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In Their Own Write: Handwritten lyrics by Nick Cave, David Bowie, Joey Ramone, Kate Bush and more

Beat writer Alexander Trocchi was wise to the easy money to be made from selling handwritten drafts of famous works of literature. When short of cash for his drug habit, Trocchi would write out in longhand one of his novels (Young Adam, White Thighs, whichever) and sell it on to some collector as the one and only original handwritten manuscript. It kept him from finding a job or worse, from writing something new. Across London and Paris there’s probably dozens of these supposed “originals” cobbled together by Trocchi in his moment of need.

If Trocchi had lived and tried the same today, he would probably have been found out for his ruse as the market for original handwritten drafts to books, poetry and pop songs is now a mega business.

Last year, Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics for “Like A Rolling Stone” was sold at auction for $2 million. In 2005, John Lennon’s pen-drafted words for “All You Need is Love” made $1.25 million at auction, while in April 2015, Don Maclean’s handwritten lyric sheet for “American Pie” sold for $1,205,000.

Handwritten pop lyrics are as valuable as works of art—in fact they are works of art—as in this digital age where everything is written by keyboard, the value of such pen-scrawled texts on legal pad or hotel note paper only increase in value year on year. Though the top ten most expensive lyric sheets are about 2/3 the work of John Lennon (4) and Bob Dylan (2), there are plenty of other musicians out there who are finding their first drafts to popular songs offer them or their inheritors a comfortable pension.
David Bowie’s handwritten lyrics for ‘Jean Genie’ made $29,063 at auction.
Bowie: Lyric detail for ‘Jean Genie.’
Ziggy jams with a ballpoint pen: David Bowie’s handwritten lyrics for ‘Ziggy Stardust.’
One of Nick Cave’s many notebooks with original lyrics for ‘No Pussy Blues.’
Cave’s typed lyrics for ‘Push the Sky Away.’
No notebook or typewriter for Joey Ramone—the lyrics for ‘Disassembled’ were written on an old Alka Seltzer box.
More original pop lyrics, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Fantastically realistic sculptures of Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Batgirl, Eddie Munster and more
08:42 am


Nick Cave
Tom Waits
Trevor Grove

Nick Cave sculpture by Trevor Grove
Nick Cave bust by Trevor Grove
The incredible work of sculptor Trevor Grove has been featured here on DM previously, and it’s my pleasure to be able to share more creations from this talented artist with our readers.
Nick Cave bust sculpture side view
Nick Cave Grinderman era sculpture
Nick Cave “Grinderman” version
The So-Cal based Grove has been at the hand-sculpting game for about seven years. He primarily creates his pieces with hard wax and the results are nothing less than startling. I’m especially fond of Grove’s two sculptures of Nick Cave (above) which includes a Grinderman version of Cave sporting his handlebar mustache, as well as his two sculpts of everyone’s favorite avante growler,Tom Waits.

And since I know you may be wondering, you can purchase some of Grove’s sculptures over at his site, Tweeterhead such as his sculpt of the late Yvonne Craig as Batgirl that were personally signed by Craig before she passed away last month.
Tom Waits sculpture by Trevor Grove
Tom Waits
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Nick Cave’s teen son Arthur dies in tragic fall
08:33 am

Current Events

Nick Cave

Very sad news coming out of England this morning, Arthur Cave, one of Nick Cave’s twin sons with wife Susie Bick, died of injuries sustained in a tragic accident.

Sussex Police confirmed that 15-year-old Arthur Cave died after a fall at Ovingdean Gap in East Sussex. He was found there at about 6pm on Tuesday. Members of the public performed first aid on the boy before he was airlifted to the hospital in Brighton. He died at the Royal Sussex County Hospital soon afterwards.

The grieving parents paid tribute to their son in a short statement issued through Sussex Police:

“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.”

Unspeakably sad. May he rest in peace.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
They have Nick Cave dolls now? I want one!
11:12 am


Nick Cave

L.A. based pop-artist Plasticgod has created a series of Nick Cave figures that he’ll be debuting at San Diego Comic-Con on July 9th. (Also debuting at Comic-Con: new Star Wars Stormtrooper figures. Different strokes for different geeks, right?) Each is based on a Cave song title. There’s the “Red Right Hand

Two slightly different designs for “Babe, You Turn Me On



More Nick Cave dolls after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Nick Cave, Mark E. Smith and Shane MacGowan arguing in a pub
12:06 pm


Nick Cave
Mark E. Smith
Shane MacGowan

Years ago, I read the transcript of this NME “summit” on some Fall obsessive’s fansite: it’s Nick Cave, Shane MacGowan and Mark E. Smith arguing in a pub in 1988 (published in 1989). I searched for it the other day and found that the Quietus reprinted this latter-day symposium in 2012.

