Tributes paid to Frankie & The Heartstrings drummer Dave Harper, who has died

"This legend was unforgettable and we’re heartbroken over this loss," the band wrote in tribute

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.

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.”

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.”

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.”

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

“So sorry to hear of your loss. What a special, brilliant man. X,” Huw Stephens commented, with The Subways tweeting: “Sending all our love.”​

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).

Frankie & The Heartstrings released their third and most recent album, ‘Decency’, in 2015. It followed their 2011 debut ‘Hunger’ and 2013’s ‘The Days Run Away’.
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