Sunday, January 10, 2010

Was Mick Harris in Godflesh, Doom and ENT?


Question: Was mick harris really a member of godflesh? ive read in a few sources that he briefly played with the band, being as mick also played in doom and extreme noise terror, if this fact is true I wouldnt be suprised. From:


Answer:Short answer is I don't think he was in Doom or Godflesh, but ENT yes.You gotta remember, the original UK grind scene, I mean at its very beginnings, was made up of a ridiculously small amount of people, I would say 25 tops, and decent musicians/players were very scarce.It was normal to play in more than one band. All of the people involved were fans of this then brand-new style - extremely fast metallised hardcore-punk aka grindcore. Grindcore was current, fresh and highly radical at the time, though its worth pointing out that to most folks, even some of the musicians involved, it was deemed a childish passing fad which could'nt possibly last more than a year or two. I mean, how could unlistenable noise possibly become a mainstream genre, or be the basis of a music career? It was a fair enough assumption I suppose.

Birmingham was the epicentre of the scene, no doubt about it, but there were already rival cliques and crews popping up all over the UK. You'd have the Bradford contingent, who were more influenced by the political/anarcho punk scene, compared to say the Nottingham crew, which included the likes of me. We preferred the ultra-speedy non-political USHC bands, so Bradford and Nottingham folks never really saw eye to eye.

Also places like Liverpool and Wigan had the beginnings of a crew with Jeff Walker (Electro Hippies) and Bill Steer (Disattack) forming early bands. Liverpool seemingly also had the biggest skateboarding population, so US skate-rock bands were high on the agenda there. West of Birmingham in deepest Shropshire were the diehard metallers - Shane Embury and Mitch Dickinson of Warhammer. This duo entered the scene as Napalm Death fans,but their collection of the fastest thrash and death metal demos of the day soon became tape-trader faves, and was highly influential on the grindcore sound.

Meanwhile in Ipswich were Extreme Noise Terror. ENT predated the grindcore thing by a few years, playing instead an extreme HC punk, minus any metallic riffs. Geographically they were isolated on the east coast, but being slightly older, and a gregarious bunch, they made friends easily.Also living closest to London they were billed on many of the HC gigs in the Capital, and so became one of the most visible bands on the scene.

Radio 1 DJ John Peel picked up on ENT for a Peel session first, right after fellow Ipswich Skate-punk band The Stupids, presumably because Peel lived close by Ipswich so they were both deemed local bands to him. I beleive Peel also gave patronage to Carcass because his birth-place was Heswell,a small place just outside Liverpool on the middle-class enclave of the Wirral, which was Bill Steer's parents place, and Carcass' mailing address.

Its worth mentioning that neither Bristol and London had a grindcore scene, Bristol punks were firmly in the Disorder/Chaos UK camp, both of whom at this point in time were traiblazing their unique super-noisy punk style all over the world. This style- among others- was definately a precursor and one of a whole melting pot of numerous musical style which influenced the grindcore bands which soon followed.

Birmingham was unquestionably the home of grindcore- and Napalm Death were certainly the first proper exponents of the sound, but even within Napalm itself, the band had splintered into several opposing camps. The founding Napalm Death-ers Nik and Justin quit the band while it was still making demos.No label was interested, and the future looked bleak, so both reverted to their core musical leanings - Industrial, avant-garde and dub. Justin got a lucrative gig pounding drums for upwardly mobile indie rockers Head of David.He then later formed Godflesh with drum machine and dubby basslines, while retaining the "grinding" metallic guitar sound. Nik Bullen quit music altogether, and returned to higher eduction, embarking on an academic career. Several years later, after Mick had also quit Napalm, all 3 original Napalm-ers would put their differences aside to make music together once again.The resulting band Scorn was a mix of Industrial, dub and avant garde with grinding guitars,later dropping the guitars for full on bass-heavy electronic dub.

After the original Napalm death line up had fragmented,Mick was prompted by the prospect of Earache belatedly wanting to release an album to revive Napalm.So he formed a new line up consisting of Lee Dorrian, Bill Steer, Shane Embury (replacing short-lived Jim Whitely on bass).None of them were recognised musicians, all were firstly diehard fans of the Napalm sound and ethos.

This line up existed during the eventual release of debut album 'Scum' and quickly recorded the follow up album 'From Enslavement To Obliteration'.This was the line-up which popularised and witnessed the explosion of interest in grindcore all over the world during 1987-89. But by the summer of 89 Lee and Bill themselves had quit the band.

You can hear some of the Peel sessions from the early grindcore era on Grind Madness At The BBC compilation

STOP PRESS--some of the comments below point out that yes Mick did indeed play 3 shows on drums for Godflesh on a UK tour in 1991, before being ousted.I guess I'd forgotten about those. Mick did not record with Godflesh though. There's your answer!

