Issue #237 / May 2023

I just heard that Andy Rourke, the bassist of the Smiths, has died. I’m not sure why I’m mentioning this to you… it just makes me sad. I don’t really have anyone else to mention it to. I love the Smiths. I find it profoundly amazing how many lives music can touch—how many personal experiences and memories are created through it. I’m not sure I’m putting that into words right. It makes me think, did he know that years after his band’s prime, people like me would still be so immensely affected by the songs he helped create? To really listen—and I mean really listen, to be absorbed by the senses—is quite the experience, and every instrument and part played is integral to that experience, helping to heighten and elevate it. Andy will be missed. I have no idea how terrible his family and friends must feel. I do, however, know the experience of a listener, and I hope that he knows, wherever he is, that his music will continue out past him and continue to help people both cope with—and more vibrantly experience—this very strange thing that we call life. I suppose I’m partially sending this to you as a way to thank you for your music, as well, and I wish that I could thank everyone else who has made music that I enjoy. I feel like enjoy isn’t the right word… it merely serves as shorthand. Something a little more like “affected me profoundly throughout pivotal periods of my life” might be more accurate. I hope you understand. Thank you, Nick Cave, and thank you, Andy Rourke.

A.S.Y, Houston, Texas, USA

Dear A.S.Y,

I know I said I’d be off the grid for a couple of weeks while I’m in the studio, but I was very moved by your beautifully articulated response to the sad passing of Andy Rourke. I think we can all benefit from reading your letter — to understand that the business of making music is no trivial matter, and that what is created indeed reaches out long past all of us. God bless Andy Rourke, God bless the Smiths and God bless you all.

Love Nick


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