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The music industry pays tribute to legendary booking agent Steve Strange, dead at 53

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(Image credit: Steve Strange)

Steve Strange, booking agent for Queens Of The Stone Age, Coldplay, Eminem, Snow Patrol, Stiff Little Fingers, Jimmy Eat World, Ash and many more, has died. He was 53.

The news of Strange’s passing was shared in a social media post by X-Ray Touring, the live booking agency he-co-founded in 2005.

The statement reads: 

“X-ray Touring are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Strange, one of the founding partners of the agency, has passed away after a short illness. 

"We have lost a legendary figure in our personal and professional lives that we will all deeply miss.

"Steve was a unique individual within our industry, his overwhelming love of music lead to a 30 year plus career guiding the touring of an eclectic mix of artists from all genres of music that he adored. 

"A universally known, hugely respected and loved character - if you hadn’t already seen him at a gig or festival, you’d most certainly hear his infectious and infamous laugh. 

"Steve had the best ears in the agency business, signing and developing the careers of countless world class Artists from small club venues to vast international multi-stadium tours.

"He will always be remembered with love by his friends & colleagues at X-ray and the world over.”

Artists including Strange’s close friend Ricky Warwick (Thin Lizzy/Black Star Riders), Garbage, Ash, Frank Turner, Mark Lanegan, Thunder guitarist Luke Morley and more have paid tribute to the larger-than-life industry legend.

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Born in 1968 in Lisburn, Northern Ireland and raised in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, Strange began his career in the music business as a drummer, moving to London in the mid ’80s after his band, hard rockers No Hot Ashes, signed to GWR Records.

When the band split in 1990, Strange opted to stay in London, working in artist management and live booking, before being offered the chance to return to Belfast to manage bookings at the city’s Limelight venue. He subsequently returned to London, taking up a position at the Helter Skelter agency in 1997, and eventually moving on in 2005 to co-found X-Ray Touring. 

His artists included some of the biggest names in music, including Coldplay, Eminem, Snow Patrol, Queens Of The Stone Age, Stiff Little Fingers, Ash, Thunder, Saxon, Alkaline Trio, Jimmy Eat World, L7, Chance The Rapper and more.

He also launched Strange World Management, to manage the affairs of Last in Line, Wayward Sons, FM and more.

A rocker to the end, Strange also played drums in Fastway, alongside his close friend ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke, before the guitarist’s passing in 2018.