Former Smiths Bassist Andy Rourke Dies at Age 59

Blitz Vega (L to R: Andy Rourke, Kav Sandhu)

Former Smiths Bassist Andy Rourke Dies at Age 59

There’s a Mild That Will By no means Go Out

Could 19, 2023

Pictures by Lexi Bonin (Reybee, Inc. PR)

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When one thinks about The Smiths, the primary picture that involves thoughts is that of Morrissey. A whirling dervish, bedecked with gladioli with a Nineteen Fifties, Nationwide Well being Service listening to help dangling from his shirt. Your thoughts’s eye could then journey to Johnny Marr, coaxing rippling, jangling melodies from a giant pink guitar as he friends from beneath an immaculate Brian Jones hairdo. What you in all probability gained’t recall to mind is bassist Andy Rourke. Standing on the again, subsequent to drummer Mike Joyce, Rourke, with the minimal of fuss, added an additional layer of wealthy melody and a beautiful supple groove to each track, making the music of the Smiths really easy to bop to. Sadly, in a social media publish at present (Could nineteenth), his lifelong good friend Johnny Marr wrote, “It’s with deep disappointment that we announce the passing of Andy Rourke after a prolonged sickness with pancreatic most cancers. Andy will likely be remembered as a sort and delightful soul by those that knew him and as a supremely gifted musician by music followers.” He was simply 59.

On the age of 11, Rourke met Marr (then Johnny Maher) at college they usually took each alternative to play music collectively. Each had been budding guitarists, however when a band that Marr was placing collectively wanted a bassist, Rourke effortlessly stepped as much as that function. The bass grew to become his voice for the remainder of his profession.

Whereas his contemporaries had been listening to The Kinks and The Who or taking part in alongside to information by Intercourse Pistols or The Conflict, Rourke was busy learning Stanley Clarke’s jazz fusion type or Parliament and Funkadelic. It was these influences that set him aside. When he joined The Smiths in 1982, his exact but funky taking part in was one other distinctive promoting level in an already distinctive band. Rourke’s ability in having the ability to play difficult, melodic basslines which by no means interfered with Marr’s intricate guitar components and Joyce’s stable, unflashy drumming was an enormous issue within the band’s sound. Songs like “This Charming Man,” “Barbarism Begins at Dwelling,” and “Bigmouth Strikes Once more” profit massively from Rourke’s contribution. By no means as soon as does he steal focus from Morrissey and Marr, however he provides an outstanding melodic counterpoint for individuals who select to tune in to it.

The Smiths rose rapidly from indie press-darlings to mainstream stars and after three albums (The Smiths, Meat is Homicide and the sensible The Queen is Useless) the cracks started to indicate. Rourke was fired from the band in 1986 on account of his use of heroin and was briefly changed by Aztec Digital camera’s Craig Gannon. After simply two weeks, Rourke was again and Gannon switched to guitar. The band (minus Gannon) recorded their ultimate studio album Strangeways Right here We Come earlier than they lastly, inevitably crumbled.

Rourke may have walked away from music at that time, protected within the data that he had made a big contribution to one of many defining bands of that period. As a substitute, he saved on going, working with Sinéad O’Connor and Morrissey within the early ’90s earlier than happening to play with The Pretenders on their 1994 album Final of the Independents. He toured with Badly Drawn Boy for 2 years and fashioned Freebass—an unwieldy ensemble initially consisting of Rourke with fellow bassists Peter Hook (Pleasure Division, New Order) and Gary “Mani” Mounfield (The Stone Roses, Primal Scream). His tenure was temporary and he severed his ties with the band when he moved to New York in 2009 and started to work as a DJ. In 2014, he joined D.A.R.Okay with Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan, releasing the album Science Agrees in 2016.

Certainly one of his final initiatives noticed him reunited with Johnny Marr—“Sturdy Ceaselessly” by Blitz Vega mixed Marr’s signature guitar type with Rourke’s effortlessly danceable bass alongside former Blissful Mondays member Kav Sandhu. Sadly, we’ll by no means know what this mixture may have been able to as on Could nineteenth Rourke died from pancreatic most cancers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Most cancers Heart in New York Metropolis.

Though he selected to depart the highlight to folks like Morrissey, Johnny Marr, Chrissie Hynde, Peter Hook, and Dolores O’Riordan, his contributions to their work had been something however slight. His traces had been rigorously composed and introduced out the strengths in each member of no matter ensemble he performed with. He was additionally conscious of his standing—in an interview with The Rocker in 2012, he stated; “I’m all the time very well mannered to Smiths followers, my followers, as a result of with out them, then we’d be nowhere. I hate it when artists and musicians are dismissive of their followers, they gained’t take an image with them, they gained’t speak to them, they only stroll proper via…I feel that’s horrible. I all the time attempt to signal stuff, take images.”

On his web site at present, Morrissey spoke fondly of his ex-bandmate, saying, “He won’t ever die so long as his music is heard. He didn’t ever know his personal energy, and nothing that he performed had been performed by another person. His distinction was so terrific and unconventional and he proved it might be completed.” It was his old style good friend Johnny Marr who greatest encapsulated Rourke’s legacy. On his social media channels, he wrote; “Watching him play these dazzling basslines was an absolute privilege and genuinely one thing to behold. However one time which all the time involves thoughts was once I sat subsequent to him on the mixing desk watching him play his bass on the track ‘The Queen Is Useless.’ It was so spectacular that I stated to myself: ‘I’ll always remember this second.’”

So long as folks take heed to The Smiths or any of the opposite initiatives he was concerned with, Rourke will likely be a presence. Irrespective of how bleak the lyric, how intricate the guitar line, Rourke all the time made positive that there was one thing else to take heed to. To bop to. He could have favored the shadows, however his masterful taking part in was on the forefront of an enviable canon of fashionable music.

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