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!