Nicholas Edward “Nick” Cave (born 22 September 1957) is an Australian musician, songwriter, author, screenwriter, and occasional film actor.
“I had my heart set on being a painter,” he said yesterday. “But I failed art school. And then the band thing took over. But I’m kind of glad I’m not a painter. I have painter friends and it looks quite hard and lonely.”
Cave’s music is generally characterised by emotional intensity, a wide variety of influences, and lyrical obsessions with “religion, death, love, America, and violence.” It’s remarkable that someone can consistently bring an otherworldly level of passion and bravado to performances. When you combine that with brilliantly written songs, you get something very special.
His lyrics are polished and literary – but he is not just a singer/songwriter. He can belt out the most sinister of biblical and punk inspired rock anthems but there’s a tender side to him that most overlook.
Nick Cave began his recording career almost 30 years ago – not so much by knocking at the door of music industry respectability as lobbing hand grenades over that door then dancing on the corpses.
Nick fronted the band “The Birthday Party” in the early 1980s, a band renowned for its highly dark, challenging lyrics and violent sound influenced by free jazz, blues, and post-punk.
He spent much of the 1980s making a raucous blend of blues and industrial punk, which seemingly chased down the hounds of hell with a mix of the deranged and the humorous. The fuel for his music then was equal parts the Bible, the southern gothic novels of Flannery O’Connor, the music of Johnny Cash and heroin.
Not surprisingly, the mainstream music industry in Australia wanted nothing to do with him, his early (in)fame coming in London and Berlin.
He is best known for his work with the critically acclaimed rock band “Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds”, established in 1984 (and still going strong) – a group known for its eclectic influences and musical styles.
The Bad Seeds music pitches between paranoiac, frenzied delusions, and tragic, desperate ballads, with an occasional break (e.g. his 2006 Grinderman group) to rock out.
Upon Cave’s 2007 induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame, ARIA Awards committee chairman Ed St John said, “Nick Cave has enjoyed—and continues to enjoy—one of the most extraordinary careers in the annals of popular music. He is an Australian artist like Sidney Nolan is an Australian artist—beyond comparison, beyond genre, beyond dispute,
During his Acceptance speech in October 2007, Cave took it upon himself to induct the other Australian members of The Bad Seeds, plus the members of The Birthday Party.
The Boys Next Door Band ( 1973 – 1980 )
The Boys Next Door “Boys Next Door” was formed in 1973 by Nick Cave, Mick Harvey (guitar), and Phill Calvert (drums) John Cochivera (guitar), Brett Purcell (bass), and Chris Coyne (saxophone); while they were attending Caulfield Grammar School outside of Melbourne, Australia.
They were later joined by Tracy Pew (bass) in 1975, and Rowland S. Howard in 1978 on guitar and song writing, thereby solidifying the now slimmed down line-up..
Their repertoire consisted of proto-punk cover versions of songs by Lou Reed, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Roxy Music and Alex Harvey, among others. In 1977, after leaving school, they adopted the name The Boys Next Door and began playing predominantly original material.
From 1977 until their dissolution in 1980 the band explored various styles. They were a part of Melbourne’s post-punk music scene in the late 1970s, playing hundreds of live shows in Australia.
On the eve of their departure to England ( and later Berlin) they also decided to change their name, and did it with the release of a single which acknowledged the name change ‘Happy Birthday’.
Copies were given away at the group’s farewell performance at Melbourne’s Crystal Ballroom on February 16, 1980.
The band played their last show as the Boys Next Door on 28-Feb-80 in Melbourne at the Hearts club in the Polaris Inn.
They leave for London the next day and change their name to The Birthday Party.
The Birthday Party ( 1980 – 1983 )
Though the Birthday Party were in existence for a only a few years in the early 1980s, they proved a profoundly influential act whose sound can be detected in a variety of bands
The Birthday Party were one of the darkest and most challenging post-punk groups to emerge in the early 1980s, creating bleak and noisy soundscapes that provided the perfect setting for vocalist Nick Cave’s difficult, disturbing stories of religion, violence, and perversity.
After they arrived in Britain, their demented, knotty post-punk began to gel. Despite the name change they continue to perform mainly Boys Next Door songs during their live sets.