9 comments:

cerpintor said...

Mick Harris definitely played with Godflesh, although I'm not sure if any studio work was done. I saw Mick playing live drums with Godflesh at the Camden Underworld in 1991 or '92 (supported by Fudge Tunnel and Cable Regime, I believe).

I also talked to Mick about this a year or so ago when he was gigging in London as Scorn, and I think he said he played 3 gigs with Godflesh in total.

Poney said...

what an excellent article. i am really interested in the history of early england grind/thrashcore scene.

Mick Harris is credited for playing with Doom, i'm not sure if he ever recorded a recorded, but he probably played with them.

thanx,
cheers.
Poney.

Anonymous said...

From the source:

I PLAYED 4 SHOWS IN TOTAL WITH GODFLESH AT THE START OF THERE EUROPEAN PURE TOUR,I PLAYED THE 4 UK DATES WHICH WERE END OF SEPTEMBER BEGINNING OF OCTOBER 91.WE PLAYED IN LONDON/NORWICH[FUDGE TUNNEL SUPPORTED ON THAT ONE]CAMBRIDGE/AND WREXHAM

Monotremata said...

Yeah I have a video of a show in Wrexham with Mick on drums for the Pure tour.

According to Mick, he played four shows and then Robert Hampson bitched about him being there and had Justin send him home.

Too bad Hampsons so called 'sound' ruined that entire tour.

TJ said...

Mick Harris wrote: I PLAYED ABOUT 6 OR SO DOOM RHSALS AROUND ABOUT OCTOBER 86 JUST WHEN JUSTIN WAS LEAVING TO GO PLAY WITH HOD.BRIAN AND JOHN DOOM WERE REGULARS AT THE MERMAID AND AS YOU DO WE GOT TALKING ABOUT MUSIC ETC AND THEY ASKED IF WOULD HELP THEM OUT IN THERE BAND CALLED DOOM,THEY SAID IT WASNT AS FAST AS NAPALM AND MORE IN THE BOSTON SOUND LIKE SIEGE DEEP WOUND NEGATIVE FX ETC.BRIAN WAS GUITAR AND VOCALS AND JOHN WAS BASS.LIKE DIG SAID BACK THEN THERE WAS X AMOUNT OF MUSICIANS THAT WERE ALL SORT OF HELPING ONE ANOTHER OUT.
LIKE I SAID I HAD ABOUT 6 PRACTICES WITH DOOM AND IT WENT OK,I ENJOYED IT AS IT WASNT FAST LIKE NAPALM SO I GUESS I HAD A LITTLE MORE ROOM TO BREATHE.
ONE DAY AT PRACTICE I THINK BRIAN OR JOHN SAID THEY WANTED TO GO MORE DISCHARGE.I HAD NO PROBLEM WITH THIS AS IT WAS JUST GOOD TO PLAY WITH MATES,SOMEWHERE ALONG THE ROAD SEVERAL WEEKS LATER I REMEMBER ANOTHER DRUMMER BEING ASKED TO TAKE THE STOOL AND AT THIS TIME JOHN WAS DOING VOCALS AND BASS AND HE JUST WANTED TO PLAY BASS,I ASKED ABOUT DOING VOCALS=I LASTED ONE PRACTIVE=THEY DIDNT LIKE THE JAPCORE SCREAMS WHAT SO EVER.
THAT IS HOW IT WAS END OF STORY.

AS FOR GODFLSH LIVE I PLAYED 4 SHOWS END OF.

http://www.avalanchers.co.uk/viewtopic.php?p=133198

John said...

Re: the comments about Bradford. IMO it was people like Rich Militia ruling the roost that gave that impression. A lot of people couldn't give a toss about the politics side of it but were hectored into agreeing with it (for a quiet life!)at places like the 1 in 12 and those sort of people.


I also seem to remember MH playing with Godflesh and even thought they played Bradford Queens Hall...but probably not.

Kendrix said...

Mick Harris played one live show with Doom, a 6 song set featuring "Life Lock", "Shadows in stone" and 4 others, a live tape is doing the rounds, the bands sound was pretty much the same as Napalm Death then, with Jon on bass and vocals, the gig was at the mermaid in 1987, only 8 people were in the audience as it was a Friday night, 3 of which were Jim Whitely, Nick Royles and Rich Militia (Who taped the gig).

Anonymous said...

Great article, really enjoyed it. Took me back a few years!

Does anyone else remember Scorn playing at the Camden Underworld, in 1991 or 1992? I am (almost!) sure I saw them there!

Anonymous said...

I remember reading back in the day about this, JKFlesh said about trying a live drummer but it wasn't the same as the regimentation of the drum machine and wasn't what he wanted.