Stephen Percy Harris (born 12 March 1956 in Leytonstone, London, England)
is the bassist, band leader and primary composer of the Iron Maiden
In addition, he
plays keyboards, and sings backing vocals.
founded the band as a teenager in 1975.
and Dave Murray are the only members of the band to have appeared on all of the band's albums, and Harris
is the only member to remain in the band throughout its duration.
Steve Harris- Perth
Steve Harris during the Somewhere Back In Time Tour
He used to work as an architectural draftsman in the East End of London but gave up his job upon forming Iron Maiden.
During the mid 1970s he
was a youth team footballer for West Ham United.
He still is a talented amateur football player and often has the crest of West Ham on his bass, and he has stated his first ambition in life before music was to become a professional footballer.
is a self-taught bass player.
first bass was a copy of a Fender Precision Bass that cost him £40 when he
was 17 years old.
went on to use a signature Lado "Unicorn" model and an early 1970s Fender Precision with RotoSound strings.
now uses his
own signature RotoSound flatwound bass strings.
The strings that Harris uses, SH77, have a brightness not usually associated with flatwound strings.
The Bass has no Tone control and Steve taps his head or body to cue the tech for treble or bass adjustments.
lso Steve Harris is the inventor of galloping bass techinque
first band was named first Influence then Gypsy's Kiss.
He later joined Smiler, of which all the band members were several years older than he was.
ended up leaving, as the members of the band made it clear that they did not care for a bassist who leapt around the stage and wrote songs.
After Smiler, Harris went on to create Iron Maiden, getting the name from seeing an iron maiden, a type of torture instrument, in the movie The Man in the Iron Mask.
Steve Harris is Maiden's principal composer and lyricist.
songwriting typically showcases his
trademark galloping bass patterns (see below) and features long songs with epic lyrics that feature many tempo changes, influenced by 1970's progressive rock bands like Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.
frequently writes lyrics about mythology, history or topics inspired from books and movies.
is often considered among the best and most influential heavy metal bassists. He
is most known for his
"galloping" bass lines - usually an eighth note followed by two sixteenth notes at fast tempo (e.g., "The Trooper") - which he
plays with two fingers.
Before playing, Harris
often chalks his
fingers, to make these fast patterns easier to play, as shown on the bonus DVD for the A Matter of Life and Death album.
Besides this he
is very adventurous on the bass and plays intricate accompaniment in many of Maiden's songs.
also uses power chords, which are unusual on bass, on several songs.
has also stated that he
never uses a pick and that he
never warms up before a show.
plays a specially-painted bass guitar which has been featured on every Iron Maiden
The guitar has gone through three colour changes since construction.
has been seen with different bass guitars during his
career, mostly Fender P-Basses.
This list may not contain every bass, and most of them are retired, and the first ones in this list are from his
earliest days from his
career as a musician.
In addition to bass playing and writing music/lyrics for Iron Maiden
, Steve Harris
has taken on numerous other roles to support the running of the band such as:
has been Iron Maiden
's principal keyboardist (other than at live shows and on a few songs where the work has been done by Michael Kenney who doubles as his bass technician) since keyboards were first used by the band on the album Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.
Though since that album keyboards have played less of a role in Iron Maiden
(usually), the complexity and speed of the playing has increased as Harris
was not even credited for it in the band credits, just the album ones.
For the album Somewhere in Time, Harris
first experimentation with synthesised sounds, playing the bass synth (later on the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son album referred to as 'string synth').
has also done so on subsequent albums, although it has not featured as much as it did on Somewhere in Time because of the band's less synthesised sounds and also the use of keyboards.
is also known for playing an increasing role in mixing Iron Maiden
's albums as well as producing them, and has done the work himself since Fear of the Dark.
also directs and edits many of the band's music videos, particularly live ones.
also owns a farm with music recording facilities.
Harris' land has been used to write Maiden's albums on numerous occasions it was also used to film the music video for the song Holy Smoke.
has also contributed backing vocals on Iron Maiden
records and concerts since the band's inception, though he
is not always credited on the sleeves.