Dangerous Rhythms (USA)

Issue #10, Summer 1989

Sent by Bart Repcik

While on tour this February in support of their beloved Tender Prey record, this interview took place in a room full of Bad Seeds in Washington, D.C. giving Nick plenty of support in creating a world of fantasy as the conclusion of this would prove to anyone who saw him at the sold out N.Y. Ritz show.

DANGEROUS RYTHMS: Among the new projects, there's a Die Haut record you sing on?


D.R.: What's the name of the song?

Nick: I Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In

D.R.: You're doing a Neil Young covers project too?

Nick: Well, we did a Neil Young cover record for Neil Young, yeah. Helpless.

D.R.: Didn't they originally ask you to do The Needle and The Damage Done?

Nick: They did ask.

D.R.: So all the Bad Seeds are on it. There's another record you're on, the Anita Lane record.

Nick: Which one?

D.R.: There's a new one out on Mute that I can't find anywhere.

Nick: The new one, the second one?

D.R.: I didn't even know there was a first.

Nick: Well you mean the first one, the original one, Dirty Secrets it's called. No, I'm not on that.

D.R.: You're on the second one, right?

Nick: There is no second one.

D.R.: There is no second one?

Nick: I don't know what you're talking about.

D.R.: Of all the people you worked with, you got your Mom to play on Kicking Against the Pricks.

Nick: Well, there was some other people who played on it as well. Mick played on it.

D.R.: Well, I know, so did a lot of people, but I'm interested in how you got your Mom to play on it.

Nick: Well, she's a violinist. She's one of Australia's top violinists.

D.R.: Has she seen your records and seen you live even?

Nick: Yup.

D.R.: In Australia, right?

Nick: Yeah.

D.R.: The Atra Virago, that was something from And The Ass Saw The Angel. When's that coming out?

Nick: The Atra Virago?

D.R.: Well, I know that's out on a Giorno compilation, I was wondering when the books going to be...

Nick: The book's coming out in June.

D.R.: There was a Honeymoon in Red album. Well, that was between Junkyard and The Bad Seed, right?

Nick: What's The Junkyard, is that an album?

D.R.: Rat Fink on the cover, if you don't want to talk about the Birthday Party...

Nick: No, no, no, no. When did the Birthday Party break-up, between what records?

MICK HARVEY: '83. Between Mutiny and From Her To Eternity, right?

D.R.: Well, Mutiny was after you guys split, right?

Nick: Then how did it get made?

D.R.: The Press at the time indicated...

Nick: The press...

D.R.: You have a general distrust towards the press.

Mick: We recorded the record before we broke-up.

Nick: Yeah, of course, we didn't do it by post- or...

D.R.: Well Rowland was out of the band when it finished, though. And Tracey went back to art school, I think it was.

Nick: Tracey didn't go to art school.

D.R.: But he went back to Australia.

Nick: He went back to Australia, yeah, but he didn't go to art school.

D.R.: And he died of epilepsy?

Nick: No, I think he died of epifore, which is different.

D.R.: Are you undertaking any other writing projects after And The Ass Saw The Angel?

Nick: Novel writing? Possibly. I don't really know yet. I don't know if I could start another book right now. I've just finished this one.

D.R.: Is it finished?

Nick: Yeah, pretty well.

D.R.: You did something on an Annie Hogan record called Vivo? Was that something you engineered through Marc Almond?

Nick: No, that's Annie Hogan's records.

D.R.: On Marc Almond's new record, Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart, was that inspired by your version of that Gene Pitney song?

Nick: Yeah. I don't know. I didn't record it, Marc Almond did.

Mick: Well, Jessamy told me that he had never even heard that song until he heard our version.

Nick: There you go, a scoop.

D.R.: Jessamy Calkin, does she work with you in any other aspect than photography?

Nick: Photography, Jessamy Calkin?

D.R.: Yeah, she took photos for the From Her To Eternity album.

Nick: Did she? Yeah, she's a friend of ours.

Mick: She's our biographer.

Nick: Yeah, she's our biographer. She's writing the story.

D.R.: On the From Her to Eternity album, you wrote a song called Wings Off Flies with Clint Ruin and this guy named Sutcliffe. Who is Sutcliffe?

Mick: The Yorkshire Ripper.

Nick: Yeah, the Yorkshire Ripper. Peter Sutcliffe. Peter Sutcliffe is the Yorkshire Ripper.

D.R.: And he helped write the music for that?

Nick: No, no, no. He helped write the lyrics for that before he got caught. I'll tell you straight up, before he got caught.

D.R.: Think you're going to work with Clint Ruin on anything?

Nick: Clint, are we?

Mick: No.

Nick: No.

