Andy Rourke is mild-mannered and soft-spoken, with glints and glimmers of a recognizably British sense of humor peeking through. The Manchester native is one-fourth of the original lineup of the Smiths, the legendary 1980s British rock band. He will play a DJ set at Churchill's Pub for the Kitchen Club, Miami's long-running goth and New Wave night, hosted this Saturday by Notorious Nastie.
"I like to mix it up between old classics from the '60s, '70s, '80s; obviously lots of Britpop; and then if there's anything new that I like," Rourke says, "basically whatever I'm in the mood for. It changes. I don't really have a set list."
His set and the Kitchen Club cater to those who prefer smoky, dimly lit dive bars to overcrowded neon club settings. "I'm not one for big venues, and I'm not a big fan of crowds. I get claustrophobic, so I have to be very selective [about] which venues I go to and which I don't."
Decades after his earliest music captured the hearts and minds of disaffected '80s youth, Rourke continues to be prolific in his musical output, most recently with D.A.R.K., an album featuring Cranberries frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan, and Blitz Vega, a collaborative project he's working on with Leicester musician KAV. "Typically, I won't do anything for like three months, and then I'll get all these offers to do different projects all in one go, and then I'm just running around like a headless chicken."
"I've been doing less and less DJ'ing over the last few years because I like to concentrate on making music, which is what I do first and foremost," he says. His DJ sets, however, are a welcome change of pace from some of the more isolating aspects of the creative process.
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"Making music can be quite a solitary thing, whereas [with] DJ'ing you get to meet fans and people who appreciate the music. It's a totally different medium. I just enjoy it." Saturday's event will double as an informal meet-and-greet with Rourke, who will walk around Churchill's to hang and and share drinks with fans.
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Fans of bands such as the Smiths are, of course, infamously passionate. The Smiths are the type of band that people listen to as adolescents and carry in their souls forever, and then maybe share with their kids as the first signs of teenage angst begin to emerge. Rourke is part of an exclusive club of musicians — the Beatles and Led Zeppelin also come to mind — whose seminal work captures the hopes and imaginations of generations that clamor for reunions decades after bands split. Rourke is humbled by the deep affection for his former project and takes those pleas in stride.
"I'm always quite positive about my feelings when it comes to the Smiths," he says, "and it's always nice to see younger people who appreciate music that was made 35 years ago, and also the older people who've been listening to it since that music's creation."
The Kitchen Club with Andy Rourke
9 p.m. Saturday, July 8, at Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-757-1807; churchillspub.com. Admission is $10 to $15 at the door.