Nick Cave

Nicholas Edward Cave AO (born 22 September 1957) is an Australian musician, singer-songwriter, author, screenwriter, composer and occasional actor, best known for fronting the rock band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Cave's music is generally characterised by his baritone voice, emotional intensity, a wide variety of influences and lyrical obsessions with death, religion, love and violence.[2]

Nick Cave

Cave in October 2012
Background information
Birth nameNicholas Edward Cave
Born (1957-09-22) 22 September 1957
Warracknabeal, Victoria, Australia
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • writer
  • actor
  • composer
  • vocals
  • piano
  • keyboards
  • guitar
Years active1973–present
Associated acts

Born and raised in rural Victoria, Cave studied art before fronting The Birthday Party, one of Melbourne's leading post-punk bands, in the late 1970s. They relocated to London in 1980, but, disillusioned by life there, evolved towards a darker, more challenging sound, and acquired a reputation as "the most violent live band in the world".[3] At this time, Cave, with his shock of black hair and pale, emaciated look, became an unwilling gothic rock poster boy. Soon after the band's break-up in 1983, Cave formed Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Much of the band's early material was set in a mythic American Deep South, drawing on spirituals and Delta blues, while Cave's preoccupation with Old Testament notions of good versus evil culminated in what has been called his signature song, "The Mercy Seat" (1988). The 1990s saw Cave achieve greater commercial success with quieter, piano-driven ballads, notably the Kylie Minogue duet "Where the Wild Roses Grow" (1996), and "Into My Arms" (1997). More recent releases, including the band's 17th and latest LP, Ghosteen (2019), feature increasingly abstract lyrics from Cave, as well as elements of ambient and electronic music. Grinderman, Cave's garage rock side project, has released two albums since 2006.

Cave co-wrote, scored and starred in the 1988 Australian prison film Ghosts... of the Civil Dead (1988), directed by John Hillcoat. He also wrote the screenplay for Hillcoat's bushranger film The Proposition (2005), and composed the soundtrack with frequent collaborator Warren Ellis. The pair's film score credits include The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), The Road (2009), Lawless (2012), and Hell or High Water (2016). Cave is the subject of several films, including the semi-fictional "day in the life" 20,000 Days on Earth (2014), and the documentary One More Time with Feeling (2016). Cave has also released two novels: And the Ass Saw the Angel (1989) and The Death of Bunny Munro (2009).

Cave's work has become the subject of academic study, and his songs have been covered by a wide range of artists, including Johnny Cash ("The Mercy Seat"), Metallica ("Loverman") and Snoop Dogg ("Red Right Hand"). He was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2007,[4] and named an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2017.

Youth, education and family

Cave was born on 22 September 1957 in Warracknabeal, a small country town in the Australian state of Victoria, to Dawn Cave (née Treadwell) and Colin Frank Cave.[5][6] As a child, he lived in Warracknabeal and then Wangaratta in rural Victoria. His father taught English and mathematics at the local technical school; his mother was a librarian at the high school that Nick attended.[7] Cave's father introduced him to literary classics from an early age, such as Crime and Punishment and Lolita,[8] and also organised the first symposium on the Australian bushranger and outlaw Ned Kelly,[9] with whom Nick was enamoured as a child.[10]

When Cave was 9 he joined the choir of Wangaratta's Holy Trinity Cathedral.[5] At 13 he was expelled from Wangaratta High School.[8] In 1970, having moved with his family to the Melbourne suburb of Murrumbeena, he became a boarder and later day student at Caulfield Grammar School.[7] He was 19 when his father was killed in a car collision; his mother told him of his father's death while she was bailing him out of a St Kilda police station where he was being held on a charge of burglary. He would later recall that his father "died at a point in my life when I was most confused" and that "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".[8]

After his secondary schooling, Cave studied painting at the Caulfield Institute of Technology in 1976, but dropped out the following year to pursue music.[11] He also began using heroin around the time that he left art school.[12]

Cave attended his first music concert at Melbourne's Festival Hall. The bill consisted of Manfred Mann, Deep Purple and Free. Cave recalled: "I remember sitting there and feeling physically the sound going through me."[11] In early 1977, he saw Australian punk rock groups Radio Birdman and the Saints live for the first time. Cave was particularly inspired by the latter band's show, saying that he left the venue "a different person".[13]

Music career

Early years and the Birthday Party (1973–83)

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.

