Nick Cave reads the lyrics to “Dead Joe” and manages to keep a straight face.
Nick Cave reads the lyrics to “Dead Joe” and manages to keep a straight face.
A gathering by accident, design and hair-spray: The Immaculate Consumptive was an all too brief collaboration (3 days, 3 gigs) between Lydia Lunch (gtr. voc.), Nick Cave (pn. voc.), J. G. Thirlwell (aka Clint Ruin, Foetus) (drm., sax., voc.) and Marc Almond (voc.)
The 4 musicians met in London—Lunch had been filming Like Dawn To Dust, with Vivienne Dick; while Cave had been collaborating with Thirlwell (on the track “Wings Off Flies” for the debut Bad Seeds album From Her To Eternity), and both had worked with Almond, who was resting from Soft Cell, and working on Marc and The Mambas.
The party traveled to New York, where they were followed and interviewed by the N.M.E. Lunch had a Halloween event organized for October 30th and 31st—though The Immaculate Consumptive’s first gig was actually in Washington, on October 27th, where Thirlwell broke the piano, and ended with 2 nights later with Cave seemingly bored by the chaos of proceedings.
This is some of the archival material of those 3 gloriously chaotic days together. The cable access interviewer is Merle Ginsberg, known to many of you from her role as a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
The Immaculate Consumptive - “Love Amongst The Ruined”
The Immaculate Consumptive - “Misery Loves Company”
You know when you get fanatically obsessed by a certain song and you can play it over and over and over again, nonstop, on repeat? Well, in my case, you can add a couple of dozens “overs” to get a sense of how often I’ve recently played “Where the Wild Roses Grow,” the duet between Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue from his 1996 Murder Ballads album.
To say I’ve been playing the shit out of this song (and Murder Ballads, one of the best albums in Cave’s nearly unbroken string of musical masterpieces) for the past few days would be an understatement (just ask my wife!) but chances are that if you’ve read this far, it’s about to be stuck in your head, too.
Not to rhapsodize too much about something you can simply hit play and experience for yourself, although it’s Cave’s song and well, totally his thing, it’s Kylie who shines here. Dig how perfect her performance is. She hits it so hard and so flawlessly that you can only imagine the junkie prince of darkness jumping for joy in the recording studio when they laid this performance to tape.
He’s great, he’s Nick fucking Cave, of course, but it’s Kylie the astonishing who steals the show here. Her vocal performance as Cave’s victim sounds so pure and innocent that it gives me goosebumps. According to Cave, they did no more than three takes.Why mess with perfection?
First the stunning music video directed by Rocky Schenck. The imagery is based on the mid-19th century painting, “Ophelia” by Sir John Everett Millais, completed between 1851 and 1852. The painting depicts Hamlet‘s Ophelia singing in a river as she dies, and currently resides in the Tate Britain:
For her 2012 orchestral album, The Abbey Road Sessions, Minogue and Cave teamed up again to record this version of the song:
More Nick and Kylie after the jump…
Photo credit: Kriston Capps
‘Bout time I’d say! You have no idea (or maybe you do?) how many people get these guys mixed up! Seriously, it drives me nuts!
The dual Nick Caves ran into each in New York and photographer, Kriston Capps of Architect magazine, snapped the photo to clear up any confusion for you…
One Nick is “an American fabric sculptor, dancer, and performance artist” and the other Nick does something with some seeds or something. Get it? Got it. Good.
Via Cherry Bombed
Hand-painted sneakers featuring Nick Cave and Bowie as Aladdin Sane by Finland-based artist, Erika Works.
It looks like she does custom orders, too. Someone in the comments inquired about a pair of Leonard Cohen shoes, and Erika Works said it would cost them around 40€ for the art (that does not include the price of the shoes, tho).
‘A good photograph,’ says Steve Gullick, ‘is one that looks great, one that captures an interesting moment in time, one that tells a story, or in the case of a portrait, offers an insight into the subject.’
This is could be a description of Gullick’s own photographs—his beautiful, inky black portraits that are amongst the most recognizable and iconic images of the past twenty years.
Gullick was influenced ‘Mainly by the dark imagery of Don McCullin and Bill Brandt. I tried to infuse my photos with a similar drama—I spent all of my spare time in the darkroom working on getting good.
