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Pulp's Steve Mackey Has Died, Aged 56
Christian Eede , March 2nd, 2023 16:04

"Steve made things happen, in his life and in the band," Pulp said in a statement

Steve Mackey, the record producer and longstanding bassist for Pulp, has died, aged 56.

Confirming the news today (March 2), Mackey's wife, Katie Grand, wrote in an Instagram post: "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 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. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all the NHS staff who worked tirelessly for Steve. He will be missed beyond words."

In their own collective statement, Pulp said: "Our beloved friend and bass player Steve Mackey passed away this morning. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones."

Sharing a photo of Mackey taken during the band's tour of South America in 2012, the group said: "We had a day off and Steve suggested we go climbing in the Andes. 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, in his life and in the band, and 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."

Born in Sheffield in November 1966, Mackey made friends with Richard Hawley while at school, with the two going on to play together as members of Pulp. Before joining the band in 1989 to play on their Fire Records-released album Separations, he played bass for another Sheffield band called Trolley Dog Shag.

Mackey remained part of Pulp as they broke through into the mainstream in the '90s, playing bass on albums such as Different Class, This Is Hardcore and We Love Life before the band went on extended hiatus in 2002. They reunited in 2010 and headed out on a world tour across 2011 and 2012, with Mackey joining the group for the run of shows. He also played on the band's 2013 single 'After You', produced by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy, which was the only new material that they released post-reunion.

In addition to his work with Pulp, Mackey was an in-demand songwriter and producer, and formed a partnership with Ross Orton as Cavemen. The pair worked with M.I.A. to co-write and produce her singles 'Galang' and 'Sunshowers', which ultimately saw the artist sign to Interscope and release debut album Arular. They also produced the cut 'Bird Flu' on her follow-up album, Kala.

Mackey linked up again with Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker in 2006 and 2009 to play on the latter's solo albums Jarvis and Further Complications. The pair both also featured alongside Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood and Phil Selway as part of a fictitious band called The Weird Sisters in the 2005 film Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire.

Further songwriting and production credits for Mackey have come on albums by the likes of Florence & The Machine, The Long Blondes, Marianne Faithfull and Arcade Fire, while he was also enlisted to record and mix Dean Blunt's Rough Trade album debut Black Metal in 2014.

Pulp are due to play another series of reunion gigs through 2023, but Mackey had confirmed before his death that he would not be taking part in this latest iteration of the group.