Great Reading: Stranger Than Kindness by Nick Cave + whole NC bookshelf!