Nick Cave's Renaissance

How the Bad Seed came good: MOJO’s latest cover star on his extraordinary last decade. “I’m trying to terrify,” he tells Tom Doyle.

Nick Cave's Renaissance

IN A WIDE-RANGING and revealing interview in the latest MOJO magazine, Nick Cave and band unveil the interior life of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, the group who defied the odds to stand as one of the world’s Top 5 most consistently creative bands. MOJO 243: on sale December 31, 2013.

Addressing the notorious resignation of Bad Seeds guitarist/MD Mick Harvey in 2009, after 26 years with the group, Cave says: “Look, Mick had his misgivings about the direction that the Bad Seeds were going in. But I tell you what… the great freedom was the liberation from the tyranny of the guitar.”

In the last decade, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds have made some of their most accomplished records – among them 2004’s astonishing double set Abattoir Blues/The Lyre Of Orpheus and 2013’s elegant, affecting Push The Sky Away. But the period began with the lacklustre Nocturama and the departure of apparently essential Bad Seed guitarist Blixa Bargeld.

“People were talking about the possibilility that the band was a lame duck,” Cave concedes. “I just pushed on.”

“I’m trying to terrify really and dominate.”

Nick Cave

As he did so, the group grew instead of faded, as violinist Warren Ellis adopted more responsibility for the sound of the group and the Bad Seeds morphed from a powerful, if brooding, force into a more extroverted, even festival-friendly proposition.

Of the singer who now prowls the edge of the stage, engaging audiences and electrifying arenas, Cave says, “I’m not trying to be part of the people. I’m trying to terrify really and dominate.”

In more recent news, Cave talks about the Driver Alertness course he was obliged to undertake after pranging his Jaguar in Brighton in 2010.

“I totalled a speed camera,” Cave tells MOJO writer Tom Doyle. “And the car. I don’t really know what happened. My thoughts were elsewhere…”

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, 2013. From left: Martyn P. Casey, Conway Savage, Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Jim Sclavunos, Barry Adamson, George Vjestica. | Portraiture by Tom Oldham.

Asked what the other miscreants on the course must have thought as the former dark lord of goth rock took his seat among them, Cave laughs…

“It was like f***ing rehab all over again. All these people with their heads down, shamefully looking a their shoes.”

Just a taste of what’s in store in the new MOJO magazine, which includes a free covermount CD featuring tracks hand-curated by Cave and band.

Also featured: David Crosby, Jimmy Webb, Hendrix’s childhood. Plus Beck, Temples, Prince and Linda Perhacs amongst everything to look forward to in 2014.