Steve Mackay, the saxophonist who played with the Stooges along with a wide range of other artists, has died at the age of 66.
Iggy Pop wrote the following on the Iggy and the Stooges Facebook page:
Steve was a classic ’60s American guy, full of generosity and love for anyone he met. Every time he put his sax to his lips and honked, he lightened my road and brightened the whole world. He was a credit to his group and his generation. To know him was to love him.
Brian Ritchie of Violent Femmes posted:
One thing that was constant was Steve’s generosity. He was always observant of other musicians’ performances and had encouragement and comments that helped our development. His high point with the Femmes was composing the beautiful sax line for I Held Her In My Arms, a part that has been played hundreds of times around the world not only by Steve but by Pete Balestrieri, Blaise Garza and many others. In the early days when we still shared rooms, Steve was my roommate. This inaugurated a tradition of long talks with Steve which continued until very recently. Thus I know his entire life story. Not an easy one, but fascinating and uplifting in the end. On the last few tours his obsession was his psycho-autobiography, to be titled Portrait of Dorian Sax. It was apparent Steve was not long for this world so I encouraged him to set pen to paper ASAP. I hope he made at least some notes which can be reassembled by scribes of the future into coherent form because Steve’s story is rollicking and insane.
Mackay was originally a member of the Detroit area avant-rock group Carnal Kitchen before being approached by Iggy Pop in 1970 to join the Stooges. Steve went with the group to Los Angeles where they recorded the now classic Fun House and toured with them in support of the album, but left the band in October 1970.
Over the next three decades, Mackay worked with a number of artists including the Moonlighters, Commander Cody, Snakefinger, the Violent Femmes and Delta Goodrem. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, he and his wife, Annie Garica-Mackay, resurrected the Carnal Kitchen name but he would later drop out of music to become an electrician in San Francisco.
In 1999, the owner of the label Radon got in touch with Mackay and persuaded him to once again make music resulting in his first solo single, Death City. He has since recorded a number of other albums and, in 2003, rejoined the Stooges for their comeback show at the Coachella Festival, the beginning of a collaboration that he would continue until his death.
Mackay is the third member of the Stooges to die in the last few years following Ron Asheton in 2009 and Scott Asheton in 2014.