Melbourne (Australia) born Nick Cave is one of the most celebrated and enigmatic performers of the post-punk era and boasts an unrivalled international reputation. His avant-garde take on rock is rooted in the blues yet he has consistently bypassed expectations by transcending stylistic constraints.
Following the demise of The Birthday Party in 1983, Cave performed in New York with a troupe calling itself The Immaculate Consumptive. Its members included such underground luminaries as Marc Almond, Clint Ruin, and Lydia Lunch.
Back in London, he formed his first solo band, billing himself as Nick Cave and the Cavemen. He then assembled Nick Cave: Man or Myth with Mick Harvey, Barry Adamson (ex-Magazine), Tracy Pew and Blixa Bargeld (from Einstürzende Neubauten) for a brief Australian tour at the start of 1984.
This group morphed into The Bad Seeds, recording four superb albums between 1984 to 1986.
In 1987, Cave wrote And the Ass Saw the Angel, a southern gothic novel full of brooding imagery which was eventually published by Black Spring Press in 1989. Black Spring also published King Ink, a well-received collection of poems, prose and song lyrics.
In late 1987, he took his first acting role in the Australian feature film Ghosts . . . of the Civil Dead, set in the fictional Central Industrial Prison. Cave played the part of psychotic inmate Maynard, with co-star Dave Mason (from The Reels) playing the prison queen.
By this stage, Cave had been addicted to heroin for some years but eventually recovered to resume his career with The Bad Seeds with renewed vigour, relocating with the band to Brazil in 1989.
While there, he met and married his first wife, Brazilian journalist Viviane Carneiro. She gave birth to their son Luke in 1991. Nick and Viviane divorced in 1996.
Continuing to tour and record with his band, Cave also made time for a number of side projects such as a 1992 duet with ex-Pogues frontman Shane McGowan on Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World, an appearance in the 1993 movie Johnny Suede (with Brad Pitt), and a beautiful duet with Kylie Minogue – as unexpected as it was inspired – on Where The Wild Roses Grow from his 1996 album, Murder Ballads.
Widely feted as one of rock’s great break-up albums, The Boatman’s Call (1997) – the final album from The Bad Seeds – was said to have been inspired by Cave’s entanglement and subsequent split with P.J. Harvey.
He has since reformed the band a number of times for recording and live work.
In 1997, Cave met British model Susie Bick (who had been the cover model on The Damned‘s 1985 album Phantasmagoria and a Vivienne Westwood model). Bick’s and Cave’s twin sons, Arthur and Earl, were born in Brighton in 2000.
In 2006 Cave formed Grinderman – an alternative rock outfit which he said he formed as “a way to escape the weight of The Bad Seeds”. Cave’s second novel – The Death of Bunny Munro – was published on 8 September 2009 by Harper Collins books.
Cave’s son Arthur, aged 15, fell from a cliff at Ovingdean, near Brighton, and died from his injuries on 14 July 2015.