Mick Harris

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Mick Harris
Birth nameMichael John Harris
Also known asM.J. Harris
Born (1967-10-04) 4 October 1967 (age 56) [1]
Birmingham, England
GenresHardcore punk, grindcore, deathgrind, extreme metal, electronica, experimental, industrial, free jazz, illbient, dub
Instrument(s)Drums, drum machines, synthesizers, vocals
Years active1985–2011, 2017–present
LabelsEarache, Ohm Resistance, Ad Noiseam
Member ofScorn, Lull
Formerly ofNapalm Death, Doom, Extreme Noise Terror, Painkiller, Defecation

Michael John Harris (born 4 October 1967) is an English musician from Birmingham. He was the drummer for Napalm Death between 1985 and 1991, and is credited for coining the term "grindcore". After Napalm Death, Harris joined Painkiller with John Zorn and Bill Laswell. Since the mid-1990s, Harris has worked primarily in electronic and ambient music, his main projects being Scorn and Lull. He has also collaborated with musicians including James Plotkin and Extreme Noise Terror. According to AllMusic, Harris's "genre-spanning activities have done much to jar the minds, expectations, and record collections of audiences previously kept aggressively opposed."[2]

Early life[edit]

Michael John Harris was born in Birmingham, England.[3] He grew up listening to the radio shows of John Peel and would later record Peel Sessions with both Napalm Death and Scorn.[4][5] Harris was influenced by listening to bands such as Coil and Skinny Puppy.[4] He started playing drums in 1984 at the age of 16, after a friend in a psychobilly band called Martian Brain Squeeze asked him to play.[6] Harris then joined a punk band called Anorexia with Dave Cochrane.[6] After applying unsuccessfully to join Napalm Death as a vocalist he later joined as drummer.[6]

Napalm Death[edit]

Harris replaced Napalm Death's founding member Miles "The Rat" Ratledge as drummer in 1985. He was the driving force behind Scum and From Enslavement to Obliteration, being the only band member to play on both side A and side B of Scum.[7][8] After the release of the EP Mentally Murdered, Napalm Death became more interested in the death metal scene and their sound started to move away from the British grindcore sound. At this point Bill Steer and Lee Dorrian departed the band. Harris left the band in 1991.[9]

While in Napalm Death, Harris also played drums for Doom and Extreme Noise Terror, and participated in a side project with Mitch Harris called Defecation, which produced two records, Purity Dilution and Intention Surpassed, through Nuclear Blast. Harris contributed only to Purity Dilution.[10] As a drummer he is generally credited with popularising the blast beat, which has since become a key component of much of extreme metal and grindcore.[11] Harris coined the term grindcore, later commenting "Grindcore came from 'grind' which was the only word I could use to describe the Swans after buying their first record in '84 [...] I thought 'grind' really fit because of the speed, so I started to call it grindcore".[12]

Assorted projects[edit]

After leaving Napalm Death and as well as initiating a number of projects in different musical genres such as Fret, Quoit, Lull and Scorn, Harris has also collaborated with artists such as James Plotkin, Justin Broadrick and Martyn Bates.[2][4] He was contacted by John Zorn who wanted to create a new group consisting of himself, Harris and Bill Laswell on bass. This trio became Painkiller, a free jazz-extreme metal trio.[13] The group released three albums in the early 1990s. Guts of a Virgin and Buried Secrets were released by Earache Records and contained mostly short aggressive tracks reminiscent of Napalm Death with the added elements of both John Zorn's sax and Bill Laswell's bass. Their third and last record, the two disc set Execution Ground was released in 1995 on the Subharmonic label.

