Mick Harvey

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Not to be confused with Mick Harvey (umpire).
Mick Harvey
Mick Harvey 2.jpg
Mick Harvey performing live on-stage in 2012.
Background information
Birth name Michael John Harvey
Born (1958-08-29) 29 August 1958 (age 56)
Rochester, Victoria, Australia
Origin Melbourne, Australia
Genres Alternative rock, post-punk
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, composer, arranger
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass, piano, organ, synthesizer, xylophone, glockenspiel, harmonica, drums, percussion
Years active 1973–present
Labels Mute
Associated acts The Boys Next Door, The Birthday Party, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Crime & the City Solution, These Immortal Souls, PJ Harvey
Website mickharvey.com
Notable instruments
Maton Wildcat
Guild Starfire IV

Michael John Harvey (born 29 August 1958) is an Australian musician, singer-songwriter, composer, arranger and record producer. A multi-instrumentalist, he is best known for his long-term collaborations with Nick Cave, with whom he formed The Boys Next Door, The Birthday Party and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Early life[edit]

Born in rural Victoria, Australia, Harvey moved to the suburbs of Melbourne in his childhood. His father was a Church of England vicar and the family lived adjacent to the father's church—first in Ormond, then later Ashburton. Harvey sang in the church choir from an early age.

Harvey, his elder brother Philip, and younger brother Sebastian all attended the private boys school Caulfield Grammar School. It was at school in the early 1970s that Harvey met fellow students Cave and Phill Calvert, as well as Tracy Pew. A rock group was formed with Cave (vocals), Harvey (guitar), Calvert (drums), and other students on guitar, bass and saxophone. The band played at parties and school functions, with a repertoire of Lou Reed, David Bowie, Roxy Music, Alice Cooper and the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, among others. Harvey was also a member of the school choir (conducted by actor Norman Kaye), and took extracurricular lessons from Bruce Clarke, the jazz guitarist.

Music career[edit]

The Birthday Party[edit]

After their final school year in 1975, the band decided to continue with Pew as bassist. Greatly influenced by the punk explosion of 1976, which saw Australian bands The Saints and Radio Birdman make their first recordings and tours, The Boys Next Door, as Harvey's band were now called, began performing fast, original new wave material—Harvey's guitar style was influenced by James Williamson of The Stooges and Paul Weller of The Jam. The Boys Next Door regularly played at Melbourne pubs between 1977 and 1980. Rowland S. Howard joined the band in 1978, bringing with him a chaotic feedback guitar style.

After extensive touring, recordings and moderate success in Australia, the Boys Next Door relocated to London, United Kingdom (UK), in 1980, while also changing their name to "The Birthday Party". The period was defined by innovative and aggressive music composition, underpinned by Harvey's guitar playing. Harvey composed the majority of the band's material in the latter days of their career. Harvey's girlfriend Katy Beale followed the band to London.

Crime & The Bad Seeds[edit]

The band moved to West Berlin, Germany, in 1982, but without Calvert, and Harvey transitioned from guitar to drums. After the breakup of The Birthday Party, Harvey stayed in Berlin and contacted his friend Simon Bonney, with whom he reformed Bonney's old Australian band Crime & the City Solution—Howard, Harry Howard (bass) and Epic Soundtracks (drums), who later formed the basis of These Immortal Souls a couple of years later, also participated.

Harvey and Cave formed Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds in 1983. Harvey remained with the Bad Seeds for 25 years until his departure on 22 January 2009, when he cited both professional and personal factors as reasons for leaving.[1] Regarding Cave, Harvey informed the media:

I'm confident Nick [Cave] will continue to be a creative force and that this is the right time to pass on my artistic and managerial role to what has become a tremendous group of people who can support him in his endeavours, both musically and organisationally.[1]

Harvey explained further in 2010 that his frustration with song arrangements, strained relationships with Cave and a desire to spend time with family were also significant reasons for his decision. The split marked the end of a 36-year-long collaboration between Harvey and Cave.[2]

The Wallbangers[edit]

In 2007 the Spanish label Bang! Records released a four-track EP by Harvey's retro rock band The Wallbangers, featuring songs written by Harvey alone, and songs he co-wote with Tex Perkins and Loene Carmen. Harvey sings and plays guitars, while drums are credited to "Rocky Features" (a Harvey pseudonym) and bass to "Rod Bottoms". A press release stated the EP was Rocky Features' first recording since 1982's Honeymoon in Red, which was released with pseudonymous credits for Harvey's contributions (but not the pseudonym Rocky Features).

Solo[edit]

After Bonney left Crime & the City Solution for a solo career in the United States (US), Harvey recorded two solo albums of Serge Gainsbourg songs, translated from French into English: Intoxicated Man and Pink Elephants. He has also collaborated with UK rock musician PJ Harvey (no relation), and produced for other Australian artists, including Anita Lane, Robert Forster, Conway Savage and Roland S. Howard. Harvey's third solo release, One Man's Treasure, was issued in September 2005.

