Club + Bars

Andy Rourke

The beloved and massively influential British band The Smiths has been kaput for more than 20 years, but fortunately its ex-members keep popping up with new musical endeavors. Singer Morrissey has thrived solo, while guitarist Johnny Marr found success with New Order’s Bernard Sumner in the group Electronic, has collaborated with the Pet Shop Boys, Beck, Oasis and many more, and joined Modest Mouse in 2006. And over the past few years, bassist Andy Rourke has formed a group called Freebass with two other bass players – New Order’s Peter Hook and Mani of the Stone Roses. Lately, he’s also become fond of DJing; in fact, he spins Friday night (Sept. 25) at the new hotspot WALL in the W South Beach hotel, 2201 Collins Ave.


Rourke talked to about what drew him to DJing, plus life after The Smiths.


How did you become interested in DJing?

It happened kind of by accident, really. A friend of mine DJed quite often at a club in Manchester that had different guest DJs, and he suggested that I do it. In those days, I just brought a couple cases of CDs and dived into the deep end, really. And I really enjoyed it – it’s obviously a different medium and stuff, but then I got a couple of bookings and an agent, and things just sort of snowballed from there. You know, I’m still a bass player first and foremost, but DJing gets me out of the house and keeps me out of trouble.


What styles do you spin?

A lot of different stuff, really. It’s not dance music, but it’s music you can dance to. There’s anything from The Clash to the Stones, Beatles, just real catchy, classic tunes. Pixies, Breeders, even a bit of Elvis.


Do you add other effects to it?

I use a program called Traktor – I think you can have up to four decks going at once, but two’s about my limit so far. I mess about with a few effects and try my best to beat-match. But a lot of music that I play doesn’t really lend itself to beat-matching.


Do you ever throw in some Smiths songs?

Yeah, two or three. It depends on how familiar the crowd is with it, you know? Or how many people come up and ask for it. Sometimes you have to limit it.


Do you still keep in touch with Johnny and Morrissey?

Yeah, I keep in touch with Johnny. Morrissey, not so much, not for a few years, actually.  He moved to L.A. and then to Rome, and we kind of lost contact.


When was the last time somebody brought up the possibility of a Smiths reunion?

With journalists, it happens a couple of times a year, usually when Coachella on its way. And it usually gets poo-pooed.


With Freebass, you’re in a band with two other bass players. How does that work out?

It actually works out rather well, because Hook-y [Peter Hook] – I’m sure you’re familiar with his style, so much like lead guitar, but lead bass. And Mani tends to do the more kind of bottom-end grooves, and I fill in what’s left in the middle. I play guitar on some of it as well. That’s just being mixed as we speak. I think it’s going to come out in two forms, because we had a few guest vocalists – Tim Burgess [of The Charlatans] being the most prominent one. I think there’s gonna be an EP coming out with that, and then an LP with the singer we finally found, called Gary Briggs, who’s in a band called The Haven.


You’ve recorded with The Pretenders, Sinead O’Connor, Badly Drawn Boy and Killing Joke, among other groups. Are there any more collaborations in the works for you?

Yeah, actually I’ve already done some stuff with [bassist] Jesse Murphy from Brazilian Girls. Me and Jesse on [Oct. 15] are gonna do some recording with Junior Sanchez.


What do you think of Miami?

I love Miami – I always have a good time there. The time before last, I was lucky or unlucky enough to attend a hurricane party. I think it was the one just after Katrina – it really tore up Miami. I remember we were in a bar and the police came and told us to get out because the roof was coming off, and we got escorted to the person we were hanging out with’s high-rise. They just put mattresses up against the windows and everybody got smashed, and in the morning, surveyed the damage. We were on the good side of the building, but one of his friends was on the other side and all his windows came through. Lots of stuff blew out the window, so he wasn’t too pleased. It was quite exhilarating, seeing things flying sideways. I wouldn’t want to do it again – I was stuck there for a whole week. Ruined my tour.