‘It was more difficult with color but when I started printing my own color stuff in the late 1990’s I was able to match the intensity of my black & white work.
These photographs have captured succeeding generations of artists and musicians from Kurt Cobain, Nirvana, Nick Cave, Patti Smith, Depeche Mode, Foo Fighters, Bjork, The Prodigy, through to Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Richard Hawley
‘Photography is magic. The ability to capture something forever that looks interesting to you is magnificent.’
Now an exhibition of his work Punk as Fuck: Steve Gullick 90-93 is currently running at Indo, 133 Whitechapel Road, London, until 31st March, and is essential viewing for anyone with a serious interest in photography, music and art
To coincide with the exhibition, film-maker Joe Watson documented some of Steve’s preparation for the show, and interviewed him about the stories behind his photographs.
It says there’s only 24 hours left that you can still watch the HD webcast of last night’s Nick Cave concert in Los Angeles but it’s probably closer to 12 hours at this point.
I was at the show at the Henry Fonda Theatre last night and WOW. I’ve seen Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds going back thirty years—fifteen times—and this was one of the best shows, ever, for sure.
The LA gig was notable for several reasons. They played their boss new album, Push the Sky Away all the way through. The pensive tension and release of the album’s running order, I thought translated exceptionally well to a concert hall set list. “Jubilee Street,” one of Cave’s best songs, well, since his last album, was a particular swaggering highlight.
The return of the great Barry Adamson to the Bad Seeds. Very cool. I actually did not know this was the case until he walked onstage. I’ve been listening to two of his albums a lot lately and I was quite happy about this.
The string section that accompanied the group and the children’s choir from Flea’s Silverlake Conservatory of Music giving the show a sort of “Nick Cave meets The Langley School Music Project” kinda feel. It worked brilliantly. Cave would turn to them—I’d say they numbered about 20—and ask “You ready kids?” and trust me they were. They sang their little hearts out. Who would have expected something so cute from a Nick Cave concert, but there you have it. (“The Ship Song” with the kids last night was a lovely, lovely moment).
A particularly amazing “From Her to Eternity,” throbbing like a motherfucker, where every instrument, including those in the string section, were basically played as percussion.
Cave was in great voice and he looked amazing, cutting a damned slim figure for a guy his age in a sharp black three-piece suit. The Bad Seeds are probably the greatest rock ensemble of this generation, honestly what more needs to be said of these gentlemen? Watch the video, it speaks for itself.
After a certain point, Cave thanked the children and they left the stage. Cue an absolutely monstrous second act that raised the fucking roof. It was almost as if Cave and the band felt they had to wait until the coast was clear before they pulled out all the stops. It’s probably a good thing they did, because the intensity of the latter part of the gig would have probably scared the shit out of their young collaborators.
The set ended with an encore of “Stagger Lee” that was so intense people were leaving the theater with stunned looks on their faces, like they’d just been brutalized. I felt positively giddy.
In any case, time’s a-runnin’ out on this one. The Bad Seeds will be touring America throughout March and April. Every single show is already sold out. You lucky people!
Thank you very, very kindly Iain Forsyth (who directed this webcast, btw)
Guest post by the great Mick Farren—an exclusive extract from his contribution to Mark Goodall’s Gathering of the Tribe: Music and Heavy Conscious Creation, a collection of essays on music and the occult, featuring contributions on The Fall, The Beatles, The Wu Tang Clan and more. Now available in paperback for the special price of $20.77.
Even the most cursory theological (or even Reichian) shakedown will reveal that rock’n’roll has quantum multiples of the potential mythic/mystic power ever commanded by conventional Satanism. Where so much of contemporary Satanism—with its upside down crosses, modified but still liturgical robes and rituals, its ammended litanies, the serving of a faux-Eucharist from the naked torso of an immobilized cooch dancer on bad acid (shout out, hey, Susan Atkins!)—reveals it as nothing nothing more than an inverted critique of Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. (Much in the way that Marxism was essentially a critique of Victorian capitalism rather than a stand alone philosophy.)
Rock’n’roll, on the other hand, arrived on its own mythical half-shell and right away went about its own anarchic rites and wild communions. Jim Morrison, although decidedly from the death-star dark-side, and a fully accredited Agent of Chaos knew he didn’t need any contracts with Beelzebub. He was the Lizard King. He could do anything. The only deal he’d cut would be with Dionysius. John Lennon had stood in the power-eye of the rock’n’roll hurricane and knew what he was talking about when he made his famous “the Beatles are bigger than Jesus” remark.(That is, oddly, rarely quoted in full.)
Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I’m right and I’ll be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first—rock’n’roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.
A full decade before Lennon and Morrison, however, some of the preachers who railed against rock’n’roll showed an awareness this brand new back-beat-from-the-pit might not be an instrument of Satan at all but a whole new independent threat to the god-fearing. In April of 1956. Lutheran minister W. Carter Merbreier attended an Elvis Presley show in Philadelphia where he observed “nervous, giggling girls screaming, falling to their knees as if in prayer, flopping limply over seats, stretching rigidly, wriggling in a supreme effort of ecstasy.” A few months later Des Moines Baptist, the Rev. Carl Elgena, warned his congregation that “Elvis Presley is morally insane and leading other young people to the same end. The belief of unholy pleasure has sent the morals of our nation down to rock bottom and the crowning addition to this day’s corruption is Elvis Presleyism.”
The concept “Elvis Presleyism” brings us to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ album The Firstborn is Dead. In the opening song, “Tupelo”—a radical reworking of a John Lee Hooker classic—Cave makes the vividly dramatic suggestion that the birth of Elvis Presley, coupled with the death of stillborn twin, Jesse Garon, was the product of a supernatural, of not apocalyptic, event horizon.
The black rain come down
Water water everywhere
Where no bird can fly no fish can swim
Where no bird can fly no fish can swim
No fish can swim
Til The King is born in Tupelo!
Cave wrote ‘Tupelo’ in 1984, seven years after Presley’s death, when it was plain that many of Elvis Presley’s more obsessive fans maintained a personal relationship with their idol that was wholly akin to born-again Christians professing to have an exclusive one-on-one with Jesus. When the Reverends Merbreier and Elgena hinted, way back in 1956, that Elvis might be the dangerous pied piper of some form of neo-paganism, they had the protection of the pulpit. For a lay person to explore such a concept would have been to court accusations of being certifiably crazy or worse. Who in their right mind could seriously suggest that the Son of Gladys might be—in addition to all his other accomplishments—a 20th century fertility symbol inately desired by a frightened world, maybe even before the mushroom clouds had fully dissipated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
Humanity had developed the chain-reaction capacity for global-scale species-destruction, but had failed to evolve a philosophy to handle such hideous and overwhelming power. Couple that with plans for cookie-cutter totalitarian capitalism in one hemisphere with mirror-image Marxist repression in the other, plus new and tricky concepts like consumer uniformity and the pharmaceutical-brainwash tyranny of the psycho-civilized society (a major favorite of Sidney Gottlieb and the gang at MKULTRA), and a great many people—especially young people—wondered if they’d be better off back in the jungle for some animalism among the Old Gods.
Could the Elvis, the hillbilly cat, also be a Avalon mist-figure from an Arthurian Lord-of-the-Dance saga, or the myths of wounded Fisher Kings that stretched clear back to the megaliths of prehistory — and were so seriously and ironically invoked when Constantine and St. Augustine were mixing up Jesus Christ with Mithras to create the official deity of the Roman War Machine? Elvis the Fertility God may have also found himself cross fertilized by the horned and phallic, dark Legba divinities of Dahomey with their human sacrifices and Amazon girl soldiers, but, hell, isn’t that the just story of rock’n’roll?
If the pop culture of the mid-20th century was indeed a neo-pagan theocracy on the half shell, Marilyn Monroe could well have been drafted in as goddess-consort—although that might well cause a measure of temporal confusion that perhaps Jack Kennedy was the true Boy King from Camelot who actually took the hit. This would leave Elvis—who, by 1963, had been shorn and symbolically grunt-castrated as a conscript in what had formerly been George Patton’s Second Armored Division (Hell On Wheels)—as a much more esoteric entity.
But did anyone promise theology would be fast? Religions do not coagulate overnight. Christianity has had two full millenia on the game, plenty of time to work out its tortures, terrors, inquisitions, witchhunts, and multiple varieties of auto-da-fé. Rock—should it really prove to be a pagan belief system, or, more likely, a suspension of disbelief—has only been rolling for a tad over half a century, and, although it has exerted a profound effect on the culture of the times, its behaviour has been remarkably benign. It has provoked a number of peaceful mass gatherings, a few riots, only a very modest number of actual death cults, and made something of a junkie mess of the war in Vietnam.
