Michael John Harvey (born 29 August 1958) is an Australian rock 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.
Born in rural Victoria, 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 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 Nick Cave, Phill Calvert and 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 mixed pre-punk 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 jazz guitarist Bruce Clarke.
The Birthday Party
After their final school year in 1975 the band decided to continue with friend Tracy Pew picking up the bass. Greatly affected by the punk explosion of 1976 which saw Australian bands The Saints and Radio Birdman making their first recordings and tours, The Boys Next Door, as Harvey's band were now called, began performing fast original New Wave material, with Harvey's guitar style influenced by James Williamson of The Stooges and Paul Weller of The Jam and regularly playing pubs from 1977-1980. Rowland S. Howard joined in 1978, bringing a chaotic feedback guitar style to the band.
After recordings and moderate success in Australia (including hundreds of live performances) they headed for London in 1980, changing their name to The Birthday Party and launching into a period of innovative and aggressive music-making, underpinned by Harvey's concise guitar playing. Harvey also composed a good deal of the band's material in the latter days of their career.
Crime & The Bad Seeds
Harvey's girlfriend Katy Beale followed to London, then the band moved to West Berlin in 1982, minus Calvert. Harvey moved from guitar to drums. After the breakup of The Birthday Party, Harvey stayed in Berlin and contacted his friend Simon Bonney. Together they reformed Bonney's old Australian band Crime & the City Solution with Rowland S. Howard, Harry Howard (bass) and Epic Soundtracks (drums), these 3 went on to form the basis of These Immortal Souls a couple of years later. Harvey and Cave formed Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds in 1983, who survive to this day. He left The Bad Seeds on 22 January 2009 citing professional and personal reasons. Harvey later stated that his reasons included his frustration with song arrangements, strained relationships with Cave and a desire to spend time with family. The split marked the end of a 36 year long collaboration between Harvey and Cave.
After Bonney left Crime & the City Solution for a solo career in the U.S., Harvey recorded two solo CDs 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 other Australian artists including Anita Lane, Robert Forster, Conway Savage and Rowland 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, plus 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.
In February 2008 Harvey and Westbrook played as a support act for PJ Harvey on her Australian tour, with Mick also sitting in with PJ.
In 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 on The Triffids Vagabond Holes: David McComb and the Triffids, edited by Australian academics Niall Lucy and Chris Coughran.
Harvey now splits his time between Europe and Melbourne. He has one son with his partner, the painter Katrina (Katy) Beale.
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, and also with co-writers Tex Perkins, Loene Carmen. Harvey sings and plays guitars, with a return to his James Williamson-influenced approach. Drums are credited to "Rocky Features" (a Harvey pseudonym), and bass to "Rod Bottoms". A press release stated this 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").
- Intoxicated Man (1995)
- Pink Elephants (1997)
- One Man's Treasure (2005)
- Two of Diamonds (2007)
- Three Sisters - Live at Bush Hall (2008)
- Sketches from the Book of the Dead (2011)
- Four (Acts of Love) (2013)
- 1989 "The Road To God Knows Where" & "Live At The Paradiso" (1989, together with Nick Cave & The bad seeds), directed by Uli M Schueppel)
- 1990 Ghosts... of the Civil Dead
- 1992 Vaterland, directed by Uli M Schueppel, together with Alexander Hacke
- 1993 Alta Marea & Vaterland
- 1996 To Have & to Hold
- 2000 Chopper
- 2000 Planet Alex, directed by Uli M Schueppel, together with Alexander Hacke
- 2003 Australian Rules
- 2006 Suburban Mayhem
- 2006 Deliver Us from Evil
- 2006 Motion Picture Music
Other CD releases
- And The Ass Saw The Angel (2000)
Albums produced by Mick Harvey for other artists
- Robert Forster Danger in the Past (1990)
- Once Upon A Time In The Blink Of An Eye (1992)
- Anita Lane Dirty Pearl (1993)
- The Cruel Sea The Honeymoon Is Over (1993) (co-producer) (AUS #4, also ARIA award for "Best Album" 1994)
- Congo Norvell Music To Remember Him By (1994)
- PJ Harvey Dance Hall at Louse Point (1996) (co-producer)
- Rowland S. Howard Teenage Snuff Film (1999)
- PJ Harvey Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea (2000) (co-producer) (UK #23, US #42, AUS #20, and winner of the Mercury Prize 2001)
- Anita Lane Sex O'Clock (2001)
- Rowland S. Howard Pop Crimes (2009)
- Hunter Dienna self-titled EP (2010)
- PJ Harvey Let England Shake (2011) (co-producer) (UK #8, US #32, AUS #6, and winner of the Mercury Prize 2011)
- Mazgani Common ground (2013) with John Parish
- 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)
- Inner City Sound - Clinton Walker
- Bad Seed: A biography of Nick Cave - Ian Johnston
- The life and music of Nick Cave: An illustrated biography - Maximilian Dax & Johannes Beck
- at Mute Records
- at AllMusic
- at the Internet Movie Database