The Pop Group’s Mark Stewart dies aged 62

Steve Albini, Massive Attack, Portishead and Sleaford Mods have paid tribute to the "post-punk pioneer"

The Pop Group frontman Mark Stewart has died at the age of 62.

The band confirmed that he had died today in the early hours (April 21) on their official social media accounts. No cause of death has

“Mark is in Communion with Love. As Sufis say; there is no such thing as death, no one is going to die, but since death is so valuable, it has been hidden in the safe of fears,” the statement began.

“Mark’s family and friends respectfully ask to be given space at this difficult time.”

The band’s former label boss Daniel Miller contributed to the statement with a tribute to Stewart, in which he said: “I’ve known Mark as a friend and a fellow traveller for over 40 years, since he was the lead singer of The Pop Group. I have so many wonderful memories of him – some bizarre, some outrageous, but always inspiring and somehow for a reason.

“His musical influence has been much greater than acknowledged. He was always encouraging young artists, especially those local to him in Bristol – many have gone on to be global stars.

“His warmth and kindness as a friend has always been something very important to me. We had so many laughs together, and he had so much creative energy. The last time I saw Mark a few months ago in Bristol, performing an improvised set with Lee Ranaldo. He was nothing but hilarious, his piece was basically a stand-up routine, and after the show we spent many hours putting the world to rights, it’s a wonderful memory, I will miss him greatly.

“Mark, I can’t imagine you being anything other than restless but I hope you find your very special place.”

Mark Stewart
Mark Stewart of The Pop Group. Credit: Ross Gilmore/Getty

The band’s guitarist Gareth Sager added: “Mark was the most amazing mind of my generation, RIP,” while record producer Adrian Sherwood said: “Thank you my brother. You were the biggest musical influence in my life and our extended family will miss you so so much. Love forever.”

Stewart founded The Pop Group as a teenager in Bristol in 1977 along with Sager, John Waddington, Simon Underwood, and Bruce Smith. The politically oriented band blended post-punk with dub and reggae and released two albums, 1979’s ‘Y’ and 1980’s ‘For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?’. The group disbanded in 1980 with a final performance at rally for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), a campaign Stewart continued to be heavily involved with.

They later reformed in 2010 and released two further albums, 2015’s ‘Citizen Zombie’ and 2016’s ‘Honeymoon On Mars’. Stewart’s last performance with the band was in the ruins of Coventry Cathedral to celebrate City of Culture 2021, at the invitation of the late Terry Hall.

Tributes have been paid to Stewart from across the music world.

Portishead’s Geoff Barrow wrote: “Incredibly sad to hear about the Passing of “The Godfather of Bristol” Mark Stewart. Bristol would be a very different place artistically and politically if it not been for Marks influence on all of us My deepest condolences go to his family and friends.”

“Post punk pioneer and original chief rocker. RIP Mark Stewart. Bristol will never be the same,” added Massive Attack.

Steve Albini also paid tribute to Stewart, writing: “The Pop Group brought all new ideas into the punk landscape, ranting politics and abstraction of form. They inhabited/evoked dub without resorting to minstrelsy. Breathtaking musically, but Mark Stewart’s delivery made them hard as nails. Requiescat.”


Cosey Fanni Tutti said she was “shocked and so very sad” to hear of his death, while Sleaford Mods said he was “proper” and “didn’t care for the dogshit”.

Check out more tributes below:



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