Shropshire Star

Andy Rourke: Stourbridge musician recalls The Smiths' 'lovely' and 'genius' bass player

A West Midland musician who performed on stage with Andy Rourke has paid tribute to The Smiths bass player, following his death aged 59.

Andy Rourke in 2006 during a 'Manchester Versus Cancer' charity concert. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Rourke died following a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Dave Bennett, who was lead guitarist in Stourbridge-based tribute band The Other Smiths, recalled how he ended up working with his hero after Rourke had watched him perform at a gig in Manchester.

He described the bassist as being a 'lovely guy' who had been a pleasure to work with.

Dave, a 55-year-old builder from Stourbridge, first met Rourke while performing at the Witchwood Club in Ashton-under-Lyne.

"We were driving up to the gig when our promoter phoned to say that Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke would be in the audience," he said.

"We were terrified, we thought they might not like the show.

"But they loved it, and met us backstage afterwards to tell us how much they enjoyed it.

"We asked him if he would come and perform in our home town, and he came down to the Rock Cafe in Stourbridge and did a DJ set and it went from there."

The encounter led to them Rourke and Joyce performing with The Other Smiths at a series of exclusive concerts, and The Other Smiths became the biggest Smiths' tribute band in Europe.

The Other Smiths were joined by original members Mike Joyce, left and Andy Rourke, right, at Stourbridge Rock Cafe 2000 in February 2004. Second from right is Dave Bennett.

"We had a lot to do with Andy for about four years," he said.

"Andy said he didn't know how we played our stuff with normal tuning, as he had his bass tuned lower."