Joyce sat down with correspondent Colin Paterson to discuss his memories of playing with Rourke in the Smiths, as well as their friendship outside of the band.
“I don’t think Andy realized just how good a bass player he was,” Joyce said of Rourke during the conversation. “I don’t think Andy ever really embraced just how momentous his contribution towards music is. I don’t think he ever grasped that and realized that.”
Johnny Marr confirmed Rourke’s death in a statement posted on social media Friday (May 19). Rourke was 59 and had been living with pancreatic cancer.
“I knew Andy had been very ill,” Joyce said to Paterson on BBC Breakfast. “I kind of felt as though we weren’t going to be waiting long for that call, and when I did get it, it didn’t make it any easier.”
Joyce last saw Rourke during a trip to New York in February, during which the two musicians reminisced about some of Rourke’s signature bass lines for the Smiths.
“He was such a self-effacing character,” Joyce said. “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.” “I felt like he carried me a lot of the time,” Joyce added. “Any drummer’s going to sound great with Andy playing bass.”
Following the news of Rourke’s death, Morrissey penned a eulogy for his former bandmate, writing:
“He will never die as long as his music is heard. He didn’t ever know his own power, and nothing that he played had been played by someone else.”