Nicholas Cave is a musician, singer-songwriter, author, screenwriter, composer, and occasional actor from Warracknabeal, Victoria, Australia. Cave is regarded as one of the major influences of Gothic rock for both his contributions in The Birthday Party and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2007 and named Officer of the Order of Australia in 2017.
As lead songwriter for The Birthday Party -- originally known as The Boys Next Door -- Cave penned post-punk tales of violence and perversion on songs such as “Release the Bats”, based on his own life chock-full of expulsions, heroin addiction, and a profuse amount of arrests. On stage, the band, comprised of fellow boarding school attendees, Mick Harvey (guitar), Phill Calvert (drums), John Cochivera (guitar), and Brett Purcell (bass), later replaced by Tracy Pew, gave piercing performances with heavy distortion paired with Cave commonly shrieking and thrashing about. Although acquiring a cult following, the band broke up in 1983. Shortly after, Cave did a brief stint with supergroup The Immaculate Consumptive with a line-up of Marc Almond, Lydia Lunch, and Clint Ruin.
In 1983, Nick Cave and Birthday Party band member Mick Harvey formed Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (originally Nick Cave and the Cavemen) along with guitarist Bargeld and bassist Barry Adamson. They soon inducted other Birthday Party members Tracy Pew and guitarist Hugo Race. The band have released a total of 16 studio albums and is widely celebrated as one of the most influential post-punk bands of the '80s. Their first album, From Her to Eternity, featured lyrics from Cave’s longtime girlfriend Anita Lane and was released on Mute Records in 1984. After moving to Berlin, the band released the Gothic Americana-inspired album The Firstborn Is Dead (1985). A cover album was released the following year titled Kicking Against the Pricks, featuring iterations of material by Johnny Cash and John Lee Hooker. The band gained further critical acclaim after their release of Your Funeral, My Trial (1986). During this time Adamson left the band, marking the arrival of Thomas Wylder. In addition, longtime bandmate Tracy Pew died from an epileptic seizure. Tender Prey (1988), the dark, nihilistic record led to the addition of guitarist Kid Congo Powers and keyboardist Roland Wolf. Although incredibly successful, an array of drug-related issued handicapped the members and caused for Cave’s relocation to Sao Paulo, Brazil, after completing a drug rehabilitation program and a brief hiatus.
This seeming rebirth marked the beginning of a new era for the group. On The Good Son, the band utilized a lighter, hymn-like sound with traces of gospel influence. After The Good Son, Cave continued to experiment with different genres from album to album, concocting a mixture of blues, rock, post-punk and art-pop. From 1989-1997, the band released Henry’s Dream (1992), Let Love In (1993), Murder Ballads (1996) and the Boatman’s Call (1997), with sounds ranging from aggressive punk on Henry’s Dream to crushing ballads about loss and longing, accompanied by minimal arrangements on Boatman’s Call. During this time, the lineup of band members heavily fluctuated.
From 1997-2005, the band continued to release an assortment of diverse albums including Original Seeds (1998), a collection of tracks from artists that inspired the band’s music, and their “best of” album titled The Best of The Bad Seeds. Following these two projects were No More Shall Pass (2001) and Nocturama (2003). After Nocturama’s release, Bargeld left the band after 20 years. In 2004, the band premiered their two disc set Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus, showcasing the dichotomy of the band's forays into both hardcore rock and ballads. Along with this was the release of the B-Sides & Rarities (2005) and the two-CD/DVD collection of performances on The Abattoir Blues Tour.
In 2006, Bad Seeds members Ellis, Scalvuos and Casey formed Grinderman with Cave, marking his first time playing guitar. Reverting back to his garage-rock roots, the four-piece released a self-titled album in 2007. Soon after, the last remaining original member, Harvey, left the group after playing with Cave for over 36 years. Because of this, the Bad Seeds disbanded momentarily while Grinderman released Grinderman 2 in 2010, yet broke up shortly after.
The Bad Seed’s 15th studio album, Push the Sky Away (2013), resulted in former member Adamson rejoining the group. Their most recent album, Skeleton Tree (2016), was accompanied by a documentary titled One More Time with Feeling (2016), earning them a Grammy nomination for Best Music Film. Their latest album, Ghosteen, was released October 3, 2019, and received critical acclaim.
In addition to screenwriting, Cave released a series of books, first King Ink (1988), a collection of lyrics and plays, and then King Ink II (1997), including poems and lyrics. Cave also wrote his first fiction novel And the Ass Saw the Angel (1989), a story about a girl named Lucy being hunted, followed by Death of Bunny Munro (2009) ,a tale of a sex-addicted salesman. Cave also appeared in a few films such as Hillcoats Ghosts ... of the Civil Dead (1989) and Johnny Suede (1991).
Cave has also helped compose a number of film scores with fellow Bad Seeds member Warren Ellis