The Smiths’ Mike Joyce appears on BBC Breakfast to honour Andy Rourke: “He just put the bass on and magic would happen”

Former Smiths drummer Mike Joyce appeared on BBC Breakfast today (May 21) to pay tribute to his late bandmate Andy Rourke.

Rourke died after “a lengthy illness with pancreatic cancer”, confirmed a statement from bandmate Johnny Marr on Friday (May 19). He was 59 years old.

Since then, tributes from across the music industry have poured in, with Joyce himself hailing Rourke’s “perpetual” musical legacy, while Morrissey said of Rourke: “I just hope … wherever Andy has gone … that he’s OK. He will never die as long as his music is heard.”


Speaking of his bandmate on TV on Sunday morning, Joyce said: “I don’t think Andy realised just how good a bass player he was. I don’t think Andy ever really embraced just how momentous his contribution towards music is.

He added: “I don’t think he ever grasped that and realised that. He was such a self-effacing character, he never saw himself as a great bass player because it was so effortless for him and so easy for him. He just put the bass on and magic would happen.”

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Telling the story of how they met up in New York this February, Joyce added: “It was brilliant, it was only four days we went over.

“I wanted to see him. He’s not very good on texting, he’s not very good on Skype and what have you … I wanted to see him face-to-face and say hello and see how he was doing. It was great to see him, it was lovely.

“Regardless of how long it’s been since we’ve seen each other, every time we meet up, it’s as though it was yesterday.”


Writing on Twitter on Friday, Joyce hailed Rourke as “not only the most talented bass player I’ve ever had the privilege to play with but the sweetest, funniest lad I’ve ever met”.

The drummer continued: “Andy’s left the building, but his musical legacy is perpetual. I miss you so much already. Forever in my heart mate.”

Other artists to have paid their respects to the late bassist include Bonehead, Suede‘s Mat Osman, New Order‘s Tom Chapman, and The Charlatans frontman and soloist Tim Burgess.