In 2017, Mick Harris returned after six years of total silence under the name of 'Fret' with a new song called "Lift Method" that was released through SoundCloud.[14] It was his first Fret material in 22 years. A new album called Over Depth was released in October 2017 as double vinyl / DL through Karlrecords.[15]

He has collaborated with Eraldo Bernocchi and Bill Laswell on Equations of Eternity, which is an ambient dub music project started in 1995 by Bernocchi.[citation needed]


Harris founded Scorn in 1991 with Napalm Death's original bassist/lead singer Nic Bullen.[2] Scorn released several well-received albums and EPs in the early 1990s, creating a fusion of experimental heavy metal, electronic music, and dark dub music. Bullen left Scorn in 1995 and Harris continued to release albums exploring dark and minimalist industrial hip-hop territory, with a focus on extremely low and loud bass frequencies. Harris' work presaged dubstep.[16] Scorn has been associated with Earache Records, Invisible Records, Hymen, Combat Records and Record Label Records. Refuse; Start Fires was released in 2010 on OHM Resistance.[16] In November 2011, Harris announced that the Scorn project was "put to bed".[16] Scorn returned in 2019 with an EP entitled Feather and an LP both released on Ohm Resistance.[17] The LP was called Cafe Mor. It featured a contribution from Jason Williamson of Sleaford Mods and was mastered by Daniele Antezza of Dadub.[18] The Only Place was released in 2021.[19]

Personal life[edit]

As of 2012, Harris was married and also has two children and lives in Birmingham, working as a technician in a music college.[20][11]


  1. ^ "Interview with Scorn". Flux:. Musical art, conjunct of sound. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Cooper, Sean. "Mick Harris : Biography / By Sean Cooper". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 27 October 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin (27 May 2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Omnibus Press. p. 1988. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  4. ^ a b c "Monrella/JK Flesh - See Red (Premiere + Q&A)". The Brvtalist. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  5. ^ Walker, Ryan (17 January 2021). "JK Flesh and Monrella: See Red - Split Album Review by Ryan Walker". Louder Than War. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  6. ^ a b c Urselli, Marc. "Mick Harris". Chain D.L.K. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  7. ^ Everley, Dave (30 January 2020). "The story of grindcore: "This isn't metal, it isn't punk, I don't know what the f**k these guys are doing"". Metal Hammer Magazine. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  8. ^ Moores, J. R. (23 June 2017). "The Chaotic Evolution of Napalm Death's 'Scum,' the World's First Grindcore Album". Vice. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  9. ^ "15 Questions to Mick Harris/Scorn". Tokafi. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  10. ^ Rosenberg, Axl (10 April 2019). "Napalm Death's Mitch Harris Warns That New Defecation Releases Are a "Total Scam"". Metalsucks.net. Archived from the original on 7 August 2019. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  11. ^ a b Finlayson, Angus (11 October 2017). "Mick Harris: Greetings from Birmingham". Resident Advisor. Archived from the original on 7 August 2019. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  12. ^ Phillips, William; Cogan, Brian (20 March 2009). Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal Music. ABC-CLIO. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-313-34801-3.
  13. ^ Dee, Liam (2016). "The Brutal Truth: Grindcore as the extreme realism of heavy metal". In Bayer, Gerd (ed.). Heavy Metal Music in Britain. Routledge. p. 61. ISBN 9781315586441.
  14. ^ "FRET (Aka MICK HARRIS) - LIFT METHOD by Karlrecords | Free Listening on SoundCloud". Archived from the original on 2 February 2018. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  15. ^ Smith, Mark (12 July 2017). "Mick Harris returns with first new Fret material in 22 years". Residentadvisor.net. Archived from the original on 7 August 2019. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  16. ^ a b c "Scorn". Birmingham Music Archive. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  17. ^ "Scorn returns to Ohm Resistance with EP & LP". Igloo Magazine. 20 January 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  18. ^ "Scorn releases first LP in nine years, Cafe Mor · News ⟋ RA". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  19. ^ "A Beautiful Space: Mick Harris Of Scorn Interviewed". The Quietus. 28 June 2021. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  20. ^ Horsley, Jonathan (27 February 2012). "Interview: ex-Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris on Scum, Scorn and the hell of urban living". Decibel Magazine. Retrieved 22 January 2021.

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