They lived in poor circumstances and had to take day jobs to support themselves. They played only 10 shows (on borrowed equipment) in the UK in 1980.
The band were notorious for their provocative live performances which featured Cave shrieking, bellowing and throwing himself about the stage, backed up by harsh pounding rock music laced with guitar feedback. At that time, Cave became a regular member of a gothic club in London called The Batcave.
Only as of the spring of 1981 did their sets consist mainly of “Birthday Party” material.
With Tony Cohen producing again they also spent time to record a full length album, ‘Prayers On Fire’ to critical acclaim both at home and in England where they were helping give rise to the goth movement.
The Birthday Party was bouncing back and forth between Australia and England.
Their sound drew upon punk, rockabilly, free jazz and the rawest blues, but transcended concise categorization. Fad-ridden English music had moved on to electro-pop, giving Birthday Party a chance to offer an intelligent but aggressive contribution to the post-script of the punk era.
The Birthday party relocated to Berlin, to be closer to it physically, but to keep from being consumed by the English music scene, and in search of a new direction. They also found a lot of distractions, cultural and otherwise.
While the band was preparing to record the follow-up, Pew was jailed for drunk driving; former Magazine member Barry Adamson, Harry Howard, and Chris Walsh filled in for the absent Pew on 1982’s Junkyard.
After the release of Junkyard, the Birthday Party fired Calvert and moved to Germany, where they began collaborating with such experimental post-punk acts like Lydia Lunch and Einstürzende Neubauten.
Harvey left in the summer of 1983.
Their songs could go at a slow ambient pace, build up to a tense ruckus of soundscapes, and then burn out in a mushroom cloud of distortion at breakneck speed. Every track was an assault, whether it crept up on you and bludgeoned you from behind or smashed into your conscious with full force.
Under the direction of Cave and guitarist Rowland S. Howard, the band tore through reams of blues and rockabilly licks, spitting out hellacious feedback and noise at an unrelenting pace.
As the Birthday Party’s career progressed, Cave’s vision got darker and the band’s songs alternated between dirges to blistering sonic assaults
They were never a group who wanted to be loved by their audience, and they were less so now. It was during this period of recklessness in the face of an international future that The Birthday Party’s reputation as a live act was forged.
The Birthday Party found little commercial success during their career. Though often indirect, their influence has been far-reaching, and have been called one of “the darkest and most challenging post-punk groups to emerge in the early ’80s.”
Birthday Party was a swirling maelstrom of post-punk discord, beat-influenced poetry, and gothic blues overtones. The band also gained a reputation for presenting some of the most intense live performances of the era.
Despite their limited commercial success, the creative core of the Birthday Party have gone on to acclaimed careers: singer and songwriter Nick Cave, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Mick Harvey, and singer, songwriter and guitarist Rowland S. Howard
The band returned to Australia and played its final gig in Melbourne 0n June 9, 1983, leaving Nick Cave and Mick Harvey to continue together with the Bad Seeds after a brief moment as Nick Cave and The Cavemen.
Howard and Cave found it difficult to continue working together and both were rather worn down from alcohol and drug use.
After establishing a cult following in Europe and Australia, The Birthday Party disbanded in 1984.
The Birthday Party’s ferocious live shows quickly earned them a cult following. “We had no interest in shocking people,” Cave later told Rolling Stone. “We wanted to go out and really abuse people and assault them and hurt them. And I think our integrity shines through in that as soon as we got to a point where everyone was coming along to have all this happen to ‘em, we folded up the group and went on to other things.”
Considering remarks like these and the Party’s general behavior, it was not surprising when substance abuse and personality conflicts were blamed for the band’s 1983 break-up, in West Berlin, where they had ultimately landed.
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/nick-cave#ixzz1TvfBlMIh
In August Nick, Rowland and Tracy return to London to recommence work on the “Mutiny!” EP. Towards the end of the sessions Blixa Bargeld replaces Rowland S.Howard on “Mutiny In Heaven”. Mick Harvey also participates.
After the “Mutiny!” EP sessions Tracy Pew returns to Melbourne, where he resumes studying.
