Steve Mackey, bass guitarist of Britpop band Pulp, dies aged 56

(left to right) Nick Banks, Candida Doyle, Mark Webber, Steve Mackey and Jarvis Cocker of Pulp (Ian West/PA) (PA Wire)
(left to right) Nick Banks, Candida Doyle, Mark Webber, Steve Mackey and Jarvis Cocker of Pulp (Ian West/PA) (PA Wire)

Steve Mackey, the bass guitarist of Britpop band Pulp, has died aged 56.

The group, who were known for their hits including Common People and Disco 2000, announced on their Instagram page that the musician died on Thursday.

Alongside a photo of Mackey climbing in the Andes, the band wrote: “Our beloved friend & bass player Steve Mackey passed away this morning. 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.

“And it was a completely magical experience. Far more magical than staring at the hotel room wall all day (which is probably what we’d have done otherwise).

“Steve made things happen. In his life and in the band. And 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 studied at the Royal College of Art and later joined Pulp in 1989.

He played across many of the band’s most successful studio albums including 1994’s His ‘n’ Hers, which gained them prominence in the UK, and their chart-topping albums 1995’s Different Class and 1998’s This Is Hardcore.

Outside of his work in Pulp, Mackey also produced and recorded with many artists including M.I.A, Florence + The Machine and Arcade Fire.

He also photographed and directed campaign images and motion advertising for many leading brands including Miu Miu, Marc Jacobs and Armani.

The group’s best known line-up consisted of frontman Jarvis Cocker, Russell Senior, Candida Doyle, Nick Banks, Mark Webber and Mackey.

In 2017, they were recognised with the Ivor Novello Award for outstanding song collection.

Last year, Cocker confirmed the group’s reunion, saying they will play “some concerts” in 2023, though bassist Mackey was not due to appear at the upcoming shows.

The group is scheduled to play a string of festivals in summer 2023, including Isle of Wight, Latitude and Trnsmt.