Steve Mackey, Pulp Bassist and Producer, Dies at 56

Steve Mackey, longtime producer and bassist for the legendary Britpop group Pulp, has died. The band broke the news today (March 2) on their official Instagram account. “Our dear friend and bassist Steve Mackey passed away this morning,” the statement read. “Our thoughts are with his family and his loved ones.” Find the full Pulp announcement below. Mackey’s wife said her husband died “after three months in the hospital” from an undisclosed illness. The Guardian reports. Mackey was 56 years old.

Mackey grew up in Sheffield, the northern English city where the Pulp formed in the late 1970s. After being a fan for several years, he joined the band in 1989 and contributed to their third LP, 1991. separations. Mackey played on all of Pulp’s subsequent records, including the influential trio of his ‘n’ her (1994), different class (1995), and this is hard (1998). different class, a modern classic and a defining document of Britpop, includes their biggest song, the class-conscious disco hit “Common People.” Pulp released their latest studio album, we love lifein 2001.

After Pulp went on hiatus in 2002, Mackey expanded his repertoire and began a fruitful career as a producer. He worked on MIA’s early singles like “Galang” and “Sunshowers” as well as “Bird Flu” from her 2007 breakout album, Creek. Mackey also produced for artists such as Kelis, the Kills, Arcade Fire, and Florence and the Machine (he co-wrote tracks for the latter’s debut album, Lungs).

In 2011, Pulp briefly reformed for a world tour, and two years later, re-recorded an old demo titled “After You,” their latest release to date. Last year, the group announced that they would play a slate of reunion concerts in 2023 (the first of which occurred in October). Mackey wished them well but said he would not be joining them, writing on Instagram: “I have decided to continue the work I am involved in: music, film and photography projects.”

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In her death announcement, Mackey’s wife, hairstylist Katie Grand, wrote of her husband:

Steve was the most talented man I have ever met, an outstanding musician, producer, photographer and filmmaker. As in life, he was adored by all whose paths he crossed in the many creative disciplines he conquered. I would like to express my sincere thanks to all the NHS staff who worked tirelessly for Steve. He will be missed beyond words. The family has requested privacy at this time.

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