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Nick Cave Monday #24: “Mack The Knife”

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One night in January 1995, you may have been alive and lucky enough to have tuned your TV to “Great Performances” a special featuring the music of Kurt Weill.

It was the coolest of the cool performing Kurt’s music including Elvis Costello, William S. Burroughs and our man Nick Cave.

Here he is performing “Mack the Knife.”

The lyrics could have been written by Nick himself and we wouldn’t have even guessed the song was written almost a century ago. Weill wrote the music, with his lovely haunting circus orchestrations. The lyrics were originally in German by Bertolt Brecht and it was part of “The Threepenny Opera.”

The song is also known as “The Ballad of Mack the Knife” and “Die Moritat von Mackie Messier.”

After Nick’s groovy opening credits sequence there are other major stars of music on the show.

Here is the sexy Polly Jean performing “Ballad of the Soldier’s Wife.”

Let’s also check out David Johansen from New York Dolls, absolutely killin’ it with “Alabama Song.”

In other Nick Cave news, did you catch the Los Angeles show online Feb. 21st? They kept it online for one day. To watch them perform the whole release of “Push the Sky Away” was absolutely brilliant. That album seems like a forty-two minute song with a few breaks. When I’m listening with my ear buds, I tend to take longer walks and let a couple of buses pass so I can take in the full release on every playback. It’s so good!

And to see Barry Adamson as a Bad Seed again. Perfection!

Coming soon is an interview with Agent OO666. (Barry Adamson song reference, stay tuned for more in April.)

Here we go. It’s 2013, the year of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds touring the world. Check in from your cities and countries on stories regarding the gigs. I wanna hear about every hip swivel and set list.

“See the shark, with teeth like razors, and he wears them, in his face, and Mack he has got a knife, but not in such an obvious place….” Danke Kurt Weill and Nick.

Thanks for reading and come back next week for another edition of 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 →