Pulp bassist Steve Mackey has died

Noel Gallagher, Sleaford Mods, Massive Attack and members of Radiohead, Supergrass and Suede all pay their respects

Pulp bassist Steve Mackey has died, the band have confirmed.

In a post online, frontman Jarvis Cocker announced that the 56 year-old passed away this morning (March 2) and shared a photo of him during Pulp’s tour of South America in 2012.

He wrote: “Our beloved friend & bass player Steve Mackey passed away this morning. Our thoughts are with his family & loved ones. This photo of Steve dates from when Pulp were on tour in South America in 2012.

“We had a day off & Steve suggested we go climbing in the Andes. So we did. & it was a completely magical experience. Far more magical than staring at the hotel room wall all day (which is probably what I’d have done otherwise). Steve made things happen. In his life & in the band. & we’d very much like to think that he’s back in those mountains now, on the next stage of his adventure. Safe travels, Steve. We hope to catch up with you one day. All our love xx.”

A cause of death has not yet been confirmed but Mackey’s wife, stylist Katie Grand, revealed he had been in hospital in recent months.

In an Instagram post, she wrote: “After three months in hospital, fighting with all his strength and determination, we are shocked and devastated to have said goodbye to my brilliant, beautiful husband, Steve Mackey. Steve died today, a loss which has left myself, his son Marley, parents Kath and Paul, sister Michelle and many friends all heartbroken.

“Steve was the most talented man I have ever known, an exceptional musician, producer, photographer and filmmaker. As in life, he was adored by everyone whose paths he crossed in the multiple creative disciplines he conquered. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all the NHS staff who worked tirelessly for Steve. He will be missed beyond words.”

A host of musicians have come out to pay their respects to the late Pulp bassist with Noel Gallagher writing: “Go safe Mackey lad. You were one of the good guys. Big Love. NGX.”

Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien also wrote a lengthy post in which he described Mackey as “a lovely, lovely man and musician”.

He added: “I just wanted to say how sad I am to hear of Steve’s passing today. I didn’t know him that well but whenever we crossed paths I felt his warmth and kindness.”

O’Brien then proceeded to tell a story about how he first met the late Pulp bassist.

He added: “The first time we met was in 1995 at the height of Britpop.. Pulp were the cool, art school band of that time .. Radiohead were not cool at all …. we were very much outsiders and made to feel it by a couple of bands at the Britpop high table .. We were playing the smash hits awards (yikes??!!)and so were Pulp.. we were all in this huge changing room with them, take that and an assortment of pop stars .. Anyway, needless to say we felt like the odd ones out and deeply uncomfortable.. you can see it in our mimed performance to my iron lung (that’s a whole other story)… Anyway Steve comes up to me and introduces himself and proceeds to tell me how much he and his girlfriend love the Bends.. REALLY loved the Bends .. he was completely enthusing over it and I could tell that they had connected with it..you know he didn’t have to do that .. he was the High Priest of cool .. but he did and it meant the world..”

Supergrass drummer Danny Goffey also shared a very lengthy post dedicated to Mackey.

“A Musician, Producer, Photographer, Filmmaker, Husband, Father and good friend. We have sadly lost one of the greats of our generation, and way too young,” he wrote before telling his own story which you can view below.

Suede bassist Matt Osman also expressed his condolences adding: “So sad to hear of Steve Mackey’s passing. Wonderful musician and producer, and a true gentleman,” alongside a picture of Mackey.

Sleaford Mods described the late Pulp bassist as a lovely bloke and added: “Very sorry to hear the passing of Steve Mackey. We worked at his studio in 2016. He was a lovely bloke. Thoughts are with his family.”

Elsewhere, Massive Attack said: “‘And tell me when the spaceship lands ’cause all this has just got to mean something’. Steve Mackey 🖤.”

You can view further tributes below:

Mackey joined the band in 1989 first contributing to their third album ‘Separations’. He went on to play on all their subsequent studio albums.

More recently he had gone on to be a successful producer working with The Kills and Cornershop. He also co-wrote and produced songs on Florence + The Machine’s debut album ‘Lungs’.

Posting two photos on his Instagram upon learning of Mackey’s death, Florence + The Machine guitarist Rob Ackroyd reflected on his first meeting with the bassist.

“The first time I ever met Steve Mackey in 2007 or 2008, Florence was recording with Steve at his studio in the old school house on Arnold Circus in Shoreditch. I was invited along to track guitar; first time i’d ever been part of a proper session which was nerve-racking in itself, but the fact that the coolest bass player England had ever produced was leading the session made it all the more daunting,” he wrote.

“But Steve dispelled all the anxiety in a heartbeat with absolute kindness, encouragement and inspiration. We were very lucky to have a legend like him support us in the early days. Here’s to Sheffield’s finest”.

Meanwhile, last October, Mackey announced he would not be joining Pulp for their forthcoming reunion tour.

He wrote at the time: “Pulp is a very important part of my creative life. I’m exceptionally proud of the body of work we’ve created together. Jarvis and I remastered Pulp’s entire Universal Records back catalogue together just over two years ago at Abbey Road Studios. It was a huge pleasure to do that and review our songs and recordings together.”

He continued: “There have been wide reports of a full reunion for UK concerts today. However, I’ve decided to continue the work I’m engaged in – music, filmmaking and photography projects,  and will not be joining them for these UK  shows just announced.

“Wishing Candy, Nick, Mark and Jarvis the very best with forthcoming performances in the UK and also an enormous thanks to Pulp’s amazing fanbase, many of whom have sent me lovely messages today.”

Cocker confirmed last summer that the Sheffield band would be hitting the road for their first gigs together since 2012, including a run of UK and Ireland shows this summer.

The tour kicks off in Bridlington on May 26, with further dates scheduled for Dublin (June 9), London (July 1), Scarborough (9), Cardiff (11) and Sheffield (14, 15). Additionally, Pulp will headline Isle Of Wight Festival, TRNSMT, Latitude and Neighbourhood Weekender.

Any remaining tickets for the group’s 2023 headline concerts can be purchased here.

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