Nick Cave

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Nick CaveNicholas Edward 'Nick' Cave (born 22 September 1957) is an Australian musician, songwriter, author, screenwriter, and occasional film actor.

He is best known for his work as a frontman of the critically acclaimed rock band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, established in 1984, a group known for its eclectic influences and musical styles. Before that, he had fronted the group 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. In 2006, he formed the garage rock band Grinderman that released its debut the following year. Cave's music is generally characterised by emotional intensity, a wide variety of influences, and lyrical obsessions with 'religion, death, love, America, and violence.'

Upon Cave's 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.'

Youth and education

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. On 28 March 2008, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws from this university.

Music career

In 1973, Cave met Mick Harvey (guitar), Phill Calvert (drums), John Cochivera (guitar), Brett Purcell (bass), and Chris Coyne (saxophone); fellow students at Caulfield Grammar. They founded a band with Cave as singer. Their repertoire consisted of proto-punk cover versions of songs by Lou Reed, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Roxy Music and Alex Harvey, among others. Later, the line-up slimmed down to four members including Cave's friend Tracy Pew on bass. In 1977, after leaving school, they adopted the name The Boys Next Door and began playing predominantly original material. Guitarist and songwriter Rowland S. Howard joined the band in 1978, expanding to five members.

From 1977 until their dissolution in 1983 (by which time they were known as The Birthday Party) 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 before changing their name to the Birthday Party in 1980 and moving to London, then West Berlin. Cave's Australian girlfriend and muse Anita Lane accompanied them to London. 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.

After establishing a cult following in Europe and Australia, The Birthday Party disbanded in 1984. Howard and Cave found it difficult to continue working together and both were rather worn down from alcohol and drug use.

Cave and the Seeds (1984-present)

The band with Cave as their leader and frontman has released fourteen studio albums. Their most recent album, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! was released on 8 April 2008. Though their sound tends to change considerably from one album to another, the one constant of the band is an unpolished blending of disparate genres, and song structures which provide a vehicle for Cave's virtuosic, frequently histrionic theatrics.

Critics Stephen Thomas Erlewine and Steve Huey write, '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'. Pitchfork Media calls the group one of rock's 'most enduring, redoubtable' bands, with an accomplished discography.

Cave and the band curated an edition of the famous All Tomorrow's Parties music festival, the first in Australia, throughout the country in January 2009.

Solo work and Grinderman

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. The current trio are Bad Seeds' Martyn P. Casey, Jim Sclavunos and Ellis (nicknamed the Mini-Seeds). 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.

An album of new material by Cave's 'solo' quartet, now named Grinderman, was released in March 2007.

Nick Cave 'solo' and Grinderman both played at the All Tomorrow's Parties music festival in April 2007. This was Grinderman's first public performance. Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream accompanied Grinderman on backing vocals and percussion.

In December 2011, after performing at Meredith Music Festival, Cave announced that Grinderman were over.

Soundtrack involvement
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 audiobook 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.

Work with other artists
Nick Cave has also played with Shane MacGowan, in a cover version of Bob Dylan's 'Death is Not the End', and Louis Armstrong's 'What a Wonderful World'. Cave has also performed 'What a Wonderful World' live with The Flaming Lips. Cave recorded a cover version of the Pogues song 'Rainy Night in Soho', written by MacGowan.

Nick Cave at a solo concert in Mainz, Germany on 11 November 2006.
MacGowan also sings a version of 'Lucy', released on B-Sides and Rarities. On 3 May 2008, during the Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! tour Shane MacGowan joined Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds on stage to perform 'Lucy' at Dublin Castle in Ireland. Pulp's single 'Bad Cover Version' includes on its B-side a cover version by Cave of that band's song 'Disco 2000'. On the Deluxe Edition of Pulp's Different Class another take of this cover can be found.

In 2000, one of Cave's heroes, Johnny Cash, covered Cave's 'The Mercy Seat' on the album American III: Solitary Man, seemingly repaying Cave for the compliment he paid by covering Cash's 'The Singer' (originally 'The Folk Singer') on his Kicking Against the Pricks album. Cave was then invited to be one of many rock and country artists to contribute to the liner notes of the retrospective The Essential Johnny Cash CD, released to coincide with Cash's 70th birthday. Subsequently, Cave cut a duet with Cash on a version of Hank Williams' 'I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry' for Cash's American IV: The Man Comes Around album (2002). A similar duet, the American folk song 'Cindy', was released posthumously on the 'Johnny Cash: Unearthed' boxset. Cave's song 'Let the Bells Ring' is a posthumous tribute to Cash. Cave has also covered the song 'Wanted Man' which is best known as performed by Johnny Cash but is a Bob Dylan composition.

In 2004, Cave gave a hand to Marianne Faithfull on the album, Before the Poison. He co-wrote and produced three songs ('Crazy Love', 'There is a Ghost' and 'Desperanto'), and the Bad Seeds are featured on all of them. He is also featured on 'The Crane Wife' (originally by The Decemberists), on Faithfull's 2008 album, Easy Come, Easy Go.

Cave collaborated with the band Current 93 on their album All the Pretty Little Horses, where he sings the title track, a lullaby. For his 1996 album Murder Ballads, Cave recorded 'Where The Wild Roses Grow' with Kylie Minogue, and 'Henry Lee' with P.J. Harvey.

Cave also took part in the 'X-Files' compilation CD with some other artists, where he reads parts from the Bible combined with own texts, like 'Time Jesum...', he outed himself as a fan of the series some years ago, but since he does not watch much TV, it was one of the only things he watched. He collaborated on the 2003 single 'Bring It On', with Chris Bailey, formerly of the Australian punk group, The Saints. Cave contributed vocals to the song 'Sweet Rosyanne', on the 2006 album Catch That Train! from Dan Zanes & Friends, a children's music group.

In 2011, Cave recorded a cover of the Zombies' 'She's Not There' with Neko Case, which was used at the end of the first episode of the fourth season of True Blood.

Literary career

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.

Cave reading from The Death of Bunny Munro in New York City, 2009.
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). 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). On 21 January 2008, a special edition of Cave's novel And the Ass Saw the Angel was released. Cave's second novel The Death of Bunny Munro was published on 8 September 2009 by Harper Collins books. It tells the story of a sex-addicted salesman, was also released as a binaural audio-book produced by British Artists Iain 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.

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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