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Steve Mackey, Pulp Bassist, Dies at 56

Band shared the news in a social media post on Thursday morning
Steve Mackey
(Credit: Gary Wolstenholme/Redferns)

Steve Mackey, Pulp‘s longtime bassist, has died at the age of 56. The band announced the news in a social media post this morning (March 2) but didn’t reveal a cause of death. The Guardian reports that Mackey died after a three-month stay in a hospital.

“Our beloved friend & bass player Steve Mackey passed away this morning. Our thoughts are with his family & loved ones,” the band said. “Safe travels, Steve. We hope to catch up with you one day. All our love xx.”

Mackey joined Pulp in 1988 after having frequently attended the band’s gigs in London and its home base of Sheffield. Mackey was credited with expanding Pulp’s musical horizons in the late 1980s and early ’90s, particularly in the realm of electronic and dance music, which he introduced to frontman Jarvis Cocker. He remained in the band through its ’90s high-water marks, including the hit albums His ‘n’ Hers, Different Class and This Is Hardcore.

Mackey and Cocker continued working together, including on Cocker’s solo material, after Pulp disbanded in 2002. The musician was back on bass when Pulp reunited to tour for a two-year period starting in 2011, but announced last fall that he would not take part in the band’s upcoming first shows in a decade for undisclosed reasons. Pulp is scheduled to return to the stage for a summer tour May 26 at Bridlington Spa in Bridlington, U.K.

In addition to his work with Pulp, Mackey was a producer who worked with the likes of M.I.A., the Long Blondes, and Arcade Fire. He helped produce and co-write several songs on Florence + the Machine’s acclaimed 2009 debut album, Lungs.

“We are incredibly saddened to hear about the passing of Steve Mackey, legendary bassist of Pulp and established producer in his own right,” reads a statement from Pulp’s longtime label, Rough Trade. “A camaraderie that translated into their brilliant music. Our thoughts are with the band, his family and friends. RIP Steve.”