They were a leader of Melbourne's post-punk 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. Cave utilised Old Testament imagery with lyrics about sin, debauchery and damnation.[14] Cave's droll sense of humour and penchant for parody is evident in many of the band's songs, including "Nick the Stripper" and "King Ink". "Release the Bats", one of the band's most famous songs, was intended as an over-the-top "piss-take" on gothic rock, and a "direct attack" on the "stock gothic associations that less informed critics were wont to make". Ironically, it became highly influential on the genre, giving rise to a new generation of bands.[15]

After establishing a cult following in Europe and Australia, the Birthday Party disbanded in 1983. Later that year, Cave performed several shows in the United States as part of The Immaculate Consumptive, a short-lived "super-group" with Marc Almond, Lydia Lunch and Clint Ruin.[16]

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (1984–present)

The band with Cave as their leader and frontman has released seventeen studio albums. Pitchfork Media calls the group one of rock's "most enduring, redoubtable" bands, with an accomplished discography.[17] 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 wrote: "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."[2]

Reviewing 2008's Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! album, NME used the phrase "gothic psycho-sexual apocalypse" to describe the "menace" present in the lyrics of the title track.[18] Their most recent work, Ghosteen, was released in October 2019.[19]

In mid-August 2013, Cave was a 'First Longlist' finalist for the 9th Coopers AMP, alongside artists such as Kevin Mitchell and the Drones. The Australian music prize is worth A$30,000.[20] The prize ultimately went to Big Scary.[21]

In September 2013 interview, Cave explained that he returned to using a typewriter for songwriting after his experience with the Nocturama album, as he "could walk in on a bad day and hit 'delete' and that was the end of it". Cave believes that he lost valuable work due to a "bad day".[11]

Solo work

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 Cave formed Grinderman – himself on vocals, guitar, organ & piano, Warren Ellis (tenor guitar, electric mandolin, violin, viola, guitar, backing vocals), Martyn P. Casey (bass, guitar, backing vocals) and Jim Sclavunos (drums, percussion, backing vocals).

The alternative rock outfit was formed as "a way to escape the weight of The Bad Seeds."[22] The band's name was 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. The band's eponymous debut studio album, Grinderman, was released in 2007 to extremely positive reviews and the band's second and final studio album, Grinderman 2, was released in 2010 to a similar reception.

Grinderman's first public performance was at All Tomorrow's Parties in April 2007 where 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 was over.[23] Two years later, Grinderman performed both weekends at the 2013 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, as did NIck Cave and The Bad Seeds.[24]

Music in film and television drama

Cave's work was featured in a scene in the 1986 film, Dogs in Space by Richard Lowenstein.[25] 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.[26] Two of Cave's songs were featured in his 1987 film Wings of Desire.[27] 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.[28]

Cave's songs have also appeared in a number of Hollywood blockbusters – "There is a Light" appears on the 1995 soundtrack for Batman Forever, and "Red Right Hand" appeared in a number of films 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. "People Ain't No Good" was featured in the animated movie Shrek 2 and the song "O Children" was featured in the 2010 movie of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1.

In 2000 Andrew Dominik used "Release the Bats" in his film Chopper. Numerous other movies use Cave's songs including Box of Moonlight (1996), Mr In-Between (2001), Romance & Cigarettes (2005), Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant (2009), The Freshman, Gas Food Lodging, Kevin & Perry Go Large, About Time

His works also appear in a number of major TV programs among them Trauma, The L Word, Traveler, The Unit, I Love the '70s, Outpatient, The Others, Nip/Tuck, and Californication. Most recently his work has appeared in the Netflix series After Life, BBC series Peaky Blinders and the Australian series Jack Irish. "Red Right Hand" is the theme song for Peaky Blinders and renditions of the track can be heard throughout the series, including the cover by the alternative-rock band Arctic Monkeys. In a Vice interview, Peaky Blinders star Cillian Murphy mentioned that Cave personally approved the usage of the song for the series after watching a pre-screening of the show.[29]


Cave played with Shane MacGowan on cover versions of Bob Dylan's "Death is Not the End" and Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World". Cave 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.