If you like Mark E. Smith at his most truculent, you’re going to love this conversation. Cave is laconic (hates journalists), MacGowan is affable (loves drink), and MES is as voluble and contentious as ever. He complains that Fad Gadget (a/k/a Frank Tovey) “was doing incense and headstands” before a show, that the only good Bob Dylan album he’s heard is The Traveling Wilburys Volume 1, and that Morrissey is an Irish person. As always, there are splenetic outbursts concerning the many things Mark E. Smith doesn’t need to be told about, pal:

There’s nothing new in Acid House for me, pal. I’ve been using that process for years. Bloody years. It might be new for you but don’t assume it’s new for anyone else, because you’re fucking wrong, pal.

We had jazz arrangements in ‘82 when the rest of those tossers were playing cocktail lounge music and fucking pseudo new wave, so don’t talk to me about it because I know what I’m talking about pal.

Don’t tell me about oppression, my parents and grandparents were exploited to the hilt. Sent to wars, they had gangrene in their teeth.

But this is Smith dancing like a prizefighter. Just wait until MacGowan (whom MES addresses as “Sean”) calls Nietzsche “a fascist maniac posing as a philosopher.” Friend, do you hear that bell? That’s Mark E. Smith, and school is back in session:

MES: If we’re gonna talk philosophy, that’s a load of crap! The Nazis adopted his creed and distorted it, they misquoted him all the time.

SM: The Will To Power. Try reinterpreting that statement. You can’t, it says what it says.

MES: He wasn’t a Nazi – you’re only saying that ‘cos some polytechnic fuckin’ lecturer told you he was.

SM: I’m saying it ‘cos I read two of his books where he dismissed the weak, the ugly, the radically [racially?] impure, Christianity, Socrates, Plato. He was anti anyone who hadn’t got a strong body, perfect features…

MES: That’s the coffee table analysis. He was the most anti-German, pro-Semitic person…

SM: His books were full of hate.

MES: You just said you’re full of hate when you go on stage.

SM: I don’t go round saying Socrates was a c***, Jesus Christ was an idiot, do l?

MES: Jesus Christ was the biggest blight on the human race, he was. And all them socialists and communists – second rate Christianity. It’s alright for you Catholics. I was brought up with Irish Catholics. Some of my best friends are Irish Catholics.

SM: Listen to him.

MES: Hitler was a Catholic vegetarian, non-smoker, non-drinker. The way you’re talking about Nietzsche is that anyone who’s a non-smoker, non-drinker is a Nazi. That’s the level of your debate, pal. You don’t know fuck all about Nietzsche, pal!

In the Cave biography Bad Seed, an eyewitness to the summit reports that while Cave (who had just spent seven weeks in rehab) was clean and sober, MacGowan had “done some Ecstasy and had drunk a bottle of whisky on the way down.” MacGowan picks up the story:

I was out of my brains, Cave was dead straight, drinking tea, and Mark E. Smith was pissed on bitter and very belligerent. It must have been really difficult for Nick but I wasn’t in that position, you know what I mean. We were ranting and raving and Nick was very quiet that day. I was amazed how together he was, considering. At the time I was really pissed off with touring and I was going on about that in the interview, and he said, “Well, why don’t you just stop?” and I couldn’t think of a good reason because I was on the treadmill and you can’t get off it. Nick turned out to have a savage wit. He’s an intense person. It was a great interview, two soul brothers and Mark E. Smith. Cave was winding both of us up, he basically instigated the fight between me and Mark Smith. He was shit-stirring, seeing how far it was going to go. Mark E. Smith was saying things to me I couldn’t let him get away with, stuff about Ireland and the British Army. [Reporter] Sean O’Hagan went loony as well, he’s from Armagh, a Catholic. Nick was enjoying it as it got more and more intense and the reporters joined in and I started going barmy.

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Nick Cave meets Dr. Seuss
12:42 pm


Nick Cave
Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss and Nick Cave? Two great tastes that taste great together? Sure. Why not?

Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand,” a single from his 1994 album Let Love in is one of his best-loved tunes and long an in-concert staple of his live shows. It can be heard opening and closing series one of Peaky Blinders, the soundtrack to all three of the Scream movies, The X-Files and many other things (including, curiously, a Snoop Dogg documentary.). The “red right hand” referred to in the lyrics is an allusion to a stanza in Milton’s Paradise Lost (not the first time Cave has drawn inspiration from Milton’s epic verse):

“What if the breath that kindled those grim fires, / Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage, / And plunge us in the flames; or from above / Should intermitted vengeance arm again / His red right hand to plague us?” (Book II, 170-174)

And now the song’s sinister narrative has been Seussified by Deviant Art user DrFaustusAU... Cave’s lyrical wordplay is suitably Seussian, and it works brilliantly:

Take a little walk to the edge of town. Go across the tracks…

Where the viaduct looms, like a bird of doom, as it shifts and cracks…

Where secrets lie in the border fires, in the humming wires. Hey man, you know you’re never coming back…
More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
A peek at Nick Cave’s latest: ‘The Sick Bag Song’
01:35 pm


Nick Cave

Nick Cave gave a lengthy interview (sitting in an airplane parked on the tarmac) to John Doran in the latest episode of VICE Meets. Cave’s promoting his new book, The Sick Bag Song, an “road poem slash horror story” that was written on airplane sick bags during a 22 city North American tour, beginning in Nashville and ending in Montreal. (A literary device for a rock star’s book that seems almost Spinal Tap-esque as per Barney Hoskyns in the Guardian’s tepid review.) This is one of the longer Nick Cave interviews of recent vintage—quite a good one, too—and the topics include his dislike of the “dreaded” task of songwriting, if his wife scrutinizes his lyrics, and how much younger crowds showing up at their recent American shows has revitalized the Bad Seeds creatively.


The Sick Bag Song will be published by Canongate on April 8th and is only available online. There will be a signed limited edition of 220 (ten for each city) with customized, one of a kind “fully functional” sick bags in a box set with white vinyl records of Cave reading from the text (that version will set you back just $1,100). Three promotional readings for the book are being held, one at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles on April 8, another at the Florence Gould Theater in NYC on the 10th, and an already sold out date at London’s Porchester Hall on the 16th.

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ half-hour jam on Leonard Cohen’s ‘Tower of Song’
08:58 am


Nick Cave
Leonard Cohen

As tribute records go, 1991’s indie-rock salute to Leonard Cohen, I’m Your Fan, was pretty okay. The high point of the album remains Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ surprising take on “Tower of Song,” which switches from one musical style to another every verse or so.

The six-minute version of “Tower of Song” the Bad Seeds submitted to the tribute record was apparently edited down from a very long, drunken jam on the song. According to the account in Ian Johnston’s Cave biography Bad Seed, the original DAT of the session was nearly an hour-and-a-half long:

When Cave had first been approached to contribute to the record his initial reaction was that the idea was appalling and flatly refused to be involved. However, during a rehearsal in west London earlier in the year, after a prolonged drinking session in a nearby pub, the group had spontaneously started hammering out a half-remembered drunken rendition of Cohen’s ‘Tower of Song’. Their eighty-minute irreverent assault on the composition, which portrays the pitiful lot of the songwriter, was played by the group in every conceivable musical style and was recorded to DAT by engineer Victor Van Vugt. Later the track was reduced to a more conventional length in an abruptly cut-up form, to highlight the fact that The Bad Seeds in their rendition had covered every genre in rock music. [...] When asked about the tribute album in an interview with Q magazine, Cohen himself would praise The Bad Seeds’ ‘really intelligent approach’ to ‘Tower of Song’, considering that Cave had ‘thought about it, and caught the spirit of the song’. Cohen was unaware of the circumstances under which it was recorded.

I’ve never come across a copy of the 80-minute tape, but here’s over half an hour of the Bad Seeds playing “Tower of Song.” As the band switches from style to style, Cave is faithful to the spirit if not the letter of the lyrics–at least, I don’t remember Cohen bragging about his “great big dick” in the original.


Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
They have Nick Cave skateboards now? I want one

I was not cut out for skating. I tried, but no dice. In the mid ‘80s I had a G&S Neil Blender deck, the graphic on which I still think was freakin’ awesome, a friend of mine had a half-pipe in his back yard, and I had a ton of friends to go street skating with (this in the era during which, contra the assertion on the bumper sticker, skateboarding often WAS a crime, at least in Ohio), but I never got terribly good at it, and when I watched a good pal take a spill and saw his badly broken ulna sticking out of his bleeding arm I was pretty much done. Ten years ago, that friend and I attempted a misguided relive-our-youth tour of skate parks in Oregon which, though it was a great time, resulted in an ankle injury I still haven’t recovered from. Yeah, I was not cut out for skating.

But if I wasn’t cut out for that scene—which, in my experience, was mostly just a way for dudebros in the hardcore scene to flex their jock impulses without crossing tribes into school-sanctioned team sports (another reason I was a bad fit)—where could Nick Cave have fit in? The music of a tall, lanky, heroin/goth figure like him was anathema to the adrenaline anthems skaters tended to favor (still another reason I was a bad fit). But though Cave was never even remotely associated with the skate scene I knew, that hasn’t stopped Australian company Fast Times from making a really gorgeous Nick Cave deck.

