Mick Harvey

Biography Mick Harvey

Mick Harvey

Mick Harvey
renowned as a founding member of both The Birthday Party and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and for his collaborations with PJ Harvey, has made a series of solo albums during the last two decades – starting with ‘One Man’s Treasure’ in 2005 and culminating with 2013’s ‘FOUR (Acts of Love)’. In the years since he has completed a 4 volume collection of translations of the songs of Serge Gainsbourg, which he began in the 1990s, and most recently released an album of songs based on a fictional WW1 poet in collaboration with Christopher Richard Barker called ‘The Fall and Rise of Edgar Bourchier and the Horrors of War’(2018)

Harvey started out playing in bands whilst still at Caulfield Grammar School in Melbourne, Australia. Three of his schoolmates, Nick Cave, Phill Calvert and Tracy Pew, ended up with him in his first post-school band The Boys Next Door. Playing extensively around Australia in the late 70s the band eventually relocated to London in early 1980 where they changed their name to The Birthday Party. In the early 80s they were renowned for their wild performances and abrasive recordings which remain influential and unique to this day.

In 1983 The Birthday Party disbanded and Harvey was caught up in the formative years of The Bad Seeds with his Birthday Party bandmate Nick Cave and also worked in a variety of line-ups with the singer Simon Bonney on his Crime and the City Solution project which continued until 1991. During the mid-80s Harvey moved to Berlin where both these bands were based during the late 80s.

After the dissolution of Crime and the City Solution Harvey produced two albums of the songs of Serge Gainsbourg translated into English (‘Intoxicated Man’ and ‘Pink Elephants’ 1995 and 1997 respectively) and began collaborating with the English singer PJ Harvey and producing recordings for Anita Lane amongst others. His participation in Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds continued and he became more involved in film soundtrack composition.

With the advent of the new millennium Harvey was based back in his home town of Melbourne and finally began work on his own ideas for a series of solo albums. Initially based on an extensive wish list of obscure and much loved songs mixed up with some of his own occasional compositions the result was four albums – ‘One Man’s Treasure’, ‘Two of Diamonds’, Three Sisters – Live at Bush Hall’ and ‘FOUR (Acts of Love)’. This series of albums was augmented by 2011’s ‘Sketches from the Book of the Dead’ – a themed album comprised entirely of Harvey’s own song compositions and followed by the release of ‘FOUR (Acts of Love) in 2013.

By early 2009 the 35 year long relationship with Nick Cave had finally lost its spark and Harvey chose to leave The Bad Seeds. Since this time he has completed the aforementioned series of solo albums and continued presenting these works live in various band configurations and, at times, completely solo. He has also been able to find more time for projects such as PJ Harvey’s ‘Let England Shake’ and ‘The Hope 6 Demolition Project’ (the former which he co-produced) and has also been part of the touring band. More free time also allowed him to record with his former Birthday Party band mate, the late Rowland S Howard’s, final album, ‘Pop Crimes’ having also played drums on Howard’s classic first solo LP ‘Teenage Snuff Film ten years earlier.

2014 saw Harvey deeply involved in German culture again with the Ministry of Wolves (including Alexander Hacke, Danielle de Picciotto and Paul Wallfisch) and the Dortmund theatre production ‘Republik der Wölfe’ based on the stories of the Brothers Grimm.

The reissue of his two mid-90s albums of Gainsbourg translations saw Harvey take Gainsbourg’s works to the stage billed as ‘Intoxicated Man’ in Australia and Europe – the first time Harvey had performed these works live - and this led to the recording of a further 2 albums of translations – ‘Delirium Tremens’ and ‘Intoxicated Women”, the latter of which was released in early 2017.

Still based in Melbourne Harvey lives with his wife Katrina Beale, a painter, his son Solomon and a Burmese cat called Misha.

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