Pulp bassist Steve Mackey dead at 56

Pulp's Steve Mackey in 2011
(Image credit: Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images)

Pulp bassist Steve Mackey has died, aged 56.

News of the Sheffield-born bassist's passing was announced today, March 2, by his wife, fashion stylist Katie Grand, on her Instagram page:

Grand writes: "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 have ever known, 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."

Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker paid his own respects to his bandmate, who he described as "our beloved friend", posting his tribute online alongside a photo of Mackey in the Andes.

“Our beloved friend & bass player Steve Mackey passed away this morning," Cocker writes. "Our thoughts are with his family & loved ones. This photo of Steve dates from when Pulp were on tour in South America in 2012.

“We had a day off & Steve suggested we go climbing in the Andes. So we did. & it was a completely magical experience. Far more magical than staring at the hotel room wall all day (which is probably what I’d have done otherwise). Steve made things happen. In his life & in the band. & 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. All our love xx.”

Mackey joined Pulp in 1989, and played on every studio album from 1992's Separations onwards. Last year the bassist announced that he would not be participating in the band's upcoming reunion shows.

"Pulp is a very important part of my creative life," Mackey said. "I’m exceptionally proud of the body of work we’ve created together. Jarvis and I remastered  Pulp’s entire Universal Records back catalogue together just over two years ago at Abbey Road Studios. It was a huge pleasure to do that and review our songs and recordings together.

"There have been wide reports of a full reunion for UK concerts today. However, I’ve decided to continue the work I’m engaged in – music, filmmaking and photography projects,  and will not be joining them for these UK  shows just announced.

"Wishing Candy, Nick, Mark and Jarvis the very best with forthcoming performances in the UK and also an enormous thanks to Pulp’s amazing fanbase, many of whom have sent me lovely messages today."

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.