True legend of Australian music, Good friend and Customer Nick Cave has teamed up with us to produce an exciting and rad collection! After discussing lyrics and a theme, It was agreed Nature Boy best suited the Melbourne Skate Scene and vibe of Fast Times. The Lyrics are taken from ‘Nature Boy’ A track from’s Nick’s Abattoir Blues album which also features on the accompanying Fast Times Skate clip.

Once the mood was set Artist Chuck Sperry hailing from San Francisco worked with us to come up with a design, One of Chuck’s dames is seen tangled in her long golden locks wrapped in a psychedelic bed of flowers. The Boards feature a full wrap metallic graphic which feels and looks like an amazing piece of art.



More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Nick Cave, Chrissie Hynde & John Cale playing together on the BBC, 1999
10:04 am


Nick Cave
John Cale
Chrissie Hynde

The songwriters’ circle is very nearly as straightforward and intimate as an evening’s entertainment can get—a handful of musicians take turns discussing and performing their songs, one at a time, almost invariably acoustically, in a round-robin. The long-running BBC program Songwriters Circle is a straightforward take on the concept, but the participants are big names, and the show adds a tantalizing dash of collaborative elements. So when, in September of 1999, the show featured John Cale, Chrissie Hynde and Nick Cave, they were all in superb form, and it was full of fine performances. (When the show went badly, it could be pretty amazing too; Ryan Adams acting like a sullen tween on the episode he shared with Janis Ian and an increasingly frustrated Neil Finn is pretty legendary.)

Cale’s contributions drew largely from his 1974 album Fear, though “Dying on the Vine” from 1985’s Artificial Intelligence gets a lovely treatment here, as does “Ship of Fools,” on which Hynde and Cave accompany him. Hynde, for her part, also leans heavily on classics, with a guitar assist from the Katydids’ Adam Seymour, himself a latter-day Pretenders member. The newest song she performs is her 1996 ballad “I’ll Stand by You,” which became better known later for a cloying pop-country makeover by an American Idol winner. Cave jumped around his ‘90s catalog, performing “Henry Lee” from Murder Ballads, “The Ship Song” from The Good Son, and two songs from The Boatmans Call. It’s interesting to note that NONE of the three artists participating had new albums to hawk at the time of this broadcast. I wonder what the show’s curatorial criteria are—I have trouble imagining an American television show spending an hour with three musicians who have no new product. The program ends with all of them doing the Velvet Underground’s “Waiting for the Man.”

You can watch the entire broadcast here. I’ve indexed it for you so you can skip around if that’s your thing. The times mark the beginnings of the introductions, not the songs.

00:00 Ship Of Fools (Cale, rehearsal footage)
01:07 Thoughtless Kind (Cale)
03:33 Talk of The Town (Hynde)
07:21 West Country Girl (Cave)
09:31 Fear Is A Man’s Best Friend (Cale)
14:05 Kid (Hynde)
17:45 Henry Lee (Cave)
21:14 Dying On The Vine (Cale)
25:19 I’ll Stand By You (Hynde)
29:44 Into My Arms (Cave)
34:30 Ship Of Fools (Cale)
39:33 Back on the Chain Gang (Hynde)
43:32 The Ship Song (Cave)
46:54 I’m Waiting For The Man

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Nick Cave’s handwritten dictionary
11:56 am


Nick Cave

Few musicians are as word-drunk as Mr. Nick Cave from Warracknabeal, Australia, wouldn’t you agree? As a younger man Cave kept a journal in which he jotted down new words he wanted to remember and arranged them in alphabetical order. It’s definitely a good tip for writers starting out, you’re always learning, there’s always something to learn. Take notes endlessly and don’t waver!

A section from the A’s and a section from the M’s was made available a few years ago, words include AUTOCHTHON (“primitive or original inhabitant”) and MICTURITION (“morbid desire to pass water”). I’d dearly love to see the whole thing. I hope that will happen someday.


More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Nick Cave and the Cavemen, live in 1984

In the short time between the demise of the Birthday Party in 1983 and the release of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ debut From Her to Eternity in 1984, the latter band rapidly went through a handful of incarnations and name changes, though you’d recognize any of them as the Bad Seeds. First was Nick Cave, Man or Myth?, a band name I kind of wish they’d stuck with! That was followed by the far less inspired moniker Nick Cave and the Cavemen, who, shortly before the debut LP’s release, were renamed the Bad Seeds in reference to the Birthday Party’s final EP, The Bad Seed. That interim named band the Cavemen was captured on video in London at the Electric Ballroom, Camden in April of 1984, just two months before Eternity saw the light.