He joins Nick Cave on his short Australian “Man or Myth ?”-tour in Dec-83/Jan-84 and later he joins the Saints touring band of 1984. He also guests on Nick Cave’s “Kicking Against The Pricks” album in Nov/Dec 1985.
NB … Tracy Pew died on 07-Nov-86.
Rowland S.Howard joins (together with Mick Harvey) Crime & The City Solution in January 1985 and later forms These Immortal Souls (1987-98). In 1994 he permanently returned to Melbourne where he ocassionally did some solo (acoustic) concerts.
In 1999 he records his first solo album “Teenage Snuff Film” and in 2008 his second, and final, “Pop Crimes” album.
NB .. Rowland S Howard died on 30-Dec-09.
Bad Seeds ( 1983 – still going strong )
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds was originally formed in late 1983 by Nick (vocals, songwriter, keyboards, harmonica) and Mick Harvey (drums, guitar, bass, keyboards, occasional songwriter).
With the Bad Seeds, Cave continued to explore his obsessions with religion, death, love, America, and violence with a bizarre, sometimes self-consciously eclectic hybrid of blues, gospel, rock, and arty post-punk, although in a more subdued fashion than his work with the Birthday Party”.
The name of the new project indicated the shift in Cave’s role from lead singer — as in The Birthday Party — to band leader, and coincided with his shift in songwriting style from expressionism to detailed lyrical narrative.
Cave and Harvey were joined by a semi-fluid group of bandmates, initially including Einstürzende Neubauten member Blixa Bargeld (guitar), Hugo Race (guitar), and former Magazine member Barry Adamson (guitar, bass, piano).
After some studio work, the band’s debut public performance was held on New Year’s Eve 1983 in Melbourne, under the name Nick Cave – Man Or Myth? and was followed by a short tour, even though the band was “in the wilderness” and without management.
The band then briefly performed under the name Nick Cave and the Cavemen before adopting the “Bad Seeds” moniker, in reference to the final Birthday Party release, The Bad Seed EP
Soon after their final name change, the group recorded their debut album, From Her to Eternity, which released in 1984, and was quickly followed by Race’s departure from the group.
Cave separated from long-time girlfriend and credited Bad Seed lyricist Anita Lane prior to the final sessions from From Her to Eternity and began a relationship with Elisabeth Recker.
After relocating himself and The Bad Seeds to West Berlin, Nick Cave recorded and released a further four albums with The Bad Seeds.
The Firstborn Is Dead, released in 1985, featured their hit single “Tupelo and their 1986 cover album Kicking Against the Pricks featured covers from Cave’s influences, such as Johnny Cash, John Lee Hooker and Lead Belly.
The band gathered a notable following soon after the release of Your Funeral, My Trial in 1986 and received praise for their 1988 Tender Prey which features Cave’s signature song, “The Mercy Seat”.
In 1987, the Bad Seeds made an appearance in the Wim Wenders film Wings of Desire and Cave was also featured in the 1988 film Ghosts… of the Civil Dead which he co-wrote.
The band collectively eliminated hard drugs from its diet in 1989, a habit which had caused tension within the group and had led to the dissolution of The Birthday Party seven years prior.
Cave relocated to Sao Paulo, Brazil with partner Viviane Carneiro soon after the release and subsequent tour for Tender Prey and released The Good Son, Powers’ final collaboration with the band, in 1990. The album was well-received critically and commercially as it featured a more structured sound as opposed to the band’s previous experimental sound.
Their next record, 1992’s Henry’s Dream saw the band’s line-up change yet again and was the first album to feature current members Martyn Casey and Conway Savage.
The album’s tour — which is documented on 1993’s live album Live Seeds — was the band’s most successful up to that time.
In mid-1993, Cave relocated to London where Henry’s Dream’s follow-up Let Love In was recorded in 1994.
In 1996, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds released Murder Ballads, the band’s most notable work to date. Dealing with the subject of murder, the album includes a cover of the folk song “Henry Lee” — a duet with British rock singer PJ Harvey, with whom Cave had a brief relationship — and “Where the Wild Roses Grow”, a duet with Australian pop idol Kylie Minogue.
The latter was a mainstream hit in the United Kingdom and in Australia, winning three ARIA Awards including “Song of the Year.”
