Frankie & The Heartstrings drummer Dave Harper has died, it has been confirmed.
The Sunderland band, who formed in 2008, shared the news on their official Twitter account this afternoon (August 26).
“We are desperately sad to announce that our dearest friend and drummer Dave Harper passed away in hospital last night,” they wrote.
“Where do we even start to describe what kind of person he was and what he meant to so many. This legend was unforgettable and we’re heartbroken over this loss.”
A cause of death is not yet known.
We are desperately sad to announce that our dearest friend and drummer Dave Harper passed away in hospital last night. Where do we even start to describe what kind of person he was and what he meant to so many. This legend was unforgettable and we’re heartbroken over this loss pic.twitter.com/7gB7BwSqMD
— Frankie Heartstrings (@FrankieStrings) August 26, 2021
Among those to have paid tribute on social media include The Cribs, Nadine Shah, Tim Burgess, Self Esteem, Gruff Rhys, The Subways, Dutch Uncles and Huw Stephens.
“We are all deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Dave Harper,” The Cribs wrote alongside an image of Harper. “The Cribs and Frankie and the Heartstrings shared many nights on the road together, as label mates and spiritual brothers.
“Dave was a dynamo on and off stage, and a true champion of independent, grassroots music. He will be remembered for his deep commitment to his home town, his irrepressible spirit, and of course the sense of community he built with Pop Recs – the absolute definition of DIY culture.”
Message from the band, regarding the wonderful Dave Harper. Sending all of our love to @FrankieStrings, Ruth, and Dave’s family pic.twitter.com/o6OVAgqAbQ
— The Cribs (@thecribs) August 26, 2021
Burgess said: “So sad to hear about Dave, he was a force of nature – always so good to see him. Thoughts are with his family”, while Self Esteem – aka Rebecca Lucy Taylor – tweeted: “RIP Dave Harper [heart emoji].”
Nadine Shah wrote that she was “totally devastated”, describing Harper as “incredibly funny, always giving me shit. I loved him. He was an incredible man and did so much for the Sunderland music scene. RIP buddy.”
Sending much love to the @FrankieStrings and @poprecsltd family. So sad to hear about Dave, he was a force of nature – always so good to see him. Thoughts are with his family pic.twitter.com/X879goR8XG
— Tim Burgess (@Tim_Burgess) August 26, 2021
I’ve just heard the news about the passing of Dave Harper. Am totally devastated. Dave was so incredibly funny, always giving me shit. I loved him. He was an incredible man and did so much for the Sunderland music scene. RIP buddy ❤️
— Nadine Shah (@nadineshah) August 26, 2021
RIP Dave Harper ♥️
— Rebecca Lucy Taylor (@SELFESTEEM___) August 26, 2021
Gruff Rhys posted: “So sorry to hear this – sending you all, all the best – hard to imagine a world without his enthusiasm and passion, I’ve never met anyone like him.”
Dutch Uncles said they were “truly at a loss for words” at the news of Harper’s passing, adding: “If you ever had the pleasure of meeting him you would know he possessed that unparalleled ability to put you in tears of laughter and terror in the same sentence.”
So sorry to hear this – sending you all, all the best – hard to imagine a world without his enthusiasm and passion, I’ve never met anyone like him
— Gruff Rhys (@gruffingtonpost) August 26, 2021
RIP Dave x pic.twitter.com/cdtPeAewpI
— Dutch Uncles (@dutchuncles) August 26, 2021
Dave was the best of us all: caring, compassionate and loving. We will miss him with all our hearts. The tributes will…
Posted by The Futureheads on Thursday, August 26, 2021
Dave was without question one of the good guys, a champion of the underdog, and quite rightly banned from the local Conservative Party Facebook page. He was an incredibly funny fucker and in possession of a warped sense of humour but he was a diamond.
— Andy Dawson (@profanityswan) August 26, 2021
“So sorry to hear of your loss. What a special, brilliant man. X,” Huw Stephens commented, with The Subways tweeting: “Sending all our love.”
So sorry to hear of your loss. What a special, brilliant man. X
— Huw Stephens (@huwstephens) August 26, 2021
Absolutely lost for words!
(Unlike Dave ever was ever)
Our thoughts and support go out to all connected.
One truly unique person who touched our lives for the good!
Don’t know what else to say.
We will never forget Dave Harper!
— Nath Brudenell (@Nath_Brudenell) August 26, 2021
What a devastating loss to independent music.
Dave Harper was a true one-off force of nature and generous human.
A few years ago, he kindly penned this beautiful and hilarious piece about touring for @IVW_UK. Was moving then, it's left us in bits now https://t.co/Er58LZyd2V https://t.co/9mcPjfpF1v
— Drowned in Sound ⚓️ (@DrownedinSound) August 26, 2021
Dave Harper was also one of the owners of the Sunderland record shop Pop Recs, which he ran with Heartstrings guitarist Michael McKnight (via the Sunderland Echo).