Rock’n’roll has yet to pull any kind shit that stacks up against the Crusades or the Malleus Maleficarum. Although the second decade of the 21st century is hardly a halcyon time for paganism of any kind, and Evangelical Christianity—in the USA at least—is being allowed to get away with wholly unreasonable acts of fundamental stupidity. Route 66 runs now through a cruelly synched Bible Belt, and bands I don’t even care to name sell holy relics of what was once truly sacred. Perhaps some minor reformation might be about due, although the time is hardly ripe for burning corporate rock bands or even Simon Cowell in the cathedral square. At best we might reflect on Nick Cave and his speculations on what wonders might have attended the birth of Elvis Presley on January 8th, 1935, and wonder where they may take us.
In a clap-board shack with a roof of tin
Where the rain came down and leaked within
A young mother frozen on a concrete floor
With a bottle and a box and a cradle of straw
And Robert Johnson? Well hell, maybe he was taking about a wholly different devil.
The King will walk on Tupelo!
Tupelo-o-o! O Tupelo!
He carried the burden outa Tupelo!
Tupelo-o-o! Hey Tupelo! [Repeat]
You will reap just what you sow
Previously on Dangerous Minds: Punk Esotericism: The Occult Roots of the Wu Tang Clan
Last week I blogged about “Jubilee Street,” the new Nick Cave video directed by John Hillcoat (The Road, Lawless, The Proposition) and in that post I mentioned that Cave had appeared, in an extremely striking cameo role, in Hillcoate’s 1989 feature debut, the gripping prison drama Ghosts…Of The Civil Dead.
It’s a really amazing film, but one that is sadly little-known outside of Australia (and extreme Nick Cave fanboys—admittedly I saw Ghosts…, alone, at a midnight screening in NYC—I think it was the only one there was—back in 1989.)
Perhaps it is a misconception, but due to the worldwide popularity of films like Chopper and the classic camp TV of the 1980s women-in-prison soap opera Prisoner: Cell Block H, I can be forgiven, I hope, for assuming that Australians, on the whole, are a bit obsessed with criminals, violent crime and incarceration. I guess it’s in their blood, so to speak. (I kid, I kid, Aussie readers! Please don’t kill me!) Loosely based on the life and writing of Jack Henry Abbott, the psychotic murderer turned literary protégé of Normain Mailer turned psychotic murderer once again, Ghosts… Of The Civil Dead features an ensemble cast of real-life ex-convicts, former prison guards and tough-looking motherfuckers they found in local Melbourne gyms. This film is realistic. Scary realistic.
Narrated by a (fictional) former prison guard, Ghosts… takes place deep in within the bowels of a maximum security prison, somewhere in the Australian outback. The place is an incessantly humming, fluorescent-lit nightmare. There has been a three-year lockdown that is still ongoing. The tension is palpable, the place is a claustrophobic, concrete Hell that no sunlight penetrates, a hatred and resentment-fueled timebomb waiting to go off.
As events transpire, the viewer begins to see that the prison authorities are actively trying to provoke the prison population, and that they are pitting the guards against the inmates, preying on both to escalate the violence in order to crack down on the prisoners ever harder and to justify building a fortress even more fearsome, inescapable and “secure.”
Ghosts… has layers of unexpected meaning. Although the script (co-written by Hillcoat, Cave, one-time Bad Seeds guitarist Hugo Race, Gene Conkie and producer Evan English) tells a reasonably straightforward tale of the prisoners—captive in a high security fortress that escape from seems impossible—versus the authorities who manipulate them into chaos, there’s a wider allegorical message of the power dynamic inherent in Western capitalism: Conform. Do exactly what we tell you to do, or there will be consequences. Like this high security Hell on Earth.
Michel Foucault would have most certainly approved of Ghosts…Of The Civil Dead, I should think.
