It’s a Grind(erman), Baby

I’m listening to the Nick Cave “Grinderman” project for the first time right now.

In about 7 or 8 hours, the manic-man himself will take the stage here in Vancouver for the first time since he was beaned in the head by some inconsiderate (probably from Seattle, coff) fuck’s boot at the Vancouver edition of Lollapalooza back in ’94.

Nick Cave, for me, was one of the first musicians who kinda tapped into my dark-soul places. Sure, other bands sorta “got” angst to my way of thinkin’, but not a lot of people could articulate the kind of dark and angry, morbidly poetic thoughts that’d course through my mind late at night or as I drifted off into sadistic mental imagery.

I’m not violent. Nor am I an angry person. I don’t hate on anyone. I don’t think I even need an attitude adjustment, since I enjoy my rantishness.

But I wouldn’t open my mind’s curtain to you, regardless.

In another life, I want to disappear to some little cabinesque home off the water, and write my way to hell and back.

I like death. Just on the page. Not, like, in life.

I do page-death well.

In another century, I might have been an executioner, likely. An ax-man. The guillotine go-to dude.

Maybe, if it had an alcohol allowance.


In stories, I’ve caused deaths with things like electric sanders, anchors, bookshelves, freaky poisoning, tongue-swallowing fatal beatings, and more.

Gruesome film deaths often make me giggle.

I’m nice as can be, as ethical as the day is long, but I love to write horrific fiction sometimes.

And, Nick Cave, he was a musical equivalent when singing tracks like The Mercy Seat (about a guy waiting for his seat in the electric chair, death coming up, a favourite of mine).

I didn’t want songs that inspired me to rail against society or scream into the rain. I didn’t need to rile up my frustration at the state, my hatred for the man, why I loathe my parents’ fuck-ups like you loathe yours, and all that shit. I HAVE THAT DOWN, THANK YOU.

I wanted to forage in the dark side of my literary mind —  that side which that imagines thar be demons, and cartoonifies anger against others by crashing a giant rubber mallet from the imaginary sky over their pretty little brains.

Is that so wrong?

I don’t ever want to do these things, I just want to know it’s okay to play this shit up in my mind with a sardonic laugh track echoing in the hollows of my imagination.

Because that’s cool, right?

[mallet crashes down, brains ooze]


And the darkness doesn’t stop with Cave. When the dude picked his “Bad Seeds”, he chose wisely. A little-known off-shoot of his backing musician dudes, including Warren Ellis, who’s also in Grinderman, was a little trio called The Dirty Three.

The Dirty Three, them I’ve seen live. They tore into violins and drums, nothing else. No vocals, di nada. That “instrumental” shit’d fuck you up live. Great gothic anger.

And there’s the funny little kicker. You know what I will NEVER, EVER describe myself as? Goth.

Not that I have a thing about goths. I’m just not one. I like some of the imagery some of the time, but don’t need to cloud myself in it 24/7. It’s just a “thing” I like sometimes. You know, like caramel. Or porn.

So, tonight, after wanting to see this guy since he blew my mind the winter I lived in the Yukon, ’94, when these guys…

…I guess I should tell that story?

It’s ’94, I’m in the Yukon for a year, and these two guys from CBC Radio North opened this little record shop, “Grizzly Discs,” the same month I blow into town.

The only thing I got tying me into The Cool I’ve left from the city life down in Vancouver is my subscription to rock magazines like Spin and Rolling Stone. So, I start ordering into the shop tracks I’d read about — including stuff like Grant Lee Buffalo, Dead Can Dance, Dada, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and, yeah, Nick Cave.

They’re looking at the titles, and suddenly they propose a deal: I get 25% off if they get to listen to everything for a week when it comes in. SOLD.

That was the winter of my immersion in a lot of different stuff, and it’s when I had the two guys say “Uh, so, we think you might like this, it came in used yesterday so we held it for you.”

It was Nick Cave & The Live Seeds.

That was it, I was hooked.

…And tonight, 16 years later, I’m finally seeing him live. He’s pretty much the last on my MUST FUCKING SEE list. Oh, and the Butthole Surfers, that still needs to happen.

Okay, so there’s a few other people on the list, but allow me my delusion.

Nick Cave is the concert I still need to see in order to appease my Angry Violent InnerWriter Chick.

Which is probably a good thing to appease, right?

Mere hours now, minions. Mere hours. Tomorrow, I’ll probably be sore. But that’s what pharmaceuticals are for.

PS: It’s not the first time I was supposed to see Nick Cave, either. I’ve given tickets away before — got too ill to travel Stateside to see him in the Emerald City. At least no international borders are involved this time, and everyone gets to drink. Oh, and I’m not nearly dead from pneumonia like I was back then, either. Party on, Garth. Nothing’s preventing me tonight. Bring it on.

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