Nick Cave Biography

Musician, Writer(1957–)
Nick Cave is the brooding Australian singer for the bands Grinderman and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Synopsis

Born in Warracknabeal, Australia, on September 22, 1957, Nick Cave teamed up with school friend Mick Harvey in the mid-1970s to form the post-punk band The Birthday Party; in 1982 it released its signature album Junkyard. The following year, the band dissolved and was replaced by a new incarnation: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The Bad Seeds developed a unique sound that veers wildly from art rock to dark ballad, and Cave's lyrics often ring of brooding tavern poetry, with love, murder and a near Southern Gothic embrace of the damned at the fore. Cave also has written books, screenplays and movie scores, and has acted in films.

Early Years

Musician and writer Nick Cave was born in Warracknabeal, Australia, on September 22, 1957, to a librarian mother and an English-teacher father. Along with his two older brothers and younger sister, Cave was raised an Anglican, and the Bible has always been influential in his work (his first novel, And the Ass Saw the Angel, takes its name from a Bible verse). In high school in the mid-1970s, Cave met Mick Harvey, and the pair formed their first band, The Boys Next Door. The band's first record was a cover of "These Boots Are Made for Walking" (1978), and they followed it the next year with their first album, Door, Door. After high school, The Boys Next Door became The Birthday Party, and the band moved to London.

The Birthday Party represented an immediate change of pace from the prevailing '80s post-punk scene, with their blues-influenced, jangling rock. Their first LP, Prayers on Fire, was followed by Junkyard in 1982 and Mutiny, an EP, in 1983. That would be all The Birthday Party could muster by the time they disbanded in 1983.

The Bad Seeds

After the band's breakup, Cave headed to Los Angeles and put together his new band, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Mick Harvey was one of the Bad Seeds, and a notable addition was Blixa Bargeld, of Einstürzende Neubauten, a legendary German industrial band that specialized in creating sheer walls of noise.

From Her To Eternity (1984) would be the new band's first album, and it was a more refined, if no less iconoclastic, sound than that of The Birthday Party. The band had moved from Los Angeles to Berlin, and there Cave began what would become And the Ass Saw the Angel, a novel that would draw critical acclaim and comparisons to the works of William Faulkner.

Cave also stayed busy with music, and the Bad Seeds released The Firstborn Is Dead in 1985 and Your Funeral…My Trial and Kicking Against the Pricks in 1986. In the late 1980s, Cave moved to Brazil to be with a woman he met on tour, Viviane Carneiro, and together they had a son. It was there that he finished his first novel. He also published King Ink (1988), a collection of lyrics, plays and prose.

It was around this time Cave's songs took on a more ballad-like tone, beginning with 1990's The Good Son and running through Henry's Dream (1992) and the appropriately titled Murder Ballads (1996). Murder Ballads would prove to be an unlikely stepping stone into the realm of greater recognition for Cave and his bandmates, as appearances on the album by PJ Harvey (whom Cave dated), Shane MacGowan and Kylie Minogue brought in a wider audience.

Cave has remained with the Bad Seeds and has produced several more albums, from Let Love In (1994) to The Boatman's Call (1997) to No More Shall We Part (2001). He and a few members of the Bad Seeds formed Grinderman and released an eponymous album in 2007 and Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! in 2008. Both albums found a rejuvenated Cave hitting new artistic heights and finding yet more critical success.

Cave has penned a few screenplays, among them the Australian western The Proposition (2005) and the American gangster movie Lawless, and has also scored several films. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds returned in 2013 with Push the Sky Away, their 14th studio album.

Personal Life

Cave dated singer-musician Anita Lane for several years and collaborated with her on a number of songs and musical projects, including a stint when she was a member of The Bad Seeds. Cave was also linked to singer PJ Harvey in the 1990s.

Nick Cave married model Susie Bick in 1999 and the couple have twin sons Arthur and Earl. Cave also has two children from previous relationships, a son Luke with ex-wife Viviane Carneiro, and a son Jethro with Beau Lazenby. 

Cave's son Arthur died in July 2015 at age 15 after falling from a cliff in Brighton, England. In a statement, the family said: "Our son Arthur died on Tuesday evening. He was our beautiful, happy loving boy."

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