D.R.: But he basically hooked up with you guys after seeing your band like 50 times?

Nick: Yeah.

Mick: Yeah, he was a big Birthday Party fan. He actually came to see us as The Boys Next Door.

D.R.: Did he set up The Immaculate Consumptive with you?

Nick: No.

D.R.: How was that engineered?

Nick: I set that up I think. Actually, I think Lydia set that up.

D.R.: The latest Bad Seed is Roland Wolf. Was he in any other bands?

Nick: Roland, were you in any other bands?

Roland Wolf: No.

Nick: A virgin.

D.R.: You met him in Berlin?

Nick: Yup.

D.R.: The Wings Of Desire movie that you got involved in with Wim Wenders. Was he just looking for musicians and you just volunteered your band to perform in it?

Nick: Yeah.

D.R.: All right...The Carny was pre-recorded, but you did do one song live for that.

Nick: Yes. From Her To Eternity.

D.R.: Were you in, like, an Alex Harvey frame of mind when you did The Carny? You must have had some kind of reflection on that whole epic kind of thing that he was doing. I'm not saying it was a blatant rip-off or anything, but as a kind of an influence.

Nick: You're suggesting it was a blatant rip-off.

D.R.: If you want.

Nick: No, I don't want. You mean The Tale of the Giant Stone Eater?

D.R.: Yeah, exactly.

Nick: No, not at all.

D.R.: But a lot of the covers you do like Tim Rose, I found it peculiar that both Einstuerzende and you picked songs from the same Tim Rose album.

Nick: His album. (points to Blixa) He bought the record and we just copied off him. He has all the ideas in the group. That's 'cause he's German.

D.R.: Have you ever played in Africa?

Nick: Yup, Zimbabwe.

D.R.: Would you ever like to play in Russia, or any place like that?

Nick: No.

D.R.: You're making this very difficult.

Nick: Why?

D.R.: You're bobbing your head and you're giving me one-word answers. But as far as Birthday Party songs you've recorded with The Bad Seeds, you've only did Mutiny live, and the other was Six Strings. Those are the only things you want to get out of those memories, huh?

Nick: Well, I think you retain favorable memories about things if you don't overwork them.

D.R.: What's the most favorable aspect of that?

Nick: About The Birthday Party? I don't know...

D.R.: Contacts you've made through the years, that sort of thing?

Nick: No, I don't know. That was a part of my youth. It's hard to separate my youth from The Birthday Party.

D.R.: When you see a lot of these bands these days, that go up on stage and are doing their Nick Cave's, does that really offend you, or are you flattered, or what?

Nick: I don't understand it. I look at them and I watch it and I just don't understand it.

D.R.: Are you trying to get away from that old image?

Nick: No. It wasn't an image.

D.R.: Well, the image you projected to them, or at least what they saw you as.

Nick: I'm just growing, I'm just older now. More mature.

D.R.: How many more albums do you think you have in you before you say you're through with music?

Nick: About another twelve.

D.R.: Do you have a lifetime pact with Mute?

Nick: Yeah, until we die. We have to make an album a year until we die.

D.R.: Can you talk them into signing Die Haut?

Nick: I think they've already tried that. Daniel Miller's a tyrant. He's the Hitler of the independent record concept.

D.R.: Are there any cities in this country that you like to play more than others?

Nick: No.

D.R.: Do you have the same basic set every night?

Nick: No.

D.R.: Are we going to get a different set tonight?

Nick: No.

D.R.: How many years has it been since you've done These Boots Are Made For Walking?

Nick: We're going to do that tomorrow night in New York.

D.R.: Really.

Nick: And we're doing quite a few Birthday Party songs tomorrow night. Yeah, Deep In The Woods, we're going to do Sonny's Burning, it's going to be a great show tomorrow night, huh?

Mick: Right on!

Nick: We're doing about six Birthday Party songs, aren't we? And you're going to miss it, too.

D.R.: No I'm not.

Nick: Well, I mean, if you want to hear us do some Birthday Party stuff, you should come up to New York. We're going to do Deep In The Woods, Hamlet, in fact, it's going to be a Birthday Party request show. You just have to yell out your favorite Birthday Party song and we'll play it.

D.R.: You don't do Mutiny anymore.

Nick: Yeah, we're going to do that as well.

D.R.: You've been known to play games with the Press. Do you have a particular hate for Matt Snow? Scum. This guy must have really irked you to no end. The song is just a hate letter to him.

Nick: I lived with him. That was a song about all journalists, really.

D.R.: What would it take to get a journalists respect from you? Would they have to be a war correspondent or something?

Nick: Yeah, possibly. A sports writer, possibly. So there you go, that's the story.


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