Happy birthday to Gavin Harrison, a household name in the progressive rock scene! He was born on the 28th of May, 1963 in England, and he started playing drums professionally in 1979, when he was only 16 years old! Today, he is 58 years old, and his portfolio ranges from King Crimson to OSI.
Most people are aware of his work in Porcupine Tree and The Pineapple Thief, less aware in King Crimson, but it is not a very known fact that his earliest band was Renaissance! Although then, he was mostly a session musician who worked with many well-known names throughout multiple genres, and he didn’t record anything as a Renaissance member. He left the band after a U.S. tour, and went on to tour with Iggy Pop in 1986. Throughout 80s and 90s, his signature drumming style appeared on many classics, one of which is Sam Brown’s Stop (1987).
“There’s only ‘good music’ and ‘bad music’ in my opinion. I just tried to steer myself towards the good stuff and tried to avoid the bad stuff. A ‘genre’ is a great excuse for someone to completely ignore your life’s work.” he said in his guitarguitar.co.uk interview. His thoughts about genre labels stem from his early exposition to different genres. His father Bobby Harrison was a professional jazz trumpeter, which led to Gavin Harrison’s love for big band music. He initially tried to learn to play the trumpet, but gave up because of its difficulty. At the age of 6, he found himself playing drums. Quitting soccer and ballet, he started spending all of his time behind the drum kit, playing along to Miles Davis and Chet Baker records. And, we know how that ends up.
Joining Porcupine Tree in 2002 helped him reach the highest place a drummer can reach. Many of Porcupine Tree’s songs were developed off of his jazz-influenced, complex yet astonishingly beautiful drum beats. They collectively won him the Modern Drummer magazine readers’ poll for “Best Progressive Rock Drummer Of The Year” from 2007 to 2010, the title of “Best Prog Drummer” by DRUM! magazine in 2011, and the Rolling Stone magazine readers’ poll for world’s third best drummer in the past 25 years. We wish him many more happy years in which he blesses our ears with the rhythms of his soul.