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Noisentry – Birthday Party

Despite their relatively short run and lack of commercial success, BP became a very influential band and were cited as an influence by the likes of Coil, Jesus Lizard, Jesus & The Mary Chain, Deerhunter, Dinosaur Jr., Scratch Acid and many others.

While students at Caulfield Grammar School in Melbourne, Australia, Nick Cave, Mick Harvey and Phil Culvert formed a band that mostly played covers of songs by Alice Cooper and David Bowie. After the end of school, they added Tracy Pew on bass and started touring/recording their own material under the name The Boys Next Door.

r3958251153497771After an addition of Rowland S. Howard in 1978, their sound started changing – while their early work was inspired by new wave, their new sound (and what would became their trademark) was a mix of punk, rockabilly, free jazz and blues and often defied categorization.

By the early 80s, the band moved to London and changed their name to Birthday Party. They toured throughout Europe, Australia and US and eventually relocated to West Berlin.

Calvert was fired from the band in 1982 and Harvey replaced him as a drummer. Pew was jailed for drunk driving/theft and was replaced by Barry Adamson and others on records and during live shows. He died from an epileptic seizure in 1986.

In 1982, Lydia Lunch and members of Birthday Party recorded an album as Honeymoon In Red, but it didn’t saw the light of the day until 1987. Harvey and Cave were unhappy with results to the point where they requested their names to be removed from liner notes, while Howard and Pew had no objections.

Birthday Party finally broke up in 1984, when members started to suffer from work and drug related exhaustion. A couple of other bands emerged in its place – Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds (with Cave, Harvey, Barry Adamson and Einstürzende Neubauten guitarist Blixa Bargeld), Crime And The City Solution (which initially included both Harvey and Howard, and later only Howard) and These Immortal Souls (which also featured Howard).

Nick Cave went on to become a mega-famous performer in Australia and around the world. In 2007, he was inducted into ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Hall Of Fame and more recently he formed a new band called Grinderman, which includes members of Dirty Three, Triffids and 8 Eyed Spy. They released their self-titled debut album in 2007 and their second album is in works.

Cave also wrote a number of books, including “King Ink”, “And The Ass Saw An Angel” and “King Ink 2”. He also starred in “Ghosts Of The Civil Dead” and “Johnny Suede” and wrote a scenario for proposed sequel of Gladiator, which was rejected by the studio. He also did plenty of soundtrack work – his music can be heard in such movies as Wim Wenders’s Wings Of Desire, Shrek Shrek 2, Scream and many others.

Discography:

As Boys Next Door:

Door, Door LP (Mushroom, 1979 / 1993 / Grey Area, 1993)

Shivers 7″ (Mushroom, 1979)

Hee Haw 12″ (Missing Link, 1983)

As Birthday Party:

The Birthday Party LP (Missing Link, 1980)

The Friend Catcher 7″ (4AD, 1980)

Mr. Clarinet 7″ (4AD, 1981)

Nick The Stripper 12″ (Missing Link, 1981)

Nick The Stripper / Blundertown 7″ (Propeller / Festival, 1981)

Prayers On Fire LP (4AD, 1981 / Gee Bee Dee, 1981 / Propeller, 1981)

Release The Bats 7″ (4AD, 1981)

Dead Joe 7″ (Masterbag, 1982)

Drunk On The Pope’s Blood / The Agony Is The Ecstacy 12″ (4AD, 1982)

Junkyard LP / Cass (Missing Link, 1982 / Gee Bee Dee, 1982 / CNR, 1982 / Propeller / Festival, 1982)

Mutiny! 12″ (Disques Vogue, 1983 / Mute, 1983 / Powderworks, 1983)

Pleasure Heads Must Burn VHS / DVD (Ikon, 1983 / Cherry Red, 2003)

Nick The Stripper

Release The Bats (Live)

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