Richard Swift of The Shins and The Black Keys has died
American indie rock singer-songwriter, producer and musician Richard Swift has passed away at the age of 41.
Swift’s talents were wide ranging, earning him acclaim as a songwriter, session musician, producer and, in many cases, a kind of creative mentor to bands across the indie rock spectrum.
Swift’s highest profile work was as a member of The Shins (from 2011 to 2016), with whom he played keys and percussion, and as touring bassist and backing vocalist for The Black Keys (since 2014). He also played on The Pretenders’ 2016 record Alone.
But his CV extends far beyond being a mere gun for hire.
He was a prolific solo artist, releasing a string of acclaimed albums and EPs through the 2000s. His unique brand of soulful, cinematic indie pop was meticulous, but retained plenty of grit and spirit.
He teamed up with Dan Auerbach to help form The Arcs, who released a great record in 2015 featuring the single ‘Outta My Mind’.
And perhaps his greatest impact in recent years was as a producer, where he helped the likes of Damien Jurado, Laetitia Sadier, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Foxygen, Alex Cameron and The Shins achieve great things in the studio.
While no cause of death has been announced, Swift’s family had recently revealed that he was suffering from a life-threatening illness and set up a GoFundMe page to help cover his expenses.
Tributes to the artist have been plentiful since his passing, with plenty of his former collaborators sharing their memories.
“He was the funniest person we ever met, one of the most talented musicians we have ever worked with and we feel so honored to have known him. RIP Richard.” The Black Keys wrote on Instagram.
“Today I lost one of my best friends. Family. My hero. My everything. One of the true greats. Swift was my music dad. He taught me everything I know & I will never forget him. I love you Swift,” Foxygen frontman Jonathan Rado said on twitter.
“His wit, irreverence, talent, and most of all his understanding of true beauty was immeasurable,” Chris Swanson and Eric Deines of Secretly Canadian wrote. “That loss will leave a gaping hole in our world from this moment on. We are thankful he burned as bright as he did, and was as productive as he was, during his time with us.”