Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
Nick Cave is an internationally renowned musician from the North East of Victoria, Australia. He started out in The Birthday Party, a rather weird Post-Punk band who would become a big influence on Goth rock. In the middle of The Eighties went on to found Nick Cave and the Cavemen, who fairly quickly renamed themselves to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. In recent years he's formed a third band, Grinderman, who very unusually for him play rather straightforwards rock music.He is also the author of the novels And The Ass Saw The Angel and The Death Of Bunny Munro, as well as the script for The Proposition, for which he and bandmate Warren Ellis (no, not thatWarren Ellis) also composed the soundtrack. And he's occasionally acted, most notably in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (he appears as a musician, playing the folk song "Jesse James"), which he and Ellis again scored. The film version of The Road was scored by him and Ellis, and directed by John Hillcoat, who also did The Proposition.His songs range from gentle love songs, to angsty songs of pain, to full-on murder ballads; he wrote a whole album of the latter. He's also known for deeply held, though unconventional, religious views; his songs and novels are rife with Christian symbolism, though he denies in recent interviews that he believes in a personal or interventionist God (so...Deist, maybe? Post-theist?).Compare Tom Waits, who has a somewhat similar style, and who is confirmed to be an influence on Cave.Albums with their own TV Tropes page:
Anti-Love Song: A number of songs by both The Birthday Party and the Bad Seeds, including "Where the Wild Roses Grow," "Do You Love Me?" parts 1 and 2 and "Jack the Ripper." The love songs on The Boatman's Call are a bit too stark and minimalist to be considered "silly" love songs and would easily qualify.
One album of his, a recorded lecture titled "The Secret Life Of The Love Song", features him musing on how many alleged songs of love are actually songs of hate. He proceeds to illustrate a genuine lovesong he found among the dross of pop by playing Kylie Minogue's "Better The Devil You Know"; him, a piano, and a Stock-Aitken-Waterman pop ditty makes for a profoundly disturbing combination, since - for once - you pay attention to the lyrics.
Ax-Crazy: From the Birthday Party there's the subject of "Hamlet (Pow Pow Pow)" who is a gun-happy sociopath bearing a crucifix. Murder Ballads by the Bad Seeds has at least six songs featuring outright homicidal maniacs. In particular Lottie from "The Curse of Milhaven" is literally rabid with psychopathic murderous rage., as well as the protagonist of "Stagger Lee", who is not only a murderous psychopath, but also a sadistic rapist who doesn't discriminate based on gender.
Surprisingly averted in "Jack The Ripper." In spite of its namesake, the song has nothing to do with the infamous murderer.
Badass Mustache / Badass Beard: With Grinderman came a mustache to the formerly clean-shaven Cave. Many of the members of Grinderman and a few of the Bad Seeds sport Bad Ass facial hair such as Warren Ellis' wild-man grizzly beard.
Black Widow: In "Henry Lee" the titular character runs afoul of a rather jealous one.
Call Back: The first song on the album Murder Ballads, "Song of Joy" (About a man telling the story of how his wife and daughters were murdered by a serial killer) has two back to the previous album Let Love In. The first is the speaker using the phrase "All things move towards their end", which is a phrase used similarly in the song "Do You Love Me?". Another during his description of the murder scene, where the killer has used blood to write the words "His Red Right Hand" on the wall. This is cited as a reference to John Milton's Paradise Lost, but is also a reference to the song Red Right Hand.
Concept Album: Henry's Dream, Murder Ballads, Dig Lazarus Dig!!! and The Lyre of Orpheus
Corrupt Hick: A plethora of characters in "And The Ass Saw The Angel."
Distinct Double Album: Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus. The former CD was harder-edged and the latter was notably softer and more melancholy.
Duet Bonding: Led to his relationship with Polly Jean Harvey.note Granted, this was more a case of "filming-the-video-for-the-duet bonding" as their vocals were recorded continents apart and then spliced together for the final recording, but it still applies.
Goth Rock: They're a tricky aversion. The Bad Seed's music is gothic in terms of using imagery inspired by the time period of the "gothic revival" in America, due to Cave's fascination with American history, the old west and the deep south. The genre of gothic music was heavily influenced by both The Birthday Party and the Bad Seeds even though they existed before the term "goth" had any foothold as a subculture. The result is that the Bad Seeds get incorrectly attached to the gothic rock genre along with bands that identify as "goth bands" in spite of the fact they literally do play what you would call "gothic revival-influenced rock."
Grievous Bottley Harm: Cave once punched a thrown pint glass, breaking it, and kept on playing without any sign of pain. Of course, that did happen at the Hacienda.
Grief Song: "A Box For Black Paul" which fans have speculated references the breakup of The Birthday Party.
Although not autobiographical Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere? from The Boatman's Call is an extremely moving song about the death of a child.
Guttural Growler: Used on occasion. An example would be "Lovely Creature" off of Murder Ballads.
Iconic Outfit: Nick's suit. Notably absent in the video for "More News From Nowhere"
The Birthday Party is Nick & Friends putting their own twist on The Stooges.
Let's Duet: Many, including PJ Harvey, Kylie Minogue, Blixa Bargeld, Shane MacGowan and Chris Bailey. Cave also sang with Alan Vega of Suicide during a special live performance of Grinderman; at another Grinderman show, he was joined by Henry Rollins and Jello Biafra.
Lonely Piano Piece: Cave's multiple stints of depression and drug use came out in the form of stripped down and sorrowful piano pieces, especially on The Boatman's Call and No More Shall We Part.
New Sound Album / Surprisingly Gentle Album: Happened thrice with the Bad Seeds. The Good Son was a shockingly gentle follow-up to the intense Tender Prey. Then it happened again with both The Boatman's Call and No More Shall We Part following a year after the moody and dark Murder Ballads.The Boatman's Call was much better received than The Good Son, perhaps because it was less of a shock the second time to hear the Bad Seeds do an album full of sorrowful songs and Lonely Piano Piece tracks. Then it happened a third time with Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!! sounding more like the rock & roll of Grinderman than anything else they'd done previously.
Ode to Intoxication: The Birthday Party's own "Mutiny In Heaven" is a manic ode to heroin abuse. Several songs off of No More Shall We Part allude to Cave's time in detox such as "Oh My Lord."
Omnicidal Maniac: Lottie from "The Curse Of Millhaven" has shades of this: "All God's children, they all got to die."
Record Producer: The Bad Seeds tend to produce most of their own albums, but one producer in particular David Briggs stands out for Cave being so unhappy with how he produced Henry's Dream that the Bad Seeds recorded an entire live album featuring most of the same songs done their way just to compensate.
Villain Song / The Villain Sucks Song: In "Up Jumped The Devil" the narrator literally states "He was doomed to play the villain's part" as he describes his fleeing to Mexico from justice and the devil himself. Cave also covered "Mack The Knife" for a Kurt Weill tribute album, which is a classic case of the latter trope. Then there' "Stagger Lee" which is probably one of the most brutal songs ever written.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Cave and Henry Rollins. Rollins once related how he had learned of the first Grinderman gig while in Lebanon, flown directly to California to see it, and accosted Cave and the band backstage, telling them how he'd got there and that it had better be good. Cave's response according to Rollins was: "Henry, you're a fucking psychotic."