Australian violinist Warren Ellis began working with the band at this time, and would play an increasingly significant creative role in the band’s output in coming years.
1997 saw the release of the band’s next album, The Boatman’s Call, which was marked by a radical shift away from archetypal and violent narratives to biographical and confessional songs about his relationships with ex-wife Vivian Carneiro and PJ Harvey.
After the release of the album, Cave then took a short break to rehabilitate from his 20 years of heroin and alcohol abuse, during which time he also remarried.
Following Cave’s rehabilitation throughout the latter half of the 1990s, the band resurfaced with No More Shall We Part in 2001, though the album was not well-received among fans.
After the release of 2003’s Nocturama, which failed to excite reviewers and fans alike, long-time member Bargeld announced he was leaving The Bad Seeds after 20 years with the group to devote more time to Einstürzende Neubauten.
In 2004, the band released the acclaimed two-disc set Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus, with English guitarist and organist James Johnston (of the group Gallon Drunk) replacing Bargeld.
Cave, Ellis, Sclavunos and Casey formed the new side-project Grinderman in 2006.
The band, essentially half of The Bad Seeds and featuring Cave on guitar for the first significant time, perform more garage rock-influenced music that nonetheless retains much of The Bad Seeds’ aura.
Since this time, the two bands have operated simultaneously and Grinderman have since released two albums, 2007’s Grinderman and 2010’s follow-up Grinderman 2.
The band released their fourteenth and most recent studio album, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! in 2008.
Inspired by the Biblical story of the resurrection of Lazarus of Bethany by Jesus Christ, the album received excellent reviews.
The band also released an exclusive “Live Session” EP through iTunes in April 2008, recorded at Air Studios on 2 March, as part of iTunes’ “Live From London” series.
The group next embarked on a North American and European tour supporting Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, with a seven-piece lineup omitting Johnston, who had reportedly left the group after the album’s completion.
On 22 January 2009, following a string of Bad Seeds concerts in Australia, Mute Records issued a statement from Mick Harvey announcing his departure from the band after 25 years citing professional and personal reasons.
It was the end of a 36 year-long musical collaboration between Cave and Harvey and left Cave as the group’s only original member.
Shortly thereafter, the band announced plans to perform summer festival dates with the addition of guitarist Ed Kuepper, formerly of the influential Australian bands The Saints and Laughing Clowns.
The band’s song “O Children” from the album Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus appeared in the 2010 film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Pt 1.
Grinderman ( 2006 – still going )
Grinderman is an Australian garage rock band, formed by Nick Cave (vocals, electric guitar, organ, piano), Warren Ellis (electric bouzouki, Fendocastor, violin, viola, acoustic guitar, backing vocals), Martyn P. Casey (bass, acoustic guitar, backing vocals) and Jim Sclavunos (drums, percussion, backing vocals), all of whom are members of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
After heavy touring throughout 2005 in support of Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus, Cave began writing songs on guitar, an instrument he rarely played.
All members are also active musicians in Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and the band, originally known as Mini Seeds, were formed as “a way to escape the weight of The Bad Seeds.”
The band’s name is inspired by a Memphis Slim song, “Grinder Man Blues”, which Cave is noted to have started singing during one of the band’s early rehearsal sessions.
In addition to his performances with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Cave has, since the 1990s, performed live ‘solo’ tours with himself on piano/vocals, Warren Ellis on violin/accordion and various others on bass and drums.
In 2006, this line-up, now including Cave on electric guitar, continued his ‘solo’ tours performing Bad Seeds material.
In the same year three other Bad Seeds, Mick Harvey, Thomas Wydler and James Johnston, undertook Harvey’s first ‘solo’ tours of Europe and Australia performing material from his own albums. Melbourne double bassist Rosie Westbrook completed the quartet.
While Nick Cave’s music has evolved from the harrowing post-punk wail of the Birthday Party to the eloquent and often poetic approach he explored on the albums The Boatman’s Call and No More Shall We Part with his group the Bad Seeds, the troublemaking noise merchant of his youth has never entirely gone away, and in 2006 Cave founded Grinderman to give this side of his musical personality a new outlet.
Grinderman came to be when Cave was writing material in 2004 for his acclaimed album Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus.
