Nick Cave Biography
Nicholas Edward Cave was born in Warracknabeal, Australia on 22/09/1957. His
mother's name is Dawn, a librarian; his father Colin was an English teacher. He
has two older brothers, Tim (1952) and Peter (1954) and a sister, Julie (1959).
He was raised an Anglican, which explains the apparent influence of The Bible in
Caulfield Grammar School, Melbourne and an Art School (Art department of Caulfield
Institute of Technology, now Monash University) which he attended only two years. An
example of Nick's art is on the back of the Birthday Party's "Prayers On Fire"
album, signed "Nicholas Cave". At Caulfield Nick met Mick Harvey, with whom he
founded a high-school band that would become The Boys Next Door. The first recording
released by Nick was "These Boots Are Made For Walking" in 1978, a single that
was soon followed by the album "Door Door" the next year. The band consisted of
Nick, Mick Harvey, Tracy Pew, Phillip Calvert and Rowland S. Howard (from 1979 on).
The Boys Next
Door slowly dissolved into "The Birthday Party" in 1980 when the album of the
same name came out: some copies stated "The Birthday Party by The Boys Next
Door", others only "The Birthday Party". When they changed their name, the
band moved from Australia to London. Renegade outsiders, The Birthday Party hit London
from Melbourne with a force that still resounds today. Nick Cave, Mick Harvey, Rowland S.
Howard, Tracy Pew and Phil Calvert blazed through incendiary live shows and a string of
albums and EPs of swaggering, raw-boned blues that were at odds with the plastic pop of
the early '80s. The Birthday Party had a huge impact on the British rock scene of that
time, especially because of the expression of "raw emotion, wit and essential
dumbness" (Mute Records' opinion) in their music, though it took some time for them
to really break through. The LP "Prayers on Fire" was released in 1981,
"Junkyard" in 1982. The band moved to West-Berlin and fell apart in 1983 after
releasing 3 studio albums and 2 EP's. Their last EP, "Mutiny", was the ultimate
manifestation of the extremity of The Birthday Party's art.
Following the group's breakup in 1983, Cave briefly sojourned in Los Angeles,
writing a film script that would later manifest itself as the prison movie
Ghosts ... Of The Civil Dead, made with director John Hillcoat and director Evan
English. He also assembled the first incarnation of The Bad Seeds. Mick Harvey
remained from Birthday Party days. Blixa Bargeld, of Einsturzende Neubauten
infamy, had appeared as guest guitarist on The Birthday Party track "Mutiny In
Heaven," from their final Mutiny EP. Barry Adamson, who had guested on "Kiss Me
Black" from The Birthday Party's seminal Junkyard LP, came from revered
Manchester post-punks Magazine. Joined by Anita Lane, Edward Clayton Jones and
Hugo Race, they released From Her To Eternity in 1984. This fusion of diverse
talent was, if anything, more resourceful in constructing vivid musical
backdrops to Cave's song narratives.
Part of the Birthday
Party members continued to form The Bad Seeds, recording the first Nick Cave &
The Bad Seeds album in 1984: "From Her To Eternity". The line-up at this time
was: Nick Cave, Blixa Bargeld (guitar), Mick Harvey (drums), Barry Adamson (guitar and
piano), Hugo Race (guitar), Tracy Pew (bass, only during the Australian tour), with
cooperation of Anita Lane. The name "Bad Seeds" come from the film
"Bad Seed" by Mervin LeRoy, 1956, based on a play by Maxwell Anderson and a
novel by William March.
Relocated in Berlin,
Cave started work on what was to become his debut novel, And The Ass Saw The Angel. The
themes he was evoking in this work would fire the next Bad Seeds album, 1985's "The
First Born Is Dead", in which Cave, Harvey, Bargeld and Adamson explored the
myth-heavy terrain of Delta blues. The epic single "Tupelo," based on John Lee
Hooker's song of the same name, encapsulated Cave's Biblical fixation in one go, blending
the birth of the King with Old Testament mythology. Recruiting Die Haut's Thomas Wydler as
drummer, the 1986 incarnation of The Bad Seeds selected a poignant set of covers for the
"Kicking Against The Pricks" album, including Tim Rose's "Hey Joe,"
Velvet Underground's "All Tomorrow's Parties" and the definitive rework of Gene
Pitney's "Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart." They swiftly followed this
collection with the "Your Funeral..My Trial" LP. By this time, Barry Adamson had
left the band, replaced by ex-Cramps/Gun Club man, Kid Congo Powers, while the lineup
expanded with Roland Wolf on keyboards.
