The Wire

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In Writing

Archive Portal: Steve Mackay

October 2015

The fourth of our series of posts shining a light into the darker recesses of The Wire's online archive of back issues. Derek Walmsley recommends Edwin Pouncey's article from December 2006 on the late saxophonist Steve Mackay.

Steve Mackay, the saxophonist best known for his work with The Stooges, died on 10 October. Mackay first crossed paths with Iggy Pop in Detroit in the late 1960s when he was playing with the group Carnal Kitchen, and he took a key role at The Stooges’s Fun House sessions, particularly on the freeform closing jam "LA Blues". He continued with Carnal Kitchen after Fun House, and reactivated the group name after he moved to San Francisco in the 1970s. By the early 2000s a new chapter had opened in Mackay’s career, playing with West Coast noise collective Smegma on 2004’s Thirtyyearsofservice, enjoying a long relationship with label collective Radon, who released his 2010 album Sometimes Like This I Talk, as well as working with underground European labels such as Qbico and Soopa. In 2013 he cropped up on the Muteant Sounds netlabel recording with The Blue Prostitutes, a group including Volcano The Bear's Aaron Moore. His last recordings to surface were released in 2014.

Edwin Pouncey profiled Mackay for The Wire 274 (December 2006)

Every issue of The Wire can be read online as part of the magazine's digital archive, which contains more than 380 issues of the magazine and 30,000 pages of experimental music history going back more than three decades. Full access to the archive is available exclusively to all the magazine's subscribers. For more information click here


I have loved saxophone since I was very young and I don't know how. Maybe I was into it the first time I heard the sound, which lingered in my head longingly. I tried to learn it but maybe I'm better as a listener.

Please rest in peace, you are a venerable artist.

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