An interview with Nitzer Ebb's Bon Harris

Nitzer Ebb's Bon Harris (Photo: Kevin Keating)
Nitzer Ebb's Bon Harris (Photo: Kevin Keating)

Nitzer Ebb returns to the Bay Area this Sunday, November 28th with a show at the Great American Music Hall. Get your tickets here while they're still available!  As we went to press, we learned that Douglas McCarthy was admitted to the hospital prior to their show in Florida on Nov. 19th -- you can find the band's full statement here. We want to wish Douglas a speedy recovery and hope to see him back on the road as soon as he recuperates. In the meantime, their show on the 28th has not been cancelled and we hope to see you out there in support!

Separately, we were also fortunate enough to speak with Bon before Douglas was hospitalized and you can find our full interview below!

SFBayAreaConcerts: We’re hoping the Covid-19 pandemic is largely behind us at this point here in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to see you guys back on the road! Looking back over the past couple of years since the shutdown, how did the pandemic impact Nitzer Ebb?

Bon Harris: Of course, one way or another the pandemic has affected all of us, separation, isolation and in many cases, loss has been sadly present issues in everyday life. With so many things taken away and out of our control, the one thing immediately available as an artist is creativity. That was my personal refuge of choice during those times.

The bulk of 2020 was largely devoted to what became a series of online concerts from my garden called “Songs:from the Lemon Tree.” That all started with me wandering around my garden singing little a cappella songs into my iPad and posting those on socials. It was in the depths of the lockdown and it seemed to bring some cheer to people. So I set about developing electronic music cover versions of the songs that had been the major influences in my life, gathering those into a series of mini concerts and performing, filming them and releasing them over the course of the year.

The response was overwhelmingly positive, the feedback was that it was bringing some entertainment, some positivity and hope to people confined in a dark and troublesome time. It turned out it was therapeutic to me, and to others. It felt like a good result. 

Douglas and I also started work on a project with Brad Apodaca in LA, titled DRAG. We have developed a body of great material over the latter part of 2020/early 2021. We hope to mix and start releasing that material in 2022.

I have also been writing a couple of EPs of original solo material, also for release in early 2022. Then of course the planning and pre-production for the NEP 2021 USA tour, which we are currently on.

All in all, quite a productive way to distract my self from the pandemic.

SFBAC: You’ve played a couple of dates now, what’s it like getting back on the road with various covid protections that differ from state to state and venue to venue? How have the crowds been so far?

Bon Harris: It is at once very familiar and totally alien at the same time. The pretext and environment of shows remains the same, but the procedures and protocols are all new and there are constant challenges to face. One has to be aware at all times, and often one has to fight the natural instinct to socialize, and interact with people. Touring is essentially a very social activity and it’s hard to draw a line there.

Some states are very responsible and forward thinking. Others the opposite.

The crowds have seemed largely really happy to see shows return and to be able to get out, dance and have a good time watching live music. It’s been a hard road for many, and some fun is long overdue.

It’s been like a constant game of hopscotch, aiming to bring everything good about live shows, whilst remaining aware and on alert from a health and safety point of view.

SFBAC: Next year is the 35th anniversary of That Total Age. Do you have any plans to help celebrate?

Bon Harris: No detailed discussions of any plans so far, and the situation is still so variable that any plans would be very subject to change.

Once we have the 2021 tour in the bag, we can devote some thought to that a little more.

SFBAC: Is this current tour a continuation of the last? What can fans expect on this leg of the tour?

Bon Harris: There is continuity from the last tour to this, with a mind that we are always looking to develop and improve. It’s a case of taking what we established in 2019 and building on that. What we always aim to keep consistent is the energy and commitment to our shows. We always want to maintain that experience.

SFBAC: You’ve never released a live album. Is there any interest in that?

Bon Harris: There is an interest in that. Again, we were in a really good rhythm at the end of 2019 and talked about ways of creatively capturing that live experience - then the pandemic hit, and we were all separated and brought to a halt. We have ideas for an interesting and original live recording. It’s a case of getting back up to speed again and executing that when the time feels right.

SFBAC: Well, we can be patient! In the meantime, we’re looking forward to your upcoming show at the Great American Music Hall and your new music in 2022! Have a safe tour and thanks for making the time to speak with us!

#buttons=(Accept !) #days=(20)

Our website uses cookies to enhance your experience. Learn More
Accept !