Tired of writing in his office at home and then presenting the material to the Bad Seeds, Cave decided to try a new approach by teaming up with bandmembers Martyn Casey on bass, Warren Ellis on violin and guitar, and Jim Sclavunos on drums and working up songs as a group.
With Cave improvising lyrics and playing guitar while his bandmates built melodies around them, the musicians began veering off into more experimental territory. Whipping up a potent dose of elemental music rooted in blues, punk, and no wave, the foursome created something wholly separate from the Bad Seeds, with an energy and emotional fury that pointed to the pathbreaking music of their pasts while belying the maturity of the participants.
Cave and his partners decided to give the new music an identity of its own, and Grinderman were born.
In February 2006, the band went into a studio in London and began a marathon session of writing and demoing material; the following April, they took the cream of these new songs and recorded an album with the help of producer Nick Launay.
The first Grinderman tune, “No Pussy Blues,” was released to the Internet in the fall of 2006; a limited-edition vinyl single of “Get It On” was issued in February 2007, with Grinderman’s 11-song debut album following that spring.
An album of new material by Cave’s ‘solo’ quartet, now named Grinderman, was released in March 2007.
This was Grinderman’s first public performance. Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream accompanied Grinderman on backing vocals and percussion. The band played a select number of dates to promote the album, which was critically as well as commercially successful.
The quartet reconvened in 2009 to record Grinderman 2, which was released in 2010.
Many of Nick Cave’s songs have found their way into movie soundtracks.
One of the earliest to feature Cave’s distinctive style by incorporating him as part of the movie’s music scene—circa 1979—was Dogs in Space, a film by Richard Lowenstein. Cave performed parts of the Boys Next Door song “Shivers” twice during the film, once on video and once live.
Another early fan of Cave’s was German director Wim Wenders, who lists Cave, along with Lou Reed and Portishead, as among his favorites.
Two of Cave’s songs were featured in his 1987 film Wings of Desire. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds also make a cameo appearance in this film.
Two more songs were included in Wenders’ 1993 sequel Faraway, So Close!, including the title track. The soundtrack for Wenders’ 1991 film Until the End of the World features Cave’s “(I’ll Love You) Till the End of the World.”
His most recent production, Palermo Shooting, also contains a Nick Cave song, as does his 2003 documentary The Soul of a Man.
Cave’s songs have also appeared in a number of Hollywood blockbusters and major TV shows.
For instance, his “There is a Light” appears on the 1995 soundtrack for Batman Forever, and “Red Right Hand” appeared in a number of films and TV shows, including The X-Files, Dumb & Dumber; Scream, its sequels Scream 2 and 3, and Hellboy (performed by Pete Yorn). In Scream 3, the song was given a reworking with Cave writing new lyrics and adding an orchestra to the arrangement of the track. This version appears on The Bad Seeds B-Sides and Rarities album.
The song “People Ain’t No Good” was featured in the animated movie Shrek 2, as well as in one of the episodes of the television series The L Word.
Cave also sang a cover of The Beatles’ “Let It Be,” for the 2001 film I Am Sam.
Original material written for movie productions includes the song “To Be By Your Side,” for the soundtrack of the 2001 French documentary Le Peuple Migrateur (called Winged Migration in the US).
Cave composed the soundtrack for the 2005 film The Proposition with fellow Australian and Bad Seed Warren Ellis.
Cave and Ellis once again collaborated on the music for the 2007 film The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
Also in 2007, Cave and Ellis wrote the soundtrack for the feature documentary The English Surgeon.
The duo also provided original music for The Road in 2009 and the soundtrack for the audio book of Cave’s novel The Death of Bunny Munro.
Most recently, his song “Up Jumped the Devil” was featured in the Remedy-developed 2010 video game Alan Wake.
Cave’s song “O Children” was featured in the 2010 movie, though not in the official soundtrack, of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1.
Cave released his first book, King Ink, in 1988. It is a collection of lyrics and plays, including collaborations with American enfant terrible Lydia Lunch.
In 1997, he followed up with King Ink II, containing lyrics, poems, and the transcript of a radio essay he did for the BBC in July 1996, “The Flesh Made Word,” discussing in biographical format his relationship with Christianity.
