grinder

Nick Cave Monday #7: “No Pussy Blues”

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Some men on their 50th birthday buy a convertible, grow a mustache, shag a yoga instructor and enter what society calls a midlife crisis.

Nick Cave had the greatest midlife crisis ever, which included growing a mustache straight out of a ’70s porn film.

Nick grabbed three members of The Bad Seeds, Jim, Casey and Warren, and they went into the studio. Nick played guitar and they jammed for days, coming up with the songs that would later make it on the first record of a new project called Grinderman.

As fans waited for the first release to come out the band described Grinderman as a group: “Foul-mouthed, noisy, hairy, and damn well old enough to know better.”

Jim and Warren grew long assed beards.

Here is “No Pussy Blues” by Grinderman:

When interviewed, Nick said The Bad Seeds could never write a song like that and spending days in the studio was the only way to come up with something so raw.

Check out the sexy ‘stached fella bust out “No Pussy Blues” on Jools Holland:

Grinderman later showed up as a major influence on the next Bad Seeds release, “Dig, Lazarus, Dig.”

After Grinderman’s first release, they played five dates in North America, including two in San Francisco.

Nick Cave hadn’t been to North America in over four years…since the late ’80s he could be counted on to do a San Francisco show every couple of years. There was a Nick Cave drought here.

Henry Rollins even flew to San Francisco from Lebanon to see this new Nick Cave project. He flew back to Lebanon soon after the show. Rollins said watching Nick as a four piece reminded him of watching Nick during The Birthday Party era.

Nick had kicked heroin for a while, his energy was explosive, there were lightning bolts bursting from his eyes.

At one of the shows on the first tour, I was near the front of the stage, about 5 people back, and some idiot kept yelling “Sonny’s Burning” (The Birthday Party), over and over and over again.

Nick stopped the show and pointed at me. We hadn’t met in person yet, but I had interviewed him a couple of times over the phone.

“You want to hear Birthday Party?” he pointed at me.

I pointed at me, confused.

“Yeah fucking you, what do you want to hear?”

“Deep in the Woods,” I said. Hey, he asked.

“Your beard is fucking pathetic,” he replied.

I mouthed “I love you,” and pointed to my heart.

“I love you too. I’m sure you’re a nice person.”

Of course, the idiot who yelled “Sonny’s Burning” over and over again didn’t say a peep for the rest of the show and I didn’t move from my spot….and “Deep in the Woods” was never played.

During the encore, after they sang all of the songs on the Grinderman record, Nick pointed at me and said, “This is for you.”

“Thank you,” I said and he smiled and they went on to play a bunch of songs from The Bad Seeds.

Someone told him he got the wrong guy. It’s Nick. He could punch me in the balls and spit on my face, I’m not leaving a Nick Cave show.

The public humiliation was worth the mix up and dedication. My heart swooned.

Their last song was “Deanna.” Henry Rollins was invited out to sing the chorus. It was almost as brilliant as the night earlier when Blixa Bargeld, then citizen of San Francisco, came on to sing “The Weeping Song.” Blixa was a bit tipsy and Grinderman’s interpretation of the Bad Seeds was brutal and fast. I wish they would do a Bad Seeds cover record. Blixa couldn’t keep up with the tempo and it was magnificently awful. All in good fun as Nick kept laughing through the song.

Thanks for reading and come back next week for Nick Cave Monday.


Tony DuShane is the author of Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk (Soft Skull Press). He's a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and hosts the radio show Drinks with Tony. Take his class Novel 1 at UCLA Extension, January 2015. His writing has also appeared in Mother Jones, Penthouse and The Believer. www.tonydushane.com More from this author →