Stephen Paul David Morris was born on 28 October 1957, in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England. He attended the King's School, Macclesfield, as did Ian Curtis who was also in Joy Division. After Joy Division (then called Warsaw) tried three other drummers, they eventually recruited Morris, who responded to a wanted ad posted in a local music shop.
Morris is noted for his "machine-like" skills as a drummer, which he credits to krautrock influences. During Joy Division recording sessions with Martin Hannett, Morris was asked to record his parts one drum at a time so that Hannett could have complete control over the production. He also took an early interest in drum machines, combining them with traditional drumming on many Joy Division and New Order releases.
Early on, Morris was a contender to become New Order's lead vocalist, and his vocals can be heard on some early live tracks. He also contributed musically to as-yet-unreleased demos by Quando Quango. He played drums on the song "Soul Kitchen" by Echo & the Bunnymen when they and New Order were both recording at Amazon Studios in Liverpool in 1986, a time when Echo & the Bunnymen did not have a full-time drummer. New Order were recording Brotherhood while Echo and the Bunnymen recorded their eponymous fifth album.
During a hiatus from New Order, Morris and Gilbert formed the side project The Other Two; together they have released two albums as well as various remixes and soundtrack work. In 2007, Morris and Gilbert remixed two tracks for the Nine Inch Nails remix album Year Zero Remixed.