Michael John Harvey was born on the
28/9/1958 in Rochester, Melbourne- Australia.
He grew up in in the Melbourne suburbs, in a house adjacent to a church. His
father was a Church of England Vicor in the parish of Ashburton. Needless to
say, the household was a strict religious environment. He was enrolled as a day
boy at Caulfield Grammar in the early seventies. This is where he met Nick Cave.
Although Mick wasn't trained musically, he joined a school band called 'The
Boys Next Door' which comprised of Nick Cave, Tracey Pew, Phill Calvert and
eventually Rowland S. Howard. Mick played guitar. The band became notorious for
their live shows, which were extremely physical and chaotic. As the band
continued to grow in popularity, they released one cd called 'Door, Door' which
was a powerful cd, but did not fully capture the intensity of the band.
By 1980 the band had decided the only way to gain more popularity was to go to
London, and promptly changed their name to 'The Birthday Party' at the same
time. Being the organised one in the band, Mick found a job in London to survive
and eventually moved out of the shared accommodation with the band. His
girlfriend, Katey Beale, soon came from Australia to join him. Although these
were hard times for the band, they started playing some gigs and the word
about this chaotic and powerful band started to spread.
When Phill left the band, Mick stepped in as drummer. For the next few
tumultuous years, Mick stayed in that position, mostly being the one to try and
keep it all together. By February 1983 the band was falling apart- by Mick's
standards the dynamic had gone in the band, and called it quits. They did one
last tour of Australia, of which Mick did not have a part of. The last gig with
all the BP together was April 26, 1983, at the Crystal Ballroom in London.
Shortly after the break up, Nick Cave decided to start another band and promptly asked Mick to
be a part of it. The band consisted of Nick Cave, Blixa Bargeld, Barry Adamson
and Hugo Race. Mick started off as the drum player for the band, eventually to
become the guitar player. The band assumed the name 'Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds'. Their first cd, 'From Her To Eternity'
came out it May, 1984.
In 1985 Mick also joined another band, of which Rowland S. Howard was also a member,
called "The Crime And City Solution'. Starting off on guitar then turning
to the drum kit the year after, Mick played a pivotal role in being a part of
the band. Apart from being a key member he also ended up managing the band,
contributing greatly to the success the band would eventually have.
As Mick continued to be key members of these bands, he had already made
himself a name as a gifted musician and a professional. Although The Bad Seeds
took up a considerable amount of his time, he became greatly sought after by
many bands to either be a guest musician, help with producing and so forth.
Bands like Die Haut and The Moodists had Mick playing anything from the piano to
In 1988 Mick helped fellow friend Anita Lane by playing many tracks on her
first lp, 'Dirty Sings' He would later collaborate with her on both her cd's,
'Dirty Pearl' and 'Sex O'Clock'.
Meanwhile in the four years
that the Bad Seeds had been together, they had developed a unique sound and had
released 3 more cd's. 'First Born Is Dead' (1985), 'Kicking Against The Pricks'
(1986) and 'Your Funeral, My Trail' that same year. 1988 would also see the
release of 'Tender Prey', their 5th studio album. These years would see the most
productive times for the Bad Seeds, as they toured and created for
themselves a loyal fan base and become a nationally renowned band.
Mick collaborated with fellow
Bad Seeds, Nick Cave and Blixa Bargeld, to do a soundtrack to a John Hillcoat
movie 'Ghosts...Of The Civil Dead' in 1989. This would spark Mick's interest in
soundtracks, the creation of them and contributions to soundtracks was, and is,
a large part of his career.
In 1991 The Crime And City
Solution had broken up. The Bad Seeds had released 'The Good Son' the previous
year and were also working on 'Henry's Dream' to be released the next year.
For the next few years Mick
was kept busy constantly touring with the Bad Seeds. They released a live video
of one of these performance 'Live At The Paradiso' in '92 as well as a live cd
'Live Seeds' in '93. Their next release would be in 1994, with "Let Love In'.
This was their most successful Bad Seed record yet and the band continued to
increase in popularity.
1995 Saw Mick endeavour on his
first solo project- A cover of Serge Gainsbourg covers called 'Intoxicated Man'.
Serge Gainsbourg was a French singer/songwriter, so Mick had to
translate all of his lyrics to English. With Anita Lane's wispy voice featuring
on many of the tracks, Mick ventured to not only re-invent the songs in their
English form, but sometimes musically as well. He achieved this magnificently by
not only maintaining the French Feel to the songs, but by creating an
atmospheric and lush sound.
The same year Mick played with
PJ Harvey for her cd 'To Bring You My Love'. This collaboration would not be
their last, as Mick has continued to be a back up musician and help produce
Harvey's cds, which includes touring with her as well.
1996 saw the release of the
next Bad Seed cd, 'Murder Ballads', which Mick describes as a very strange
record, but proved to be a mainstream success. Mick also collaborated with Cave
and Bargeld again for another soundtrack for a John Hillcoat film, 'To Have And
Mick's second solo effort
was another set of Gainsbourg covers, in 1997 with 'Pink Elephants'. On this cd
he tackled 'I Love You..... Nor Do I', with Nick Cave and Anita Lane on vocals,
and the wonderful 'The Ticket Puncher'. With the inclusion of these two famous
songs, which were interpreted and presented beautifully, the cd was received
well and is looked at as the perfect follow up to 'Intoxicated Man'.
This same year, The Bad Seeds
10th cd came out, 'The Boatmans Call'. Beautiful in it's simplicity, the cd had
a more stripped back Bad Seed sound. It was followed the next year with 'The
Best Of Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds' mainly compiled by Mick. The cd represented
the band's weighty back catalogue successfully, but was by no means the
end of their career.
In 1999 'And The Ass Saw The
Angel- Readings And Music' was released, Mick playing the music he and Ed
Clayton-Jones had created for a theatrical interpretation of Nick Cave's book of
the same name. Nick's reading's of the book were included over the top of the
Mick did the soundtrack to the
Australian movie 'Chopper' the next year, and the Bad Seeds released 'No More
Shall We Part' in 2001.
The contribution that Mick has
made into the Australian music scene is undeniable. Apart from the sections of
his musical career that has been listed here, Mick has been a guest musician and
producer to many more bands over the years, such as 'The Cruel Sea'.
He continues to be a strong
member of the Bad Seeds, helping produce their latest cd, 'Nocturama'. A new
soundtrack by Mick has also just been released called 'Aussie Rules' for the
movie of the same name by Paul Goldman.
To be continued........
to Initials M.H