Hutch Harris was born in New York City in 1975. His family moved to San Jose, California in 1983. Harris met Kathy Foster after graduating high school in 1993. Harris and Foster played in the bands Haelah and Urban Legends before moving to Portland in 1998, and forming The Thermals in 2002.
Harris wrote and recorded the first Thermals record More Parts per Million in the kitchen of his one-bedroom house in Southeast Portland in early 2002. Sub Pop Records heard the recording via Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie and The Postal Service, and signed The Thermals to a three-record contract when the band was less than six months old. The original live line-up of The Thermals consisted of Kathy Foster on bass, Jordan Hudson on drums, Ben Barnett on guitar, and Harris on lead vocals. Barnett departed The Thermals soon after More Parts per Million was released, and The Thermals became a three-piece. The current line-up of The Thermals is Hutch Harris on guitar and vocals, Kathy Foster on bass, and Westin Glass on drums.
Hutch Harris lives in Portland, Oregon. He is unmarried.