Pulp Bassist Steve Mackey Passes Away, Aged 56

Photo Credit: Steve and Sara Emry / CC by 2.0

Pulp bassist Steve Mackey has passed away, aged 56, after several months in hospital.

Steve Mackey, best known as the bassist of the Sheffield indie band Pulp, has died at age 56, his family confirmed on Instagram. Mackey’s wife, Katie, posted the news to social media on Thursday, explaining that he had been hospitalized for the past three months.

“We are shocked and devastated to have said goodbye to my brilliant, beautiful husband,” she posted. “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.”

“Steve made things happen, in his life and in the band,” said Pulp in their own tribute posted shortly afterward, including a picture of Mackey in the snow-capped Andes mountains during the band’s 2012 tour. “We’d very much like to think that he’s back in those mountains now, on the next stage of his adventure.”

Steve Mackey (pictured left) was born in Sheffield in 1966, attending school with another Pulp band member, Richard Hawley. Mackey joined the band in 1989, a decade into its career, and first appeared on their third album Separations. The band saw its biggest successes after signing to Island Records in the early 1990s, with frontman Jarvis Cocker (pictured center) becoming a beloved Britpop character of the era.

After Pulp’s hiatus in 2002, Mackey co-wrote and produced songs for several artists, including MIA, Florence + The Machine, and Arcade Fire. He also photographed and directed campaign images and motion advertising for many brands, including Marc Jacobs and Armani.

Pulp is due to return on tour this summer for various reunion shows and festivals, including Isle of Wight, Latitude, and Trnsmt. Still, Mackey had previously announced he chose not to participate and decided to concentrate on his solo music, filmmaking, and photography projects.

“I think if you are in a band (that is) popular, then you might as well enjoy it,” Mackey said in 1996 of the band’s fame. “That’s what we always wanted to do, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with being silly. You’d be throwing away a bit of a golden opportunity — you might as well be a librarian all of your life.”