And then it’s overOh, what a hell of a show.

Steve Mackey, the bass guitarist for Pulp with his model good looks and an even bigger wellspring of talents, has passed away at 56. His wife, stylist Katie Grand, announced the sad news on her Instagram:


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A post shared by STEVE MACKEY (@steve__mackey)

Pulp posted their own tribute: a photo of their lost bandmate hiking in the Andes during the group’s 2012 reunion:


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A post shared by Pulp (@welovepulp)

Mackey joined Pulp in 1989, and went on to play on all their subsequent studio albums. Throughout the 90s, Mackey’s formidable bass prowess anchored Pulp’s biggest hits, including Common People, Disco 2000, and Lipgloss. Mackey’s enthusiasm for dance music led to Pulp’s signature uptempo. “We always wanted to be a pop band, and that’s what we are. The songs always felt like pop songs and now they are, so I suppose that’s an achievement,” he reflected in an interview.

In 1995, the group became a late replacement for The Stone Roses to headline that year’s Glastonbury Festival and went on to play one of the most memorable sets in the event’s history. Pulp went on hiatus in 2002, but re-formed a decade later to release an update of a demo track called After You. In 2011, their comeback “secret” set drew one of the biggest crowds ever to the festival.

Mackey’s solo pursuits were staggering: he co-wrote and produced songs on Florence + the Machine’s debut album Lungs; he produced tracks for Arcade Fire’s Everything Now, he co-produced the MIA single Galang; he worked with Spiritualized on And Nothing Hurt, he helped The Horrors on their early recordings; and continued to collaborate with Cocker on the latter’s solo endeavours.

Mackey, also an accomplished photographer, worked on various fashion and filmmaking projects, boasting Miu Miu, Giorgio Armani, Moncler and Saint Laurent on his roster of clients. He collaborated with Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele on music direction for the label as well as his wife’s magazine Love. In October of 2022, Mackey gracefully declined participation in the series of reunion concerts slated for Pulp this summer, opting instead to dedicate his time to these other pursuits.

Bandmate Nick Banks’ final tribute to Mackey described him as a “brilliantly talented individual” who “fought so valiantly to stay with us.” He will be sorely missed.

Tell me when the spaceship lands
’cause all this has just got to mean something.

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