All tracks taken from the new album 'Sketches From The Book Of The Dead' Released May 2nd (May 3rd - USA) on MUTE RECORDS.
Michael John Harvey (born 29 August 1958 in Rochester, Victoria, Australia), is an Australian rock musician, composer, arranger and record producer. He is best known for his long-time collaboration with the singer and songwriter Nick Cave. A multi-instrumentalist, Harvey plays guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, drums, percussion including glockenspiel and sings.
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.
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.
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 break up of The Birthday Party, Harvey stayed in Berlin and contacted his friend Simon Bonney. Together they reformed Bonney's old Australian band Crime and 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 January 22, 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 and 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.
'Sketches From The Book Of The Dead' Harvey's next album will be released 2nd May 2011 on MUTE RECORDS.
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