Nick Cave's literary, often morose songs have inspired many alternative
groups in the '90s. The Australian singer/songwriter and keyboardist has
been a member of the influential bands the Birthday Party and the Bad
Nicholas Edward Cave was born 42 years ago today in Wangaratta, Australia.
His father was an Anglican English teacher and his mother a librarian.
He attended art school and formed a band called the Boys Next Door with
a schoolmate, multi-instrumentalist Mick Harvey.
Cave's first single was "These Boots are Made for Walking," which was
followed by the Door Door (1979) album. The following year, the
Boys Next Door issued The Birthday Party and changed their name
to the album's title. The Birthday Party relocated to London and became
part of the growing new-wave scene.
With its raw, emotive, sharp-witted music, the Birthday Party made an
impact in the UK with such LPs as Prayers on Fire (1981) and
Junkyard (1982). After their EP Mutiny (which featured the
first Cave collaborations with Einstürzende Neubauten's Blixa Bargeld),
the Birthday Party disbanded.
Cave then formed the Bad Seeds (which included, at various times, Harvey,
Bargeld, guitarist Kid Congo Powers, bassist Martyn P. Casey, pianist
Conway Savage and others), who released 1984's From Her to Eternity,
on which Cave wrote about Americana, murder and religion. It featured
"The Moon Is in the Gutter" along with a cover of the Elvis Presley hit
"In the Ghetto" and "Cabin Fever." The Firstborn is Dead followed
a year later.
Kicking Against the Pricks (1986) was a compilation of mostly
blues covers. The same year's Your Funeral ... My Trial was issued
on two EPs.
In 1987 Cave appeared in Wim Wenders' film "Wings of Desire." A year
later Cave published the novel "And the Ass Saw the Angel." Cave also
acted in and co-wrote the prison movie "Ghosts ... of the Civil Dead,"
and composed the film's soundtrack.
After moving to Brazil, Cave issued 1990's The Good Son. Following
1993's Let Love In, Cave & the Bad Seeds performed on the 1994
Lollapalooza tour. Dissatisfied with the crowd reaction, Cave has rarely
played in the U.S. since then.
Murder Ballads (1996) included the lengthy "O' Malley's Bar" and
featured Polly Jean Harvey, Kylie Minogue and Shane McGowan. Cave turned
down an MTV Video Music Award nomination in 1996, citing his refusal to
compete with others over art. That same year, Cave appeared in the film "Rhinoceros
Hunting in Budapest."
In 1997 came The Boatman's Call. Last year Warner Brothers Records
issued The Best of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, which included "The
Ship Song" (RealAudio
excerpt). Of the LP, Cave said, "I think it proves we've been
chained to the same bowl of vomit for 15 years."
This year came the video "Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds Live at the Paradiso,"
a film of a Bad Seeds show in 1991.
"The whole thing [Cave] does really appeals to me," said Dan Seta,
guitarist for slow-core group Idaho. Seta said Cave is a significant
influence on Idaho's brooding, glacial sound. "[The Bad Seeds'] song
structure is amazing. The darkness and overall tenor of the music,
lyrically and tonally, is just amazing. It really sounds like this guy
could be out killing people."
Other birthdays: David Coverdale (Deep Purple/Whitesnake), 48; Debby
Boone, 43; Doug Wimbish (Living Colour), 43; Johnette Napolitano (Concrete
Blonde), 42; Joan Jett, 39; and Big Rube, 28.