In 2006 Harvey undertook his first solo tours of Europe and Australia, accompanied by fellow Bad Seeds Thomas Wydler and James Johnston, as well as Melbourne-based double bassist Rosie Westbrook. His next solo record, 2007's Two Of Diamonds, was recorded with this group, as was the 2008 live album Three Sisters - Live at Bush Hall.[citation needed]

In February 2008, Harvey and Westbrook played as a support act for PJ Harvey on her Australian tour, with both Harveys also performing on stage together. Prior to the tour, Harvey worked extensively with PJ Harvey over a 12-year period: he was a recording musician on her albums To Bring You My Love and Is This Desire?, and co-produced the album Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea in 2000.[3]

In both 2008 and 2009, Harvey joined the five remaining members of The Triffids for a series of performances at the Sydney Festival, Melbourne Arts Centre and Perth International Arts Festival, celebrating the music and the memory of David McComb. Harvey is also a contributor to the 2009 rock biography, Vagabond Holes: David McComb and the Triffids, edited by Australian academics Niall Lucy and Chris Coughran.[4]

Harvey released Sketches From The Book Of The Dead—the first solo album written entirely by Harvey—in early 2011 on the Mute record label. The 11-track album was recorded in Melbourne, between a Port Melbourne studio and Harvey's own Grace Lane music room. Harvey played most of the instruments, while Westbrook played double bass, J.P. Shilo played accordion, violin and occasional guitar, and Xanthe Waite contributed backing vocals. Harvey explained in a promotional interview that he does not perceive himself as a "songwriter" in the traditional sense, whereby the practice is "something they [actual songwriters, as perceived by Harvey] have down historically and something they've worked on as central to what they are as an artist." He also confirmed that the The opening track, "October Boy", is about Rowland S. Howard.[5]

Harvey once again co-produced and recorded for PJ Harvey during the creation of her eighth studio album, Let England Shake. The 2011 release was supported by a world tour in the same year, which also included Harvey as a touring musician.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Harvey splits his time between Europe and Melbourne. He has one son with his partner, Beale—who is a painter—and, as of 2014, the family resides in the inner-city Melbourne suburb of North Melbourne.[6]

As part of his interview with Brisbane, Australia writer Andrew McMillen—for the book Talking Smack: Honest Conversations About Drugs—Harvey concluded with his perspective on illicit drug use:

Because I’ve been so surrounded by [illicit drug use], I’ve seen a lot of the problems that come with it. But I’ve also seen a lot of people, as well, who’ve used in different ways and not had problems. So the point about banning it across the board is that then you remove that freedom of choice of those people, too. I mean, why does alcohol remain available when other things aren’t? It’s not a great drug, at all.[6]

Discography[edit]

Solo albums[edit]

Film soundtracks[edit]

Other CD releases[edit]

Albums produced by Mick Harvey for other artists[edit]

Awards[edit]

  • 1994 ARIA Awards: Best Album The Cruel Sea The Honeymoon Is Over (Mick Harvey: co-producer)
  • 1996 ARIA Awards: Single of the Year & Best Pop Release (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Kylie Minogue: "Where the Wild Roses Grow")
  • 1997 ARIA Awards: Best Original Soundtrack (To have and to hold)
  • 2001 Mercury Prize: Best Album: PJ Harvey Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea (Mick Harvey: co-producer)
  • 2004 ARIA Awards: Best Original Soundtrack (Australian Rules)
  • 2006 AFI Awards: Best Original Music Score (Suburban Mayhem)
  • 2007 ARIA Awards: When Nick Cave was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame he took it upon himself to induct Mick Harvey and other Australian members of the Birthday Party and The Bad Seeds
  • 2011 Mercury Prize: Best Album: PJ Harvey Let England Shake (Mick Harvey: co-producer)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Bad Seeds co-founder Harvey quits". ABC News. 23 January 2009. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  2. ^ Mardi (2 March 2010). "Podcast 103 Live interview with Mick Harvey in Paris 2010 : some reasons to have left the band Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds…Part 2 (25′)" (Audio file). Meltingpod. Meltingpod. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Melbjuz (10 January 2008). "PJ chooses Mick Harvey". Faster Louder. Faster Louder Pty Ltd. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  4. ^ Niall Lucy and Chris Coughran, eds. Vagabond Holes: David McComb and The Triffids (Fremantle: Fremantle Press, 2009).
  5. ^ a b Ian Johnston (12 April 2011). "Mick Harvey – Exclusive LTW Review/Interview". Louder Than War. Louder Than War. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "'Talking Smack: Honest Conversations About Drugs' book launch at Avid Reader, 21 August 2014" (Video upload). Andrew McMillen on YouTube. Google Inc. 21 August 2014. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]