delivered 1988's "Tender Prey", with its condenmed-man drama "The Mercy
Seat" the most outstanding single. That year also saw the publication of Cave's book,
"King Ink", a collection of lyrics and plays, and the band appeared in Wim
Wender's film "Wings Of Desire", performing "The Carny" and "From
Her To Eternity." "Ghosts ... Of The Civil Dead", with a score composed by
Cave, Bargeld and Harvey and a central acting performance by Cave, gained its theatrical
release, and the singer's film work took on another dimension when he appeared as rock
star Freak Storm in Tom DiCillo's Johnny Suede. After this, Cave moved from Berlin to Sao
Paolo, Brazil, where he had met Viviane Carneiro during a tour. The influence of Brazil is
apparent in "The Good Son", the album released in 1990. The music is much more
melodious and friendly than on any other album released before and is often said to
express the Brazilian feeling of "saudade". Kid Congo Powers (Cramps, Gun Club)
made his appearance as a member of the Bad Seeds on this album, although he already played
in the band for a longer period, during the YFMT and KAtP times. In 1989, a film called
"Ghosts... of the Civil Dead" was released, co-written by Nick, the soundtrack
of which was written by Nick, acted in by Nick. It is a prison movie.
Not until 1992, the
seventh album was released: "Henry's Dream", followed by a worldwide tour.
Again, the line-up was changed: Nick, Blixa, Mick, Thomas, Martyn P. Casey and Conway
Savage. The tour was used to record their only official live CD to be released in 1993:
"Live Seeds". The CD was intended as a celebration of the ten years' existence
of The Bad Seeds and is sold together with a photobook by Peter Milne. The book contains
photographs from the 1992/3 tour.
The Bad Seeds'
creativity continued to soar to ever-heightening peaks over their next three releases.
1994's imaginative feast, "Let Love In", was produced by Tony Cohen, whose
association with Cave dates back to The Birthday Party days.
With Cave now based in
London, The Bad Seeds' impetus continued apace. 1996's "Murder Ballads" was a
culmination of Cave's longtime fascination with "the language of violence" and
allowed for further bold experimentation in musical style. Collaborations with Kylie
Minogue and PJ Harvey on the singles "Where The Wild Roses Grow" and "Henry
Lee," respectively, led to mainstream chart success and The Bad Seeds widest exposure
ever. This album also saw the addition of two new Bad Seeds: Warren Ellis, of Melbourne's
The Dirty Three, added vibrant violin, and New York NoWave troubleshooter Jim Sclavunos
pitched in atmospheric percussion.
Apart from this, Nick Cave features on the compilation Album "Songs In The Key Of
X", which has songs on it from the TV serial "The X-Files". Nick does
"Red Right Hand" and can be found on a "Hidden Track" called
"Time Jesum transeuntem et non reverendum" (Dread the passage of Jesus for he
will not return) with The Dirty Three.
Meanwhile, Cave, Harvey and Bargeld resumed their cinematic links with John Hillcoat,
scoring his second feature film, 1996's To Have And To Hold. Cave's second anthology of
lyrics and essays, King Ink II, was also published that year.Nick Cave was shortlisted for "Best Male
Artist" of 1996 by MTV Music Awards. He declined the honour, stating that he did not
want to compete with other people where Art was concerned."Thank you but no...no
March 1997 saw the
release of The Bad Seeds' tenth studio album, The Boatman's Call. Cave's most intensely
personal work to date, the music was pared down to a beautiful simplicity, evoking magical
atmospheres, while the singer explored the themes of love, faith and loss in unflinching
detail. Just as Murder Ballads piled on the visceral details with evident glee, so The
Boatman's Call stripped away all the veils of pretense to the bone of the emotions it
evoked. The contrast between the two albums says much about Cave and The Bad Seeds'
continual quest for excellence and illumination, as well as displaying all the versatility
of the most singular ensemble in contemporary music.
In 1998, the album
"The Best of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds" was released, as well as a video
compilation of several songs. The album contains selected songs, mainly chosen by Mick
Harvey, but the other Bad Seeds contributed as well. Initial copies of the album contain a
bonus-disc with live tracks from the concerts in Royal Albert Hall, 1997.
1999, Nick Cave performed without The Bad Seeds, usually with Warren Ellis and somethimes
with Dirty Three."And The Ass Saw The Angel - Readings and Music"
was rereleased.That's a Nick Cave 1988 readings acompanied by Mick, plus the music Mick
Harvey and Ed Clayton-Jones recorded for a theatrical adaptation of the book from October
1993.Meanwhile he get married
with Susie Bick.