Artist News

Pulp bassist Steve Mackey dies

By | Published on Friday 3 March 2023

Pulp bassist Steve Mackey has died aged 56, his family have confirmed in a statement.

In a post on social media, Mackey’s wife Katie wrote: “After three months in hospital, fighting with all his strength and determination, we are shocked and devastated to have said goodbye 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”, she went on. “Steve was the most talented man I knew, 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”, she added. “I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all the NHS staff who worked tirelessly for Steve. He will be missed beyond words”.

Pulp themselves led the tributes to Mackey, stating: “Our beloved friend and bass player Steve Mackey passed away this morning. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones. Safe travels, Steve. We hope to catch up with you one day”.

They also posted a picture of Mackey taken in the Andes when the band toured South America in 2012. “We had a day off and Steve suggested we go climbing in the Andes”, they explained. “So we did and it was a completely magical experience. Far more magical than staring at the hotel room wall all day (which is probably what we’d have done otherwise)”.

“Steve made things happen”, they concluded, “in his live and 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”.

Having become part of the Sheffield music scene in the 1980s, Mackey joined Pulp in 1989, spending the next thirteen years in the band as they became one of the key acts of the Britpop era, achieving commercial success throughout the 1990s with albums like ‘His N Hers’, ‘Different Class’ and ‘This Is Hardcore’.

After the band went on hiatus in 2002, Mackey wrote and produced music with a number of other artists and bands, including MIA, The Long Blondes, Florence + The Machine and Arcade Fire, as well as also continuing to collaborate with Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker.

He also worked on various other creative projects, which included film and photography work, as well as co-curating the music programme for London’s Frieze Art Fair.

Although Mackey rejoined his Pulp bandmates for their reunion in 2011 and 2012, he wasn’t planning on taking part in the reunion shows scheduled for this summer.

Wishing the band well at those shows, he told fans last autumn: “I’m exceptionally proud of the body of work we’ve created together … however I’ve decided to continue the work I’m engaged in – music, film-making and photography projects”.