Nick Cave: No Pussyfooting Blues
From The Boys Next Door to the Birthday Party to the last couple of albums by The Bad Seeds, Nick Cave has long experienced the power of pure visceral electricity clash against the grain of his dramatic flair for lyrical prose. But nothing the Goth King of Oz has done in his 30-odd years making music comes close to the brute force of his work with Grinderman, his punk-blues outfit featuring rogue Bad Seeds members Warren Ellis, Jim Sclavunos and Martyn Casey. The ragtag quartet’s second album, the wolfman-themed Grinderman 2, was released in September to rave reviews and the promise of the group’s first major tour across this tattered globe of ours. We caught up with Mr. Cave on the eve of Grinderman 2’s release to speak with him about the blues, his improvement as a guitar player, the love he has for early Funkadelic, taking phone calls from Tom Waits, the wolf, the moon and collaborating with legendary prog-rock guitarist Robert Fripp on a remix of the new album’s first single “Heathen Child”, featured on a special limited edition double A-side 12-inch of the song. As it turns out, Nick is quite the King Crimson fan.
Grinderman was named after a John Lee Hooker version of a Memphis Slim song. The album where that comes from, That’s Where It’s At, is it a particular favorite of yours?
That’s not my favorite, no. But I do like his version of that song, for sure. I really like the early stuff he did on King Records. The Bad Seeds covered a song from that time many years ago called “I’m Gonna Kill That Woman”. That’s an amazing record.
Would you consider Grinderman to be your version of the blues?
If someone asked us what kind of music we play, I wouldn’t say, “The blues, man, the blues.” Certainly we’re acknowledging the blues in Grinderman. But then again all the music that I’ve done through the years has been influenced on some level by the blues.
The first Grinderman marked your debut as an electric guitarist. Do you feel you improved having gone into the recording of Grinderman 2 ?
I think I’ve plateaued (laughs). I’ve learned pretty much all of the open chords that I could learn. I still haven’t nor do I particularly want to master the bar chord. I could manage some songs we play. It is very difficult to know what I can do with the band and what I can’t do, because in the studio when you are recording you play it in a completely different way; whether it’s possible for me to play these songs live remains to be seen.
Who are some of your guitar heroes?
I like Pete Cosey from Miles Davis’ mid-70s band… also the guitarist from Funkadelic—Eddie Hazel. I really love that song “Maggot Brain”. I also love the guitar on “Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow”—when it kicks in on that chord change, it’s just beautiful.
Speaking of guitarists, how did the collaboration with Robert Fripp come about for “Super Heathen Child”?
I was listening to that version [of the song] at home, and I said to my wife, “I’d like a really evil guitar solo at the end of this. I’d love to get Robert Fripp…” And she said, “Well, why don’t you ring him up!” I didn’t know him at all and we just kind of gotten in contact with him and he was just amazing. I actually sent him the song and I said to him, “Listen to it and I’ll talk to you tomorrow about what I’d like you to do.” He rang me up the next morning, actually, and he goes, “I’ve done it, I’ve done it! I did a riff here, and a riff in the middle part and whatnot.” But he didn’t give me the opportunity to talk about it. He did this amazing stuff on it, but it wasn’t what I had in mind. So I traveled up to the middle of England to meet him in a studio there. And it was there I asked him if he could do something more evil and do a solo at the end of it. So he did this thing and it’s just great. It’s really long and a real beautiful thing.
Is he a fan?
I think his wife is a fan of ours. I bet she probably told him, “You get down there and you do that.” (laughs)
Have you always listened to King Crimson?
Oh yeah, I love that stuff. They’re a strange group, because they go to places that I don’t really understand. I love the guitar work on Larks Tongues in Aspic, the first three quarters of that album is just blissful.
Do you like the stuff he did with Brian Eno, No Pussyfooting and Evening Star and such?
Yeah, totally. What [Fripp] has done [with “Super Heathen Child”] is much more like that than anything else he’s done.
In honor of Umphrey’s McGee’s return to Summer Camp this weekend, we present the group’s Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger performing this version of “The Pequod” from UM’s Anchor Drops.
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
- Relix Live Fridays: Trey Anastasio at The Fox
- Grace Potter & The Nocturnals "The Lion The Beast The Beat" (Official Video)
- The Allman Brothers Band Before Gregg?
- The M & Ms: Medeski, Mali, Mercurio, Moore at (Le) Poisson Rouge (A Gallery)
- Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger "The Pequod"
- Trey Anastasio with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center
- More Visions of the Hangout Music Festival 2013 (A Gallery)
- A Blowout for the So So Glos
- Interlocken Festival to Feature Neil Young, Furthur, String Cheese Incident, Black Crowes, Zac Brown and More
- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers "Friend of The Devil" at the Beacon
- The Salvation of Page McConnell (Relix Revisited)
- Interlocken Adds Widespread Panic and John Fogerty, Furthur to Play Workingman’s Dead
- Warren Haynes and Joe Bonamassa "If Heartaches Were Nickels"
- The Final Ingredient in Dogfish Head’s Grateful Dead Tribute Ale Is…
- Stone Gossard Readies His Moonlander
- Trey Anastasio Band at The Hangout (Video Stream)
- Doctor’s Orders: So what should we call the Super Ball IX Newspaper?
- John Kadlecik Posts Statement on Bob Weir’s Collapse
- "I Wanne Be In moe.": The Latest Volunteers
- Bob Weir Escorted Off Stage During Furthur Show
- Furthur Cancels BottleRock Show as Bob Weir Is Out Of Commision
- Vote for Your Favorite "I Wanne Be In moe." Contestant
- Doctor’s Orders: What’s Your Favorite Furthur Song? (Win Copy of Relix Signed by Phil and Bobby)
- On The Verge Poll