Famed bassist Alec Ballie, of iconic New York ska-punk bands Leftover Crack and Choking Victim, has passed away. While no official cause of the death has been confirmed, Leftover Crack shared the news earlier this week via the band’s Facebook page.
A native of Manhattan, Ballie’s musical career essentially began in the early 1990s when he formed the third wave ska band Agent 99, which was active until 1995. After forming the short lived punk group No Commercial Value with former high school classmate Scott “Stza” Sturgeon, the two eventually joined forces in Sturgeon’s other group Choking Victim, which Ballie played bass in until from 1995 to 1999. Upon the dissolution of that group, Ballie and Sturgeon went on to form the beloved punk group Leftover Crack.
Record label Fat Wreck Chords, which signed Leftover Crack in 2007, also posted a heartfelt statement to their website that paid tribute to Ballie’s illustrious career and well-known passion for music and social activism. “Friends, it is with great sorrow that we share the tragic news that Alec Baillie has passed. Some are familiar with him as LOC’s bass player extraordinaire, but we were also fortunate to know him as the endearing, passionate, and kind hearted person he was,” reads the statement. “Alec, your unforgettable music and passion for righting cultural wrongs will endure.”
Leftover Crack also shared a compassionate statement, which included information on hotlines to help those struggling with substance abuse and suicidal thoughts. “This loss cuts so deep that we are left in a state of shock & confusion as to how to proceed forward. In these hardest of times, it is easy to lose sight of the goodness in people & the world, & too easy to fall prey to depression & the pitfalls that can join it,” read their statement. “We ask for people to please keep his family and friends in your hearts right now, and allow us & each other the kindness & space to process this painful loss. And most of all, please keep yourselves & each other safe & try to be sensitive to those that might be having a harder time than most during this dark winter. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others. There are always people that need to help others in order to value themselves. Alec surely was one of them.”
Over the course of his dynamic and expansive career, Ballie ended up performing on and releasing 15 studio albums spanning more than 25 years with his three primary punk rock groups Agent 99, Choking Victim and Leftöver Crack. Ballie is widely considered to be one of the leading pioneers in the fusion of ska and punk music, especially for New York City bands during the 1990s. He remains one of the most influential musicians and bass players in the punk rock scene today.