Nick Cave Monday #38: “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!”

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Rest in peace. RIP. That’s what we say when someone dies. So this Jesus dude in the Bible resurrects some people according to the gospels. One of the privileged to come back from the dead was Lazarus.

Lazarus was in his tomb and all of his family wept. Jesus asked them to pull the stone away and said, “Lazarus, come on out!”

That should be awesome, right? Well, Nick puts this so-called miracle into perspective.

From 2008, here is the official video to “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!”:

And that was Nick Cave doing his pimp strut. Could Jesus pimp strut like that? Even if he could, I doubt it would look cool in a robe and sandals.

Lazarus, transported to our era, totally confused and messed up. What happened after Lazarus was resurrected? Maybe he was in a shit marriage and off to some peaceful place, and then he comes out of the tomb and is like, “Great, that nagging bitch! Can I get back to the harp orchestra with the angels?”

Thanks, Jesus. Go fry some fishies.

Leave it to Nick to have fun with Bible stories and actually make them cooler than they are.

In Nick’s version, Lazarus is getting some good sex, a bit paranoid, strung out, and ultimately homeless. Real life man.

School loans and credit card debt vanished while he’s off to wherever the dead go, then BAM—right back in the mix of this world of shit.

“Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!” on Jools Holland:

It was the first time Nick really played guitar while fronting The Bad Seeds. The record released before “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!” was Grinderman, where the guitar became almost a permanent fixture for a while.

Even with a guitar in his hand, he is our preacher, pimp, and King Bad Seed.

“Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!” in 2009, sans Mick Harvey and the ‘stache:

Here’s something fun…about a year earlier, Blixa Bargeld, the lead singer of Einsturzende Neubauten and guitarist for The Bad Seeds came out with a music video projecting other Neubauten performers behind him on video screens:

Not quite the Nick pimp strut, but a great song and a fun idea that Nick may have borrowed and enhanced for the “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!” video.

Blixa’s video was shot in San Francisco when he spent more time here.

The lesson we have learned today is that being resurrected from the dead may not always be the best situation for a human.

“But what do we really know of the dead / And who actually cares? /
Well, I don’t know what it is / But there’s definitely something going on upstairs.”

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. His writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones, Penthouse, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Believer. And, if you’re a Nick Cave fan, check out Nick Cave Monday. More from this author →