MacGowan also sings a version of "Lucy", released on B-Sides and Rarities. On 3 May 2008, during the Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! tour, 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 recorded 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 PJ 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 2010 Nick Cave began a series of duets with Debbie Harry for The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project.[30][31][32]

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.

In 2014, Cave wrote the libretto for the opera Shell Shock (opera) by Nicholas Lens. The opera premiered at the Royal Opera House La Monnaie in Brussels on 24 October 2014.[33][34][35][36]

Film scores and theatre music

In 2001, Cave recorded a cover of the Beatles' "Let It Be" for the film I Am Sam,[37] and co-wrote and recorded the song "To Be By Your Side," for the soundtrack of the 2001 French documentary Le Peuple Migrateur (called Winged Migration in the US).[38]

Cave creates original film scores with fellow Bad Seeds band member Warren Ellis—they first teamed up in 2005 to work on The Proposition, for which Cave also wrote the screenplay.[39]

In 2006, Cave and Ellis composed the music for Andrew Dominik's adaptation of Ron Hansen's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.[40] By the time Dominik's film was released, Hillcoat was preparing his next project, The Road, an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel about a father and son struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. Cave and Ellis wrote and recorded the score for the film, which was released in 2009.[41]

In early 2011, Cave and Ellis composed the music for the Mexican film Dias de Gracias.[42] Later in 2011, they reunited with Hillcoat to score his latest picture, Lawless. Cave also authored this screenplay based on the novel by Matt Bondurant. Set in Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, the film was released in August 2012 (US) and September 2012 (UK).[43]

Cave and Ellis also have documentary-score composition experience. In 2007, the pair composed the score for Geoffrey Smith's film, The English Surgeon, which traces Dr. Henry Marsh's struggle to bring modern neurosurgery to the confusion of post-Soviet Ukraine. They also wrote the score for The Girls of Phnom Penh, Matthew Watson's 2009 film exploring Cambodia's "virginity trade".[44]

Cave's novel The Death of Bunny Munro, published in 2009, was released as an audiobook and Cave worked with Ellis, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard on the soundtrack. Forsyth and Pollard referred to the soundtrack as a 3D experience and stated: "We've not heard anything like this before – the result sits somewhere between a film soundtrack, a radio play and an hallucination."[45]

Cave and Ellis created music for the Vesturport productions Woyzeck, The Metamorphosis and Faust.[46]


Cave released his first book, King Ink, in 1988. It is a collection of lyrics and plays, including collaborations with 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). 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.[47] Cave's second novel The Death of Bunny Munro was published on 8 September 2009 by Harper Collins books.[48][49] Telling the story of a sex-addicted salesman, it was also released as a binaural audio-book produced by British Artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard and an iPhone app.[50] The book originally started as a screenplay Cave was going to write for John Hillcoat.[51]

Aside from movie soundtracks, Cave also wrote the screenplays for John Hillcoat's The Proposition (2005) and Lawless (2012).

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 is a contributor to a 2009 rock biography of the Triffids, Vagabond Holes: David McComb and the Triffids, edited by Australian academics Niall Lucy and Chris Coughran.[52]

In 2015 he released The Sick Bag Song.[53]


Cave's first film appearance was in Wim Wenders' 1987 film Wings of Desire, in which he and the Bad Seeds are shown performing at a concert in Berlin.

Cave has made occasional appearances as an actor. He appears alongside Blixa Bargeld in the 1988 Peter Sempel film Dandy, playing dice, singing and speaking from his Berlin apartment. He is most prominently featured 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 "The Ballad of Jesse James".[54] Cave and Warren Ellis are credited for the film's soundtrack.[55] Nick Cave and his son Luke performed one of the songs on the soundtrack together. Luke played the triangle.[56]

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.[57]

Cave has also lent his voice in narrating the animated film The Cat Piano. It was directed by Eddie White and Ari Gibson (of the People's Republic of Animation), produced by Jessica Brentnall and features music by Benjamin Speed.[58]


Cave wrote the screenplay for The Proposition, a film about bushrangers in the Australian outback during the late 19th century. Directed by John Hillcoat and filmed in Queensland in 2004, it premiered in October 2005 and was later released worldwide to critical acclaim.[59] Cave explained his personal background in relation to writing the film's screenplay in a 2013 interview:

I had written long-form before but it is pure story-telling in script writing and that goes back as far as I can remember for me, not just with my father but with myself. I slept in the same bedroom as my sister for many years, until it became indecent to do so and I would tell her stories every night—that is how she would get to sleep. She would say "tell me a story" so I would tell her a story. So that ability, I very much had that from the start and I used to enjoy that at school so actually to write a script—it suddenly felt like I was just making up a big story.[11]

The film critic for British newspaper The Independent called The Proposition "peerless," "a star-studded and uncompromisingly violent outlaw film."[60] The generally ambient soundtrack was recorded by Cave and Warren Ellis.