Although contrary to the way Ghosts… was marketed, Nick Cave is onscreen for just a short appearance, but having said that, it is a cinematic moment of pure genius. Cave plays “Maynard,” a violent psychotic who paints with his own blood. Maynard is an absolute fucking lunatic deliberately brought in by the prison authorities to make an already bad situation much, much worse. His psychotic ranting and raving riles up the situation into complete murderous chaos. Although he is seen just briefly in the film, it is Cave’s Maynard who lights the bomb’s ever present fuse.
Ghosts… Of The Civil Dead is extraordinary film, as as bleak and as uncompromising a work of art as I have ever experienced. Unforgettable, really, but perhaps difficult for the squeamish to sit through. Once seen, it can never be forgotten.
Nick Cave’s long association with Canadian/Aussie writer/director John Hillcoat (The Proposition, Lawless, The Road) dates back to when Hillcoate edited The Birthday Party’s “Nick The Stripper” video and Cave’s utterly unhinged performance in Hillcoat’s little-known 1988 prison drama Ghosts… of the Civil Dead. Cave went on to write the scripts for both The Proposition and Lawless, and Hillcoat has directed videos for The Bad Seeds and Grinderman.
Their latest collaboration is the NSFW promo video for “Jubilee Street,” featuring Sexy Beast tough guy, Ray Winstone.
You can pre-order the upcoming Bad Seeds album, the band’s fifteenth studio outing, Push the Sky Away at Amazon. It’s set to drop in two weeks, on February 19th. A limited edition CD/DVD comes cased in a hardbound book bound in linen with 32 stitched-in pages of specially created visuals by artists Iain Forysth & Jane Pollard.
Later this month, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds will be presenting Push the Sky Away in concert with the live accompaniment of strings and a choir at a series of already sold-out one-off shows in London, Paris, Berlin and Los Angeles.
When director Heiner Mühlenbrock showed up with his cameras to document the tense April 1983 recording sessions for the final Birthday Party EP, Mutiny!, the group was well beyond the verge of dissolution and barely on speaking terms. Mutiny! was cut at Hansa Ton studios in Berlin and the viewer is shown the development of the haunting “Jennifer’s Veil,” one of The Birthday Party’s finest—and darkest—moments on record and Nick Cave adding his vocal to “Swampland” (some truly truly impressive scream-singing during that bit).
Although he seems pretty sharp here, initially at least, at a certain point, Cave just nods off in the studio… for several minutes (Maybe he was… tired?). Some stunning shots of Rowland S. Howard’s hands where you can really see how he wrung those bleak bluesy sounds out of his six strings. Blixa Bargeld, who played guitar on “Mutiny in Heaven” (oh how I wish Mühlenbrock’s cameras were there for that session) is seen in the control room.
When Mühlenbrock showed his film to the band, they were unimpressed. MUTINY! The Last Birthday Party was finally released in 2008, in a limited edition DVD only for sale only at The Birthday Party website.
“We’re a happy family/me, mom and daddy.”
Cave has always been fashionably cool, but in the video below he looks like he’s been caught in the middle of committing a crime at London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2013.
Don’t worry Nick, your street cred is still intact. Punk is fashion and Pam Hogg is haute shit.
I kiss the hem of her skirt
We spend our live in a box full of dirt
I murder her dress till it hurts
I murder her dress and she loves it
Last week I posted about a Velvet Underground eye test chart modeled after “the classic eye chart developed by Dutch ophthalmologist Herman Snellen in 1862” from Etsy shop Waste and Wounded.
Well, there’s a new addition (or maybe I missed it because my eyesight sucks?): A terrific Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds eye test chart.
It’s selling for $65.00 + shipping at Waste and Wounded.
As sardonic and dead-pan as its subject, London-based artist Krent Able’s “Dr. Cave” comics are a beautifully drawn and darkly hilarious series of adventures featuring rock n’ roll’s most lovable misanthrope.
Able is really quite brilliant. Visit his website and be prepared to have your mind blown. His work is a perfect balance of wit and stunning craft.
Able has a great idea for his images of Nick dancing with a duck and astride a monkey: “repeat it as a pattern, and then sell it as children’s wallpaper. Such a treat for the darling little ones!”
Krent Able is a regular contributor to one of the smartest music mags on the ‘net, The Stool Pigeon.
Nick Cave assistant to the fire-juggling unicyclist?
Mr. Cave lends a hand to a German unicycling, fire-juggler, on the New Road, Brighton.
Previously on Dangerous Minds