Legal name: Nicholas Edward Cave
Nicholas Edward Cave AO (born 22 September 1957) is an Australian musician, singer-songwriter, author, screenwriter, composer and occasional film actor, best known as the frontman of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Referred to as rock music's "Prince of Darkness", Cave's music is generally characterised by emotional intensity, a wide variety of influences, and lyrical obsessions with death, religion, love and violence. NME called him "the grand lord of gothic lushness".
Born and raised in rural Victoria, Cave studied art in Melbourne and for a time considered becoming a painter. In the 1970s, he formed and fronted the Boys Next Door, which spearheaded Melbourne's bourgeoning post-punk scene. They changed their name to the Birthday Party and relocated to London in 1980. Disillusioned by life in England, the band's sound and live shows became increasingly violent, and they garnered a reputation as one of darkest and most challenging groups of the 1980s. For this they are credited as a major influence on gothic rock. The band, having released three albums and two EPs, fell apart after moving to West Berlin in 1983.
After the break up of the Birthday Party, Cave formed Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in 1983, releasing its debut album the following year. Much of the band's early material was set in a mythic American Deep South, drawing on spirituals and Delta blues, while Cave's preoccupation with Old Testament notions of good versus evil culminated in what has been called his signature song, "The Mercy Seat" (1988). The 1996 album Murder Ballads featured "Where the Wild Roses Grow", a duet with Kylie Minogue, Cave's most commercially successful single to date. Skeleton Tree, the band's sixteenth and most recent album, was released in 2016. Cave formed the garage rock group Grinderman in 2006, which has since released two albums.
Cave co-wrote, scored and starred in the 1988 Australian prison film Ghosts... of the Civil Dead (1988), directed by John Hillcoat. Cave also wrote the screenplay for Hillcoat's bushranger film The Proposition (2005), and composed the soundtrack with frequent collaborator Warren Ellis. The pair's film score credits include The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), The Road (2009), Lawless (2012), and Hell or High Water (2016). Cave is the subject and co-writer of the semi-fictional "day in the life" documentary 20,000 Days on Earth (2014). He has also released two novels: And the Ass Saw the Angel (1989) and The Death of Bunny Munro (2009).
Cave's songs have been covered by a wide range of artists, including Johnny Cash, Metallica and Arctic Monkeys. Upon his induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame, ARIA Awards committee chairman Ed St John said: "Nick Cave has enjoyed—and continues to enjoy—one of the most extraordinary careers in the annals of popular music. He is an Australian artist like Sidney Nolan is an Australian artist—beyond comparison, beyond genre, beyond dispute."