In 2006 it was revealed that, at the request of his friend Russell Crowe, Cave wrote a script for a proposed sequel to Gladiator which was rejected by the studio.[61]

An announcement in February 2010 stated that Andy Serkis and Cave would collaborate on a motion-capture movie of the Brecht and Weill musical The Threepenny Opera. As of September 2019, the project has not been realised.[62]

Cave wrote a screenplay titled The Wettest County in the World,[63] which was used for the 2012 film Lawless, directed again by John Hillcoat, starring Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf. The film opened in theaters on 29 August 2012.[64]

Personal life

Cave left Australia in 1980 and lives with his family in Brighton, England, United Kingdom. A film about Cave's life, titled 20,000 Days on Earth and directed by artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, was released in mid-2014, shortly before his 57th birthday.[65]

In 2017, Cave told GQ magazine that he and his family were moving from Brighton to Los Angeles as, after the death of his 15-year-old son, Arthur, they "just find it too difficult to live here."[66]

Partners and children

Cave dated Anita Lane from the late 1970s to mid-1980s.[67] Cave and Lane recorded together on 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... moi non plus/ I love you ... me neither".[68] 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.[69] 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.

Cave then moved to São Paulo, Brazil, in 1990, where he met and married his first wife, Brazilian journalist Viviane Carneiro. She gave birth to their son Luke in 1991. Nick and Viviane were married for six years and divorced in 1996.[70]

Cave's second son, Jethro, was also born in 1991 and grew up with his mother, Beau Lazenby, in Melbourne, Australia. Cave and Jethro did not meet one another until Jethro was about seven or eight.[71][72]

Cave briefly dated PJ Harvey during the mid-1990s.

In 1997, Cave met British model Susie Bick. Bick was the cover model on the Damned's 1985 album Phantasmagoria and a Vivienne Westwood model. Bick is also the model on the cover of the album Push the Sky Away.[73] She gave up her job when they married in 1999. Bick's and Cave's twin sons, Arthur and Earl, were born in Brighton in 2000.[74][75]

Cave's son Arthur, 15, fell from a cliff at Ovingdean, near Brighton, England, and died from his injuries on 14 July 2015. Cave's family released a statement on the death, saying, "Our son Arthur died on Tuesday evening. He was our beautiful, happy loving boy. We ask that we be given the privacy our family needs to grieve at this difficult time."[76][77][78] The effect of Arthur's death on Cave and his family was explored in the 2016 documentary film One More Time with Feeling and on the 2016 album Skeleton Tree and 2019 album Ghosteen.

Cave is the godfather to Michael Hutchence's daughter Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily.[79] Cave performed "Into My Arms" at the televised funeral of Michael Hutchence, but insisted that the cameras cease rolling during his performance.


In the past, Cave identified as a Christian. In his recorded lectures on music and songwriting, he said that any true love song is a song for God, and ascribed the mellowing of his music to a shift in focus from the Old Testament to the New. He did not belong to a particular denomination, and distanced himself from "religion as being an American thing, in which the name of God has been hijacked". Interviewed in 2004, he stated that he was a "hammer-and-nails kind of guy."[80] In 2010, however, a Los Angeles Times article quoted him as saying:

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.[81]

When asked in 2009 about whether he believed in a personal God, Cave's reply was: "No".[82] When interviewed by Jarvis Cocker on 12 September 2010, for his BBC Radio 6 show Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Service, Cave stated: "I believe in God in spite of religion, not because of it."[83] In 2018 in The Red Hand Files he concluded: "So, do I believe in God? Well, I act like I do, for my own greater good. Does God exist? Maybe, I don’t know. Right now, God is a work in progress."