Four songs from the set were broadcast on Spanish television’s avant garde music show La Edad de Oro: an incendiary version of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You,” “Well of Misery,” the Birthday Party’s “Mutiny in Heaven,” and Elvis’ Presley’s “In the Ghetto.” That’s less than half of the documented set list, but still quality stuff, of course. The band lineup is Nick Cave on vocals, Blixa Bargeld and Hugo Race on guitar, Barry Adamson on bass, and Mick Harvey on drums.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Nick Cave tells Russian reporter that his mother keeps his tail in a jar
11:58 am


Nick Cave

Tail image by Less Than Human
In honor of the ageless Nick Cave (who turned 57 yesterday), I dug up this interview that Cave did in 1992 for Russian TV. What got the most attention in the interview was Cave agreeing to poetry slam the lyrics to The Birthday Party song Dead Joe from the 1982 record, Junkyard.

For my money, it’s when Nick further mythologizes himself at about 7:30 in when he tells reporter Katya Galitzine (a real princess, published author and descendant of Catherine the Great no less) that not only did he used to have a tail, but that his mother keeps it in a JAR.

Oh, the many layers of the goth onion that is Nick Cave never disappoint.

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘The Pharmacy’: A Nick Cave-themed show with Bad Seed Jim Sclavunos & ‘20,000 Days on Earth’

Gregg Foreman’s radio program The Pharmacy is a music / talk show playing heavy soul, raw funk, 60′s psych, girl groups, Krautrock. French yé-yé, Hammond organ rituals, post-punk transmissions and “ghost on the highway” testimonials and interviews with the most interesting artists and music makers of our times…

It’s a Nick Cave-themed episode this time with Bad Seeds drummer Jim Sclavunos and 20,000 Days on Earth directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard.

Sclavunos has played with The Cramps, Sonic Youth, and Lydia Lunch and he learned studio production from Big Star’s Alex Chilton. He’s also got a great story about Lux Interior meeting Iggy Pop.

Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard discuss the making of 20,000 days on Earth and working behind-the-scenes with Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Blixa Bargeld, Ray Winstone and Kylie Minogue.

Mr. Pharmacy is a musician and DJ who has played for the likes of Pink Mountaintops, The Delta 72, The Black Ryder, The Meek and more. Since 2012 Gregg Foreman has been the musical director of Cat Power’s band. He started dj’ing 60s Soul and Mod 45’s in 1995 and has spun around the world. Gregg currently lives in Los Angeles, CA and divides his time between playing live music, producing records and dj’ing various clubs and parties from LA to Australia.


Depth Charge Ethel - Grinderman
Soupy - Maggie Thrett
Intro 1/ El-Die-Bie! - Rx / Dave Pike Set
Jim Sclavunos Part One
Loose - The Stooges
Taking Too Long - The Wipers
Shadazz - Suicide
Intro 2 / Cavern -  Rx / Liquid Liquid
Jim Sclavunos Part Two
Diddy Wah Diddy - 8-Eyed Spy
I Can’t Stand Myself - James Chance and the Contortions
Sunshine of Your Love - Spanky Wilson
Intro 3 / Jesus - Rx / The Gospel Surfers
20,000 Days on Earth - Iain and Jane Part One
A Dead Song - The Birthday Party
Neat Neat Neat - The Damned
My Tulpa (Rx Edit)  - Magazine
Intro 4 / The Noose - Rx / The Executioners
20,000 Days on Earth - Iain and Jane Part Two
The Witness Song (Excerpt) - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Jim Sclavunos Conclusion
Miniskirt Blues - The Cramps feat . Iggy Pop
Black Train - The Gun Club
Nobody’s City - Jeffrey Lee Pierce Project / Iggy Pop with Nick Cave (feat. Thurston Moore)
Intro 5 / GreyHound - Rx / The Nightmares
Buddy - Snapper
Damaged - Primal Scream

You can download the show in its entirety here.
Below, behind-the-scenes of 20,000 Days on Earth:

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Nick Cave hates Twitter
02:11 pm


Nick Cave

Photo by Derek Ridgers.
Last year on February 19, 2013, Nick Cave did a Q&A on Twitter for his 15th studio album Push the Sky Away. And as one would expect—c’mon it’s Nick Cave on Twitter of all things!!!—the Black Crow King hated every damned minute of it.

Some might find Cave’s answers appropriately cranky. I found them to be completely hilarious.





Aaannnd drumroll, please…

via Cherrybombed

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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