Smiths bassist Andy Rourke denies involvement in reunion performances; Mike Joyce also quits

Andy Rourke of the Smiths pictured in 2013.
Andy Rourke of the Smiths in 2013. Photograph: Craig Barritt/Getty Images

Andy Rourke, the former bassist with the Smiths, has denied involvement in a partial reunion of the band that is planned for June.

It was announced on 22 January that Rourke, along with Smiths drummer Mike Joyce and Craig Gannon – who briefly replaced Rourke on bass in 1986, before playing rhythm guitar for a spell – would perform classical versions of Smiths songs with the Manchester Camerata orchestra. Joyce said he was “massively excited to be playing with Andy and Craig again”, and Rourke said he was “thrilled and excited to be involved in Classically Smiths”.

But in a new statement, Rourke has called the announcement “false statements”, adding: “At no time did I give my consent for anyone in connection with this Classically Smiths project to act on my behalf or my name, and nothing was ever confirmed, approved or contracted by me or my team.” His representative called the quotes “100% fabricated and without approval”. Lead singer Morrissey and lead guitarist Johnny Marr are not due to appear at the concerts, and have not released their own statements about them.

Joyce has now announced he is no longer involved in the project. “I entered into agreement in good faith to perform these shows with Andy Rourke and Craig Gannon,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately it became apparent very late that Andy would not be taking part... After much deliberation and soul searching I have decided that without Andy, an integral part of why I agreed to take part in the first place, I have come to this difficult decision. I still believe the shows and concept to be a fantastic idea and wish them all the success they deserve.”

Rourke and Joyce have a chequered history with the Smiths since the band broke up in 1987. Each played on some of Morrissey’s solo singles, but the pair later sued him and Marr over Smiths royalty payments, arguing there had been an agreement to share profits equally four ways; Rourke settled out of court for £83,000, but Joyce continued to pursue the case. He eventually won an estimated £1m payment, after it was judged that Morrissey had been “devious, truculent and unreliable” in how he had kept information about profit sharing from the pair.

Since his time in the band, Rourke has played with fellow Mancunian musicians Badly Drawn Boy and Ian Brown, and in bassist supergroup Freebass with ex-Stone Roses member Mani and ex-New Order member Peter Hook.

He later formed the group D.A.R.K, featuring vocals by Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries, who died last week. He has paid tribute to her “breathtaking and unique talent,” adding: “I will miss her terribly.”

Joyce meanwhile works as a DJ and broadcaster.