Nitzer Ebb

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Nitzer Ebb
Nitzer Ebb live 2011
Nitzer Ebb live 2011
Background information
OriginChelmsford, Essex, England
GenresEBM, industrial dance, electronic, industrial rock (1990s)
Years active1982–1995, 2006-present
LabelsMute Records
Geffen Records (US)
Associated actsFixmer/McCarthy, Depeche Mode, Recoil, Die Krupps, Derrick May, KLOQ, Blackline
MembersBon Harris
Douglas McCarthy
David Gooday
Simon Granger
Past membersJason Payne
Duc Nhan Nguyen
Julian Beeston

Nitzer Ebb (/ˈntsər ɛb, ˈnɪt-/) are a British EBM group formed in 1982 by Essex school friends Vaughan "Bon" Harris (programming, synthesizers, drums, vocals), Douglas McCarthy (vocals), and David Gooday (drums).


Initial releases (1983-1987)[edit]

The group released their demo Basic Pain Procedure in 1983,[1] but it was two years until they met PWL producer Phil Harding, who produced their 1985 debut single "Isn't It Funny How Your Body Works?" and helped them set up their own label, Power Of Voice Communications. The band at the time was inspired by the post-punk scene and specifically acts like "Siouxsie and the Banshees, Killing Joke and Bauhaus who were having a big influence on us, in some ways stylistically but also in the energy that they gave".[2]

They released three more singles on their own label, "Warsaw Ghetto" (1985), "Warsaw Ghetto Remixes" (1986) and "Let Your Body Learn" (1986), before signing to Mute Records in 1986. The singles "Murderous" (1986) and "Let Your Body Learn" (1987) followed, building their reputation in the Industrial Rock and EBM scenes,[3] as well as making inroads into the developing Chicago House scene.[4]

"Join In The Chant" (1987) became part of the Balearic beat scene that influenced the UK acid house scene.[5][6]

International success/disbandment (1987-1995)[edit]

Their debut album That Total Age was released in 1987. Depeche Mode, longtime friends and label mates of the band, invited them to open for the European leg of their successful Music For The Masses Tour in 1987.[7]

David Gooday left after the tour and they completed their next album Belief (1989) as a duo. Mark 'Flood' Ellis became their new producer. They recruited Julian Beeston to assist them on their own world tour and he soon became a regular contributor both on and off stage.[3]

In 1989, they teamed up with German EBM pioneers Die Krupps to rerecord their 1981 single, "Wahre Arbeit - Wahrer Lohn" as "The Machineries Of Joy".[8]

The third Nitzer Ebb album Showtime, released in 1990, revealed a less confrontational sound. The single "Fun To Be Had" (1990) featured a remix by George Clinton[9] and was a hit on the US dance chart.

Their fourth album, Ebbhead (1991), showcased a more traditional songwriting style with an emphasis on melodic choruses was produced by Alan Wilder from Depeche Mode and Flood. They promoted the album with a global tour that took them from the southern US to northern Siberia.[3]

Their fifth album Big Hit (1995), featured a greater use of 'real' instruments, especially guitars and drums. McCarthy and Harris recruited a new third member, Jason Payne (percussion), to their main line-up, and also brought in John Napier (guitar, percussion) to assist with live performances.[3]

Big Hit was the final release by the band for almost 15 years. McCarthy was a regular collaborator with Alan Wilder's Recoil project and records with French electronic producer Terence Fixmer as Fixmer/McCarthy. Bon Harris relocated to Los Angeles where he became a successful producer and recorded as 13mg and as a member of Maven.

Reunion (2006-present)[edit]

Nitzer Ebb began work on new material in Los Angeles in early 2007, with a retrospective documentary still in the pipeline. During 2007, Nitzer Ebb continued its trend of replacing drummers as Kourtney Klein left the band to be replaced by Jason Payne. A first track, "Once You Say," with Depeche Mode songwriter Martin L. Gore on backing vocals, was played in June 2007 by Dave Clarke in his White Noise show on VPRO's 3 Voor 12.[10] This track, along with "Payroll," were debuted live as Nitzer Ebb played a handful of shows and festivals during 2007. These tracks were then featured on Nitzer Ebb's album, Industrial Complex.

McCarthy and Harris reunited up with Jason Payne and producer Flood[11] to finish up the first new Nitzer Ebb record in over a decade. In the meantime, Fixmer/McCarthy released its second album in June 2008, Into the Night.

The band announced a US tour for fall–winter 2009 and were selected as the opening act of the January and February European and Russian dates of Depeche Mode's Tour of the Universe in 2010.[12]

Influences and legacy[edit]

The single "Murderous" has been sampled by other electronic music acts, such as Information Society (on "Now That I Have You") and Kode IV (on "Success").