While he was based in West Berlin, Cave started working on what was to become his debut novel, And the Ass Saw the Angel (1989).
The Ass Saw the Angel is a picaresque story set in a mythological valley, based on Cave’s perception of an American South he has never visited. Its’ hero is a hunchback mute with the most woeful face in the world.
Significant crossover is evident between the themes in the book and the lyrics Cave wrote in the late stages of the Birthday Party and the early stage of his solo career. “Swampland”, from Mutiny, in particular, uses the same linguistic stylings (‘mah’ for ‘my’, for instance) and some of the same themes (the narrator being haunted by the memory of a girl called Lucy, being hunted like an animal, approaching death and execution).
Cave’s second novel, The Death of Bunny Munro was published on 8 September 2009 by Harper Collins books.
The Death of Bunny Munro, which tells the story of a sex-addicted salesman, was also released as a binaural audio-book produced by British Artists Forsyth and Jane Pollard and an iPhone app. The book originally started as a screenplay Cave was going to write for John Hillcoat.
As proof of his interest in scripture, so evident in his lyrics and his prose writing, Cave wrote the foreword to a Canongate publication of the Gospel according to Mark, published in the UK in 1998. The American edition of the same book (published by Grove Press) contains a foreword by the noted American writer Barry Hannah.
Cave and Ellis composed scores for a production by the Icelandic theatre company Vesturport of Woyzeck by Georg Büchner, performed at the Barbican Theatre in the Barbican Arts Centre in London in 2005, and a stage adaptation of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis at the Lyric Hammersmith in London in 2006.
Cave is a contributor to the 2009 rock biography on The Triffids Vagabond Holes: David McComb and the Triffids, edited by Australian academics Niall Lucy and Chris Coughran.
Acting and Screenwriting
Cave has made occasional appearances as an actor, most prominently in the 1989 film Ghosts … of the Civil Dead, written and directed by John Hillcoat, and in the 1991 film Johnny Suede, with Brad Pitt.
Cave appeared in the 2005 homage to Leonard Cohen, Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man, in which he performed “I’m Your Man” solo, and “Suzanne” with Julie Christensen and Perla Batalla.
He also appeared in the 2007 film adaptation of Ron Hansen’s novel The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, where he sings a song about Jesse James. Cave and Warren Ellis are credited for the film’s soundtrack.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are also featured in Wim Wenders’ 1987 film Wings of Desire.
Displaying a keen interest in other aspects of film, Cave wrote the screenplay for The Proposition, a film set in the colonial Australian Outback. Directed by John Hillcoat and filmed in Queensland in 2004, it premiered in October 2005 and has since been released worldwide to critical acclaim.
The generally ambient soundtrack was recorded by Cave and Warren Ellis.
At the request of friend Russell Crowe, Cave wrote a script for a proposed sequel to Gladiator which was rejected by the studio.
His interest in the work of Edward Gorey led to his participation in the BBC Radio 3 programme, guest+host=ghost, featuring Peter Blegvad and the radiophonic sound of the Langham Research Centre..
Cave has also lent his voice in narrating an award winning animated film called The Cat Piano. It was directed by Eddie White and Ari Gibson (of The People’s Republic Of Animation), produced by Jessica Brentnall and has music by Benjamin Speed.
Cave wrote the screenplay for The Wettest County in the World.
He has also completed the script for a new film titled Death of a Ladies’ Man and will rewrite the script of The Crow remake.
About Nick Cave
Cave was born in the small town of Warracknabeal in the state of Victoria, Australia, to Dawn and Colin Cave.
He has two brothers: Tim (b. 1952) and Peter (b. 1954), and a sister, Julie (b. 1959).
As a child, he lived in Warracknabeal and then Wangaratta in rural Victoria. His father was an English teacher and administrator, with a love of literature, and his mother was a librarian. His grandfather, Frank J. Cave, was a prominent radio broadcaster and documentary film producer.
Raised as an Anglican, Cave sang in the boys choir at Wangaratta Cathedral.
He grew to detest the attitudes of small-town Australia, and he was often in trouble with the local school authorities, so his parents sent him to boarding school at Melbourne’s Caulfield Grammar School in 1970.
