When you’ve personally witnessed Nick Cave nodding out on heroin and slowly lowering his head into a candle flame – his mass of dyed black hair igniting as you rush over with a tea towel to extinguish the blaze – you are likely to do a minor double-take when, years later, you hear that he’s been made an honorary doctor of letters by the University of Brighton, the English seaside town he calls home.
Such is the unlikely trajectory of a musician who, for more than three decades, has staggered along the fissure that separates low life from highbrow art. Like very few other “rock stars” – not a breed he has ever closely identified himself with – Cave has survived the thanatos of his self-destructive impulses to become a canonised artist of the transgressive. He’s made several acclaimed albums, written novels and screenplays, and been showered with awards. He’s even had his own South Bank Show.
All starting out as a suburban art school band from Melbourne, they quickly transformed into The Birthday Party, a feral collection of embryonic but already incendiary artistic presences. They made three era defining albums, before escaping to West Berlin and re-inventing themselves as The Bad Seeds, going on to make 15 studio albums and a side project in Grinderman. In between Cave managed to batter out a couple of novels, and some scripts and roles in a few films, most recently appearing in the 2014 documentary 20,000 Days On Earth.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds has announced that Mute Records will reissue the group’s entire catalog on vinyl. As fans probably know all too well, with the exception of last year’s Push the Sky Away, the group’s discography is a bit difficult to track down on vinyl — and if you do happen to find some of these titles, they’re going to cost a pretty substantial wad of cash.
But starting this month, 14 of the iconic art-rock (or goth, or punk blues) band’s albums will be pressed and released on LP in non-sequential increments. The first group will arrive on Oct. 27, including fan favorites From Her to Eternity and Your Funeral… My Trial. The next two batches will arrive on Nov. 17 and Nov. 24, respectively, and the remaining titles will be released in 2015.