Band members[edit]


  • Bon Harris – programming, synthesizers, drums, vocals, bass (1982-present)
  • Douglas McCarthy – vocals, guitars (1982-present)
  • David Gooday – vocals, drums (1982-1987 -present)
  • Simon Granger - writing, arrangement and artwork (1983-1995 -present)

Former members[edit]

  • Duc Nhan Nguyen – drums (1987-1988)
  • Julian Beeston – drums (1989-1992)
  • Jason Payne – drums (1992-1995, 2007)

Touring members[edit]


Studio albums and EPs[edit]

Year Album details Chart peak positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
1983 Basic Pain Procedure
  • Released: 1983
  • Labels: Self-released
  • Formats: CS
1987 That Total Age
  • Released: 11 May 1987
  • Labels: Mute, Geffen
  • Formats: CD, LP, CS, digital download
1988 So Bright So Strong
  • Released: 1988
  • Labels: Upfront, TELDEC
  • Formats: CD, LP
1989 Belief
  • Released: 9 January 1989
  • Labels: Mute, Geffen
  • Formats: CD, LP, CS, digital download
1989 The Machineries of Joy (EP)
  • Released: 26 June 1989
  • Labels: Mute, Geffen, BCM Records
  • Formats: CD, LP
1990 Showtime
  • Released: 28 September 1990
  • Labels: Mute, Geffen
  • Formats: CD, LP, CS, digital download
1991 As Is (EP)
  • Released: 10 June 1991
  • Labels: Mute, Geffen
  • Formats: CD, LP, CS, digital download
1991 Ebbhead
  • Released: 30 September 1991
  • Labels: Mute, Geffen
  • Formats: CD, LP, CS, digital download
146 42
1995 Big Hit
  • Released: 27 March 1995
  • Labels: Mute, Geffen
  • Formats: CD, LP, CS, digital download
2006 Body of Work
  • Released: 26 June 2006
  • Labels: Mute
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
2006 Body Rework
2010 Industrial Complex 35
2010 In Order
  • Released: 22 January 2010
  • Labels: Mute
  • Formats: digital download
2011 Join in the Rhythm of Machines (EP)
"—" denotes albums that were released but did not chart, or albums not released in a particular territory.



Year Song UK Singles Chart[13] US Dance US Alt
1985 "Isn’t It Funny How Your Body Works" - - -
1985 "Warsaw Ghetto" - - -
1985 "So Bright, So Strong" - - -
1986 "Get Clean" - - -
1986 "Murderous" - - -
1987 "Let Your Body Learn" - - -
1987 "Join In The Chant" - 9 -
1988 "Control I'm Here" 100 14 25
1989 "Hearts And Minds" - 16 -
1989 "Shame" - - -
1989 "The Machineries Of Joy" (Die Krupps with Nitzer Ebb) - 25 -
1990 "Lightning Man" 97 14 28
1990 "Fun To Be Had" 99 5 -
1990 "Getting Closer" - - -
1991 "Family Man" - - 21
1991 "I Give To You" - - 27
1991 "Godhead" 56 - -
1992 "Ascend" 52 - -
1995 "Kick It" 75 - -
1995 "I Thought" - - -
1995 "Cherry Blossom" - - -

B-sides and non-album tracks[edit]

Song A-side Year
"The Way You Live" "Isn't It Funny How Your Body Works" 1985
"Crane" "Isn't It Funny How Your Body Works" 1985
"Cold War" "Isn't It Funny How Your Body Works" 1985
"So Bright, So Strong" "Warsaw Ghetto" 1985
"Get Clean" "Let Your Body Learn" 1986
"K.I.A." "Control I'm Here" 1988
"Time Slips By" "Hearts and Minds" 1989
"Backlash" "Shame" 1989
"Who We Are" "Lightning Man" 1990
"Out of Mind" "Fun to Be Had" 1990
"Taken From Me (Servant Mix)" "Fun to Be Had" 1990
"Lovesick" 'As Is' EP 1991
"Come Alive" 'As Is' EP 1991
"Higher" 'As Is' EP 1991
"Stray Cat Blues" "I Give to You" 1991
"Skintight" "Kick It" 1995
"Dead & Gone" "Kick It" 1995
"Friend (Brittle Mix)" "I Thought" 1995
"Beats Me" "I Thought" 1995
"Payroll (John O Mix)" 'Saw IV' Soundtrack 2007
"Promises" NCIS (The Official TV Series Soundtrack) 2009
"Never Known" Saw VI Soundtrack 2009

Music videos[edit]

  • Murderous (1987)
  • Let Your Body Learn (1987)
  • Control I'm Here (1988)
  • Hearts and Minds (1989)
  • Shame (1989)
  • The Machineries Of Joy (1989)
  • Lightning Man (1990)
  • Fun To Be Had (1990)
  • Family Man (1991)
  • I Give To You (1991)
  • Godhead (1992)
  • Ascend (1992)
  • Kick It (1995)
  • I Thought (1995)


  • Muscle and Hate - Nilaihah Records, (2005)


  1. ^ "Discography Demo Basic Pain Procedure". Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Douglas McCarthy Interview". 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
    Rollmann, Hans (8 October 2018). "Nitzer Ebb: Three Decades of Pounding Beats and Smashing Stereotypes". Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "Biography". Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  4. ^ Arnold, Jacob (4 September 2013). "Medusa's: Chicago's missing link". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Various – Balearic Beats - Vol. 1 - The Album". Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  6. ^ "Interview: Nitzer Ebb". 3 June 2009. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  7. ^ Paoletti, Ariana (24 September 2013). "The Ebb and Flow of Nitzer Ebb". Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  8. ^ "Discography Mute Records Machineries Of Joy". Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Nitzer Ebb – Fun To Be Had (George Clinton Remix)". Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  10. ^ "Martin Gore (Depeche Mode) delivers backing vocals on new Nitzer Ebb track 'Once You Say". Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  11. ^ "Flood joins Nitzer Ebb to complete first album in a decade". Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  12. ^ "depeche mode dot com". Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  13. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 396. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.

External links[edit]