Cave joined the school choir under choirmaster Norman Kaye, and also benefited from having a piano in his home.
The following year he became a “day boy” when his family moved to Murrumbeena, a suburb of Melbourne.
Cave was 19 when his father was killed in a car accident; at the moment he was informed of this, his mother Dawn Cave was bailing him out of a St Kilda police station for a charge of burglary.
Cave would later recall that his father “died at a point in my life when I was most confused”, and “the loss of my father created in my life a vacuum, a space in which my words began to float and collect and find their purpose”.
After his secondary schooling, Cave studied painting (Fine Art) at the Caulfield Institute of Technology (now Monash University, Caulfield Campus) in 1976, but dropped out in 1977 to pursue music.
He also began using heroin around this time.
Despite this, Cave and Lane recorded together on only a few occasions. Their most notable collaborations include Lane’s ‘cameo’ verse on Cave’s Bob Dylan cover “Death Is Not The End” from the album Murder Ballads, and a cover of the Serge Gainsbourg/Jane Birkin song “Je t’aime/ I love you nor do I”.
Lane co-wrote the lyrics to the title track for Cave’s 1984 LP, From Her to Eternity, as well as the lyrics of the song “Stranger Than Kindness” from Your Funeral, My Trial.
Cave, Lydia Lunch and Lane wrote a comic book together, entitled AS-FIX-E-8, in the style of the old “Pussy Galore”/Russ Meyer movies.
After completing his debut novel And the Ass Saw the Angel, Cave left West Berlin shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall and moved to São Paulo, Brazil, where he met Brazilian journalist Viviane Carneiro.
The two have a son, Luke (b. 10 May 1991), but never married.
Cave’s son Jethro (born in 1991) lives with his mother, Beau Lazenby, in Australia and has a career in modelling.
Cave briefly dated PJ Harvey during the mid 1990s. The love affair and their break-up inspired him to write the album The Boatman’s Call.
He met British model Susie Bick in 1997. A cover star of the Damned’s 1985 album Phantasmagoria and a Vivienne Westwood model, she gave up her job when they married in summer 1999.
They have twin sons, Arthur and Earl (born in 2000) and currently live in Brighton and Hove, England.
Cave performed “Into My Arms” at the televised funeral of Michael Hutchence, but refused to play in front of the cameras. Cave is godfather of Hutchence’s only child, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily.
In the past, Cave identified as a Christian. In his recorded lectures on music and songwriting, he has claimed that any true love song is a song for God and has ascribed the mellowing of his music to a shift in focus from the Old to the New Testaments.
He does not belong to a particular denomination and has distanced himself from “religion as being an American thing, in which the name of God has been hijacked”.
In an interview in The Guardian in 2009, he said: “Do I personally believe in a personal God? No.”
He elaborated in a recent Los Angeles Times article: “I’m not religious, and I’m not a Christian, but I do reserve the right to believe in the possibility of a god. It’s kind of defending the indefensible, though; I’m critical of what religions are becoming, the more destructive they’re becoming. But I think as an artist, particularly, it’s a necessary part of what I do, that there is some divine element going on within my songs.”
