Bad Seed: The Biography of Nick Cave

ISBN: 0316908339
ISBN 13: 9780316908337
By: Ian Johnston Ian Johnston

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Reader's Thoughts

James Ricci

Fortunately this text doesn't take away from the mythology of Cave. He is still every bit the gorgeous and mysterious creature he was before I picked the book up. It chronicles all releases up until 'Let Love In'. A fantasy drive, a post-punk western, sharp in the tooth and short on breath.

Ethan Miller

Not exceptionally well written, structured or edited as well as it could be and Johnston's obvious love is the Birthday Party here but Bad Seed is still compulsively readable and easily devoured for Nick Cave fans. For those that came to NC in the 90s after his decade + of explosive nihilism was beginning to come in for a landing (of sorts) and the man of refinement and tailored suits was beginning to fully form, the early life and career of Nick Cave is a bit of shock. Pre-croon, pre strings, pre-piano ballad albums there was a raging, screaming demon of a youth trying to carve out a career in music and art in blood splatter, punk nihilism, dirty needles and wretched shooting gallery obliteration. It's a bit incredible that he survived to live a 2nd and 3rd act in life and headed strongly toward a 4th and final as a world wide star. The book is long and heavy on the debauched tales of Birthday Party era nihilism and vicious hi-jinx. Then the chapters seem to speed up as the albums go on and it ends at the completion of Let Love In. Commercial success and new artistic heights were just around the corner. At this point Let Love In is less than a half way point in Cave's career so to read Bad Seed now is to engage with a past artifact of sorts and certainly not one that has the vantage point of historical overview. But in some ways that also makes it an interesting read in that it is somewhat of the moment it writes about or at least closer to it. Much of the book is focused on Cave's epic, public battles with the press, their condescension and belittling of Cave at every turn and just how much the UK press meant to bands in the 80s. Cave's incredible life and legacy deserves a first rate biography but for now Bad Seed serves to throw on Henrys Dream or Junkyard, loud, late night, a greasy slice of pizza in one hand and a cheap beer in the other and pour through Johnston's tabloid tales of Cave's youthful overdoses and spitting, burning hatred of the whole world. In that, Bad Seed serves, fully.


Whilst I approached this book as a fan of Nick Cave's work, there's always a fear that a biography will be either a smear job or a sycophantic fan's ramblings. This book is neither of those: it presents a timeline of Cave's work with a warts and all approach, balancing the good stuff with the character flaws.There are lots of direct quotes, both from Cave and his associates, making the book feel real and engaging.There are some wonderful insights into his methiods of wroking and how he diversified into writing books and appearing in films.There are awkward moments throughout the book, but it deals openly and honestly with a complex character and how he has interacted with other talented individuals to produce a staggering body of work.Like him or not, anyone would have to concede that he's a prolific artist, who has battled through tough times (some of them self imposed granted!) to produce some startling music.The book has added a lot to my appreciation of his work.


This is a great biography. It gives a detailed account of Nick Cave’s musical journey from his early days in The Boys Next Door, to the wild years of The Birthday Party, up to his first ten years as frontman of the Bad Seeds. We too journey with him, traveling from Melbourne Australia, to London, Berlin, New York and San Paolo. This was a good read and an excellent way to give a listen to all his discography again.


Bright yet functional account of a mythically fun modern rocker. Never escapes the 'and then the band started work on this album/ and then they went on tour/ but not before this happened' structure of the majority of rock biography, but the anecdotes themselves are funny and ridiculous enough to satisfy.


Early going for this book. Wanted to know more about this enigmatic musician and where he came from. I'll get more into it once I'm done with HOTEL CALIFORNIA.

Jan Jørgensen

Jeg må komme med en ordentlige anmeldelse senere. man kan kun sige at den er fyldt med smæk lækre anekdoter og fortællinger. Jeg troede ikke at jeg var til biografier men den her bog har givet mig blod på tanden til at vide mere om mine ynglings musikere.


This bio was, so, so incredibly boring I could not even believe it; HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO MAKE NICK CAVE SO GODDAMN BORING????


Enjoyable but felt it didn't get into the depths of this interesting creative force.

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