Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are an Australian rock band originally formed by vocalist and songwriter Nick Cave, Mick Harvey, and Blixa Bargeld. With an expansive list of lineups, the most prominent members also include Barry Adamson, Hugo Race, and Warren Ellis. The band have released a total of 16 studio albums and is widely celebrated as one of the most influential post-punk bands of the '80s.
In 1983, Nick Cave and Mick Harvey formed Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (originally Nick Cave and the Cavemen) along with guitarist Bargeld and bassist Barry Adamson. They soon inducted Tracy Pew and guitarist Hugo Race. Their first album, From Her to Eternity, featured lyrics from Cave’s longtime girlfriend Anita Lane and was released on Mute Records in 1984. After moving to Berlin, the band released the Gothic Americana-inspired album The Firstborn Is Dead (1985). A cover album was released the following year titled Kicking Against the Pricks, featuring iterations of material by Johnny Cash and John Lee Hooker. The band gained further critical acclaim after their release of Your Funeral, My Trial (1986). During this time, Adamson left the band, marking the arrival of Thomas Wylder. In addition, longtime bandmate, Tracy Pew, died from an epileptic seizure. Tender Prey (1988), a dark, nihilistic record, led to the addition of guitarist Kid Congo Powers and keyboardist Roland Wolf. Although incredibly successful, an array of drug-related issues handicapped the members and caused Cave’s relocation to Sao Paulo, Brazil, after completing a drug rehabilitation program, resulting in a brief hiatus.
This seeming rebirth marked the beginning of a new era for the group. On The Good Son, the band utilized a lighter, hymn-like sound with traces of gospel influence. After The Good Son, Cave continued to experiment with different genres from album to album, concocting a mixture of blues, rock, post-punk and art-pop. From 1989-1997, the band released Henry’s Dream (1992), Let Love In (1993), Murder Ballads (1996) and the Boatman’s Call (1997), with sounds ranging from aggressive punk on Henry’s Dream to crushing ballads about loss and longing, accompanied by minimal arrangements on The Boatman’s Call. During this time, the lineup of band members heavily fluctuated.
From 1997-2005, the band continued to release an assortment of diverse albums, including Original Seeds (1998), a collection of tracks from artists that inspired the band’s music, and their “best of” album titled The Best of The Bad Seeds. Following these two projects were No More Shall Pass (2001) and Nocturama (2003). After Nocturama’s release, Bargeld left the band after 20 years. In 2004, the band premiered their two-disc set Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus, showcasing the dichotomy of the band's forays into both hardcore rock and ballads. Along with this was the release of B-Sides & Rarities (2005) and the two-CD/DVD collection of performances on The Abattoir Blues Tour.
The Bad Seeds released Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! (2008), depicting the biblical story of the resurrection of Lazarus of Bethany. Soon after, the last remaining original member, Harvey, left the group after playing with Cave for over 36 years.
The Bad Seed’s 15th studio album, Push the Sky Away (2013), resulted in former member Adamson rejoining the group. Skeleton Tree (2016) was accompanied by a documentary titled One More Time with Feeling (2016), earning them a Grammy nomination for Best Music Film. The band's latest album, Ghosteen, was released October 3, 2019, to critical acclaim.