MY CURRENT MUSIC
General: Stooges, Velvet Underground, New York Dolls, Suicide, Ramones, Lester Bangs, in general 60s and 70s punk.
Guitar: James Williamson, Ron Asheton, Lou Reed, Johnny Thunders, Johnny Ramone, Jonathan Richman.
Bass guitar: Ron Asheton, Dave Alexander.
Drums: Moe Tucker, Tommy Ramone, Martin Rev.
"We Are Scum": A Musical History
(Note: The following is mostly the same third-person material found in "Bio," above, but with a little more info and a couple more photographs. I hope to expand it later.)
Harris started playing punk rock in 1973, in Columbus, Georgia. With Bob Swygert he formed the band Scum of the Earth, with him singing and playing guitar, Swygert on drums, and, later, Chuck Barber on bass. The name came from a movie playing at one of their favorite drive-ins.
<< LEFT: CHUCK BARBER, BOB SWYGERT, circa 1977.
Knowing virtually nothing about music or instruments, they played with near-total technical incompetence using amazingly bad equipment (tiny almost inaudible garage-sale amps that gave literally no distortion, a guitar that could not stay in tune, a bass that sounded like pieces of wood slammed together, etc.). Song titles -- "We Are Scum," "Attack of the Giant Turnip From Outer Space," "Nothing To Do," "Rubber Love" -- give an indication of their punk sensibilities.
In 1973, pre-Ramones, pre-Sex Pistols, there were few bands in the world trying to play Stooges- and MC5- influenced music, and probably none in Georgia. So, as bad as the racket they produced arguably was, it at least put them well ahead of their time.
Scum of the Earth left no recordings except some awful practice cassettes, and never played anywhere except rehearsals. (Although two of those rehearsals were attended by a guest, so if those qualify as "shows" -- a huge stretch, granted -- then this may well have been the first punk rock band in Georgia.)
In 1978 Harris moved to Auburn, Alabama, and Scum of the Earth became Last Exit, with Harris on guitar and vocals, Barber on bass, and Lloyd Malone on drums.
>>> RIGHT: HARRIS, LAST EXIT, PRIOR TO 1979 AUBURN SHOW
Last Exit was, as far as Harris knows, the first overtly punk rock band in Alabama. They performed one concert at Auburn University, drawing a huge, stunned, and incredulous crowd, and unfortunately released no recordings.
<<<< LEFT: LLOYD MALONE, LAST EXIT, 1979
Last Exit moved to Atlanta in 1980, with Bob Swygert returning on drums, but exploded for various reasons without ever playing another show.
While living in Auburn Harris also created and dee-jayed the first known punk rock radio show in Alabama: "Best of New Wave Rock," WEGL,1978-1979. ("New Wave" at the time was synonymous with "punk," but sounded less offensive, and the use of that term let the show -- which played Stooges, Sex Pistols, MC5, New York Dolls, Ramones, etc. -- get on the air.)
TODAY: After Last Exit broke up, Harris continued to play music, though sidelined for a while by fibromyalgia and tinnitus. Hear a sampling of his current music at the links at the top of this page.
Punk Rock Assault on Auburn: Harris at Auburn University's WEGL radio station, preparing to lob another punk rock bomb at stunned listeners during his 1978-1979 "Best of New Wave Rock" weekly radio show. Notice, to his left, the sleeve to "I Got A Right" by Iggy and the Stooges. The Stooges were played on every show but one, and that one omission was an oversight..
(More photos to come................)