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 1983 From her to eternity
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 1985 The Firstborn Is Dead
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 1986 Kicking Against the Pricks
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 1986 Your Funeral My Trial
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 1988 Tender Prey
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 1990 The Good Son
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 1992 Henry’s Dream
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 1994 Let Love In
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 1996 Murder Ballads
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 1997 The Boatman’s Call
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 2001 No More Shall We Part
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 2003 Nocturama
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 2004 Abattoir Blues / The Lyre Of Orpheus
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 2008 Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
THE BOYS NEXT DOOR, THE BIRTHDAY PARTY, GRINDERMAN
The Boys Next Door: 1979 Door, Door
The Boys Next Door: 1979 Shivers / Dive Position
The Birthday Party: 1981 Prayers On Fire
The Birthday Party: 1982 Junkyard
The Birthday Party: 1982 Drunk on the Pope’s Blood
+ Lydia Lunch: The Agony is the Ecstacy
The Birthday Party: 1983 Mutiny EP
The Birthday Party: 1992 Hits
Grinderman: 2007 Grinderman
Grinderman: 2010 Grinderman 2
LIVE, COMPILATIONS, RARITIES
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 1984 In the Ghetto
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 1986-09-26 Zeche – Bochum (Germany)
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 1986-09-29 Grosse Freiheit – Hamburg (Germany)
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 1987-05-10 Live at Raimund Theatre, Wien
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 1993 Live Seeds
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 1997 Live At The Royal Albert Hall
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 1998 Black Session (live)
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 1988-10-18 Muziekcentrum Vredenburg – Utrecht (Holland)
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 1998 The Best of…
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 1998 House of Blues
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 2001 God Is In The House
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 2001-07-04 The Stadtpark – Hamburg (Germany)
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 2002 Songs for a November Night
Nick Cave: 2003-10-06 At Vicar St. (Dublin, Ireland)
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 2004 Live In Berlin
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 2005 B-Sides & Rarities
Tom Waits, Nick Cave and friends: 2005 A flowerdance Collection
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 2005-2007 The Kindness of Strangers
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 2007 Abattoir Blues Tour Live
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 2008-01-05 Vorst National – Brussels
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 2008-10-06 930.08 (live)
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 2008 More News From Nowhere
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 2009-01-10 Bourke St Stage, Mt Buller Ski Resort – Victoria (Australia)
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 2009-11-07 Live at Oxegen Festival
Nick Cave, Mick Harvey & Blixa Bargeld: 1989 Ghosts… of the Civil Dead
Blixa Bargeld, Nick Cave & Mick Harvey: 1996 To Have and To Hold
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis: 2005 The Proposition
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis: 2007 Assassination of Jesse James
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis: 2009 White Lunar
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis: 2010 The Road
Nick Cave – vocals, piano, organ, harmonica, percussion, electric guitar, string arrangements (1983–present)
Thomas Wydler – drums, percussion, vocals (1985–present)
Martyn P. Casey – bass, vocals (1990–present)
Conway Savage – piano, organ, vocals (1990–present)
Jim Sclavunos – percussion, drums, organ, melodica, vocals (1994–present)
Warren Ellis – violin, fender mandocaster, loops, mandolin, tenor guitar, viola, bouzouki, accordion, flute, lute, piano, programming, percussion, string arrangements, vocals (1997–present; as guest, 1994–1997)
Ed Kuepper – electric guitar, vocals (2009–present)
In addition to his performances with the Bad Seeds, Cave has, since the ’90s, performed live ‘solo’ tours with Cave on piano, Ellis on violin and a fluctuating bass/drums line-up.
The current trio is Bad Seeds’ Martyn P. Casey, Jim Sclavunos and Warren Ellis (nicknamed the Mini-Seeds, later known as a separate band, Grinderman).
Mick Harvey – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, drums, organ, percussion, piano, loops, string arrangements, vocals (1983–2009)
Blixa Bargeld – electric guitar, slide guitar, pedal steel guitar, keyboards, vocals (1983–2003)
Barry Adamson – bass, electric guitar, drums, organ, piano, percussion, vocals (1983–1986)
Hugo Race – electric guitar, vocals (1983–1984)
Anita Lane – lyrics (1984)
Kid Congo Powers – electric guitar, slide guitar (1986–1990)
Roland Wolf (deceased) – piano, organ, electric guitar, vocals (1986–1989)
James Johnston – organ, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals (2003–2008; as guest, 1994)
GUEST AND TOURING MUSICIANS
James G. Thirlwell – uncredited studio session (1983)
Tracy Pew (deceased) – bass (1984)
Edward Clayton-Jones – guitar (1984)
Christoph Dreher – bass (1985)
Rowland S. Howard (deceased) – electric guitar, organ, vocals (1985)
Band leader Cave moved from Melbourne to London in 1980. Since forming The Bad Seeds in 1984 he has lived in Berlin, São Paulo, London and Brighton (UK).
The various international members of the band meet to record and tour.
Australian: Nick Cave, Mick Harvey, Hugo Race, Conway Savage, Warren Ellis, Martyn P. Casey and Ed Kuepper
British: Barry Adamson and James Johnston
German: Blixa Bargeld and Roland Wolf
Swiss: Thomas Wydler
American: Kid Congo Powers and Jim Sclavunos