The Bad Seeds frontman also spoke about Kylie, sanitary towels, giving birth to watermelons, heroin and the NME
Nick Cave took part in an ‘In Conversation’ session covering his life and career earlier today (March 12) as part of the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.
Speaking at the Austin Convention Center with New York based author Larry Ratso Sloman, the Bad Seeds frontman admitted that he first joined a band in order to get “girls and booze”, telling the packed out audience that “it actually works!”
He explained that before he started singing he was an “anti-magnet” to the opposite sex. “In school I was an anti-magnet for women. They saw me and they were repulsed,” he said, adding that when he started up The Boys Next Door – later The Birthday Party – “things immediately changed in terms of my attractiveness”.
Though he’s been making music for five decades, Cave went on to say that he often feels like “an imposter”. He said: “I still feel very much an imposter in the whole music scene – which I’m quite happy about to be honest.”
Speaking about the formation of Grinderman, who have reformed to play next month’s Coachella Valley Festival of Music & Arts, despite going on hiatus in 2011, he said: “It was an unbelievably fucked up, passive aggressive act,” when talking about recruiting some members of the Bad Seeds, but not others, for the band.
During the hour long talk, it was revealed that a New Zealand sanitary towel company once wanted to use his song ‘Red Right Hand’ in an ad campaign. “The mind boggles,” smirked Cave.
Of his 1995 collaboration with Kylie, ‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’, Cave said: “She had a very lovely affect over things for a while – she was a force of nature.”
The Bad Seeds singer also revealed that Johnny Cash was an early inspiration, specifically the country legend’s own TV show. “The Johnny Cash Show was very important to me around nine years old, because there was something evil, or dangerous, about this particular character, and I responded to that,” he said.
Cave, who is also a successful author, explained that he finds it easier to write books than lyrics. “A book you kind of get on a roll,” he said, but compared writing lyrics to lots of small, painful births. “It’s like pushing 13 watermelons out of the tiniest orifice, whereas a book is just like one long watermelon.”
Cave went on to speak about his history of using heroin, saying that in Australia in the late 1970s, there was no stigma attached to the drug. “For a lot of people it was the basic drug of choice,” he commented.
Cave and The Birthday Party relocated to the UK in 1980. “We would get and read NME when we were kids and dream about England… but by the time we got there the punk rock thing had turned into something we had no interest in,” he said.
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds play Stubb’s tomorrow (March 13) as part of SXSW.