Mark Stewart, co-founder and vocalist of the influential UK post-punk band the Pop Group, has died. His longtime label, Mute Records, confirmed the news in a statement, writing, “In honour of this original, fearless, sensitive, artistic and funny man, think for yourself and question everything. The world was changed because of Mark Stewart, it will never be the same without him.” No cause of death was provided. Stewart was 62 years old.
Mark Stewart grew up in Bristol, England, where he formed the Pop Group in 1977 as a teenager alongside guitarist John Waddington, bassist Simon Underwood, guitarist and saxophonist Gareth Sager, and drummer Bruce Smith. Drawing from punk rock as well as genres like funk, dub, and free jazz, the band released their debut album Y, which was produced by reggae artist Dennis Bovell, in 1979. After signing with Rough Trade, the Pop Group issued their second album, For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?, before disbanding in 1981.
Following a move to London, Stewart went on to work with Adrian Sherwood’s On-U Sound label and joined the dub music collective New Age Steppers. He released several solo albums over the years and collaborated with artists such as Massive Attack, Tricky, Nine Inch Nails, and the Bug. Stewart’s most recent album, VS, came out in 2022.