In November 2017, Cave resisted demands from fellow artists Brian Eno and Roger Waters to cancel two concerts in Tel Aviv after Eno and Waters published a letter asking Cave to avoid performing in Israel while "apartheid remains". Cave went on to describe the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions movement as"cowardly and shameful", and that calls to boycott the country are "partly the reason I am playing Israel – not as support for any particular political entity but as a principled stand against those who wish to bully, shame and silence musicians." He furthermore responded with an open letter to Eno to defend his position.[84][85][86]


Studio albums

The Boys Next Door

The Birthday Party

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds



Notable contributions and appearances

  • Send Me A Lullaby (1981) album by The Go-Betweens, features Cave's vocals on After The Fireworks.
  • Die Haut and Nick Cave: Burnin' the Ice (1982), features Cave's vocals on Stow-A-Way, Truck Love, Pleasure Is The Boss, Dumb Europe)
  • Department Of Enjoyment NME Cassette Tape 011 (May 1984), cover of I Put A Spell On You by Nick Cave & The Cavemen.
  • Annie Hogan Plays "Kickabye" EP (1985), features Cave's vocals on Vixo. Cave also produced.
  • Smack My Crack (1987), features Cave performing The Altra Virago Or The Vargus Barking Spider
  • Wings Of Desire (1987). Cave appears in the film performing The Carny and From Her To Eternity.
  • Cover of "Helpless" by Neil Young (1989) for the Neil Young tribute album The Bridge.
  • Leonard Cohen: I'm your Fan (1991), Nick Cave Tower Of Song.
  • Until The End Of The World (1991), Nick Cave (I'll Love You) Till The End Of The World.
  • In Weiter Ferne, So Nah! (aka Faraway So Close!) (1993), Nick Cave Faraway So Close and Cassiel's Song.
  • Zero Effect (1994), Nick Cave Into My Arms.
  • Batman Forever soundtrack (1995). Cave contributes the track There is a Light.
  • Songs in the Key of X: Music from and Inspired by the X-Files (1996), Time Jesum Transeuntum Et Non Riverentum and a cover of The X-Files theme song, performed by Nick Cave and Dirty Three.
  • Oedipus Schmoedipus (1996) album by Barry Adamson, Cave appears on The Sweetest Embrace.
  • September Songs: The Music of Kurt Weill (1997) produced by Hal Willner. Cave contributes a cover version of "Mack the Knife".
  • Mojo – Original Soundtrack (1997), Nick Cave & Gallon Drunk on The Big Hurt and Nick Cave on Mojo.
  • Nick Cave i Przyjaciele (Nick Cave and Friends) (1999). A tribute album by Polish musicians. Cave appears on Into My Arms and The Weeping Song.
  • Music for Expelling The Demon (1999), a short animation by Devlin Crow, written by A-Soma. *The Acid House (1999), Nick Cave/Barry Adamson, Sweetest Embrace.
  • A Tribute to Polnareff, a tribute album to Michel Polnareff. Nick Cave contributes a cover version of Goodbye Marylou.
  • Ute Lemper's Punishing Kiss (2000). Cave co-wrote (with Bruno Pisek) Little Water Song.
  • "Red Right Hand" in Scream 3 (2000), alternate version, sometimes referred to as Red Right Hand 2, also included on Cave's B-Sides & Rarities album.
  • He Died With A FelaFel In His Hand (2001), Nick Cave The Mercy Seat (Live) & Into My Arms.
  • Intimite (aka Intimacy) (2001), Nick Cave In The Ghetto.
  • To Be By Your Side – from the OST for French documentary film Le Peuple Migrateur (2001).
  • I Am Sam (2002). Cave contributes a cover version of The Beatles' "Let It Be", which was later issued as the B-side to a cover version of "Here Comes the Sun".
  • "Bad Cover Version" single by Pulp (2002). Cave contributes a cover version of Pulp's "Disco 2000".
  • Sunday Morning (2002). Cave performs a cover version of The Velvet Underground's debut album (song) with Chris Coco on Coco's album Next Wave.
  • American IV: The Man Comes Around (2003) duet with Johnny Cash on "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry".
  • Kiss of Love (duet with Sam Brown) from Jools Holland's 2003 album Small World Big Band Friends 3 – Jack O The Green.
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds appear on the Martin Scorsese series The Blues (2003) singing J. B. Lenoir's "I Feel So Good".
  • Shrek 2 (2004), Nick Cave People Aint' No Good.
  • The Passion Of The Christ – Songs Inspired By (2004), Nick Cave Darker With The Day.
  • Harry Smith Project Vol 1 (2006), Nick Cave John The Revelator and Vol 2 Shine On Me.
  • "I'm Your Man" and "Suzanne" performed by Cave in the documentary/concert film Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man (2006).
  • Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys (2006). Cave contributes the tracks Fire Down Below and Pinery Boy.
  • Seasick Steve's song Just Like A King, from the album I Started Out With Nothin' (2008) includes Cave's vocals.
  • Californication Season 2 (2009), Nick Cave Moonland.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 (2010). Cave contributed O Children.
  • Leonard Cohen By En Boca De (2011), Nick Cave Avalanche.
  • TrentemøllerLate Night Tales (2011), Nick Cave & Warren Ellis The Proposition #1.
  • Nick Cave and Neko Case cover The Zombies song She's Not There for HBO show True Blood.[95] (2011)
  • Pirate Jenny. Shilpa Ray with Nick Cave and Warren Ellis on Son of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys (2013).[96]
  • Nick Cave's Grinderman contributed Honey Bee for HBO show True Detective in the end of the episode "Who Goes There". (2014)
  • Nick Cave and Warren Ellis covered "All the Gold in California" from Larry Gatlin for the ending of first episode of the second season of True Detective. (2015)
  • In the XBox360 game, Alan Wake, Up Jumped the Devil is the end credits song of Episode 3.

Spoken-word lectures

  • "The Secret Life of the Love Song & the Flesh Made Word: Two Lectures" (2000)

Live albums


Publications by Cave

Publications with contributions by Cave

  • The Gospel According to Mark. Pocket Canons: Series 1. Edinburgh, Scotland: Canongate, 1998. ISBN 0-86241-796-1. UK edition. With an introduction by Cave to the Gospel of Mark.


In 2010, Cave was ranked the 19th greatest living lyricist in NME.[97] Rob O'Connor of Yahoo! Music listed him as the 23rd best lyricist in rock history.[98] The Art of Nick Cave: New Critical Essays was edited by academic John H. Baker and published in 2013. In an essay on the album The Boatman's Call, Peter Billingham praised Cave's love songs as characterized by a "deep, poetic, melancholic introspection."[99] Carl Lavery, another academic featured in the collection, argued that there was a "burgeoning field of Cave studies".[100] Dan Rose argued that Cave "is a master of the disturbing narrative and chronicler of the extreme, though he is also certainly capable of a subtle romantic vision. He does much to the listener who enters his world."[101]

Awards and honours

See also


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Further reading

  • Bad Seed: A Biography of Nick Cave, Ian Johnston (1997) ISBN 0-316-90833-9
  • The Life and Music of Nick Cave: An Illustrated Biography, Maximilian Dax & Johannes Beck (1999) ISBN 3-931126-27-7
  • Liner notes to the CDs Original Seeds: Songs that inspired Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Kim Beissel (1998 & 2004), Rubber Records
  • Kicking Against the Pricks: An Armchair Guide to Nick Cave, Amy Hanson (2005), ISBN 1-900924-96-X
  • Nick Cave Stories, Janine Barrand (2007) ISBN 978-0-9757406-9-9
  • Cultural Seeds: Essays on the Work of Nick Cave, eds. Karen Welberry and Tanya Dalziell (2009) ISBN 0-7546-6395-7
  • Nick Cave Sinner Saint: The True Confessions, ed. Mat Snow (2011) ISBN 978-0-85965-448-7
  • Baker, John H., ed. (2013). The Art of Nick Cave: New Critical Essays. Intellect Books. ISBN 1841506273.
  • A Little History: Nick Cave & cohorts 1981–2013, Bleddyn Butcher (2014) ISBN 9781760110680
  • Nick Cave: Mercy on Me (due September 2017), a graphic biography by Reinhard Kleist[1]

  1. "Nick Cave Gets New Graphic Novel Biography – Pitchfork". Retrieved 12 January 2018.
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