Several weeks ago a Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds concert played on my TV while I went about my chores around the house. Even at his most vulgar, there’s something comforting about Cave’s voice. For every “Stagger Lee” there’s a “God is in the House,” tugging at heartstrings and easing the mind back to peace. That, I think, remains one of the reasons I’ve appreciated Cave’s music for so long—it’s balance between lyrical grotesqueness and poetic allurement. Also, the music just sounds really good. That always counts for a lot.
A few weeks ago Nick Cave’s Bad Seed Teevee video stream kicked off on YouTube, offering “a stream of videos, concerts, interviews, film, and more from the world of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, playing on random shuffle 24 hours a day.” I don’t know why more musicians don’t do something like this, and it’s been interesting to pop in to the stream as a lurker, observing the live conversation that is happening between fans while a few hundred people watch whatever’s playing at any given moment, together, but apart.
I have a pair of tickets to Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ October 4 show at the Grand Ole Opry, though I’m not exactly holding my breath that the show will go off as scheduled, or even at all. If it does I’ll be grateful, and it’ll be my second time seeing the group live, following their 2013 performance at The Ryman. That show was fantastic.
I can’t recall exactly where I first heard Cave’s music, but have a hunch that the introduction came from Henry Rollins’ standup or books somewhere in the ’90s. I tried to get into Cave’s book, King Ink, long before I was of the age where it might have made the remotest sense to me, but it wasn’t until early in the 2000’s that I landed my first Bad Seeds album, The Boatman’s Call. It’s still one of my favorites, but has become supplanted by either 2008’s Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! or 2013’s Push the Sky Away. In going back over Cave’s discography the past several weeks I’ve awakened a deeper appreciation for his older works with The Bad Seeds, but also a new perspective on his most recent work, such as his soundtrack compositions with long-time collaborator Warren Ellis or last year’s ambient-leaning Ghosteen.
It’s an interesting thought, sitting back and reflecting on what another person has come to represent in my mind. For as much of a fan I am of Nick Cave’s music, he is not his music. He is as much the poet as he is the poem. He is a story, but also a story-teller. And for much of my life, he’s also provided the soundtrack to my story, too.