Steve Mackey, Pulp Bassist, Dead at 56

He also produced songs for Florence + The Machine, M.I.A., and Arcade Fire

Steve Mackey of Pulp
Steve Mackey of Pulp, photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images

    Steve Mackey, longtime bassist of Pulp, has died at the age of 56.

    According to a statement from the band, Mackey passed away on Thursday morning. A cause of death was not disclosed.

    In a separate statement, his wife Katie Grand said that, “After three months in hospital, fighting with all his strength and determination, we are shocked and devastated to have said goodbye 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 knew, 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.”

    Mackey joined Pulp in 1989 shortly before they entered the studio to begin work on their third studio album, Separations. As a fan of house music, Mackey was particularly adept at crafting catchy, danceable grooves that would help propel Pulp to Britpop fame in the 1990s. He played on all of the band’s subsequent albums, including 1994’s His ‘n’ Hers, 1995’s Different Class, 1998’s This Is Hardcore, and 2001’s We Love Life.


    Following their initial breakup in 2002, Mackey participated in Pulp’s first reunion tour from 2011-2013. However, last October he announced that he would not join the band for its reunion shows in 2023.

    Outside of his work in Pulp, Mackey was a gifted songwriter and producer, who was credited for helping M.I.A. secure her first record deal. He worked on M.I.A.’s first two albums, Arular and Kala, and also produced tracks for Florence + The Machine, Palma Violets, and Arcade Fire.

    Mackey was also part of the fictional Harry Potter rock band The Weird Sisters alongside Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker and Radiohead members Jonny Greenwood and Phil Selway.