy and MacGowan had met at the Roundhouse at a Ramones concert that also featured The Saints and Talking Heads. They play some Irish rebel songs, later renaming themselves the New Republicans. This band later forms the genesis of The Pogues. Stacy has heard a good deal of Irish music growing up in London but becomes increasingly interested in it after meeting MacGowan.
Stacy co-founds The Pogues, along with MacGowan, Jem Finer, and James Fearnley, and appears on all of their recordings. He is credited with suggesting the band’s original name, Pogue Mahone, which is Irish for “kiss my arse.” The band’s original intent is for MacGowan and Stacy to share vocal duties, but decide to leave them to MacGowan after the first performance. Stacy opts to learn the tin whistle. Stacy still frequently contributes backing vocals and occasional lead vocals throughout his long tenure with the band. After MacGowan is fired from the The Pogues in 1991, Joe Strummer fills in for him for a short period after which Stacy assumes the role of lead vocalist. The Pogues record two albums with Stacy on lead vocals – Waiting for Herb and Pogue Mahone. Stacy resumes his original role in the band when they begin performing reunion shows in 2001.
Stacy has appeared in both live performances and on recordings with many fellow musicians, including Astral Social Club, Filthy Thievin’ Bastards, and long-time friend Steve Earle. In 2005, Stacy performs two songs with Patti Smith at the Meltdown festival. In 2007, he appears on Dropkick Murphys’ version of “Flannigan’s Ball” with Ronnie Drew of The Dubliners.
Stacy appears in several movies and television productions over his career, including the Alex Cox films Straight to Hell (1986) and Walker (1986), as well as Eat the Rich (1987). Most recently, he appears as “Slim Jim” Lynch in two seasons of the HBO series Treme, which is set in New Orleans.
Stacy and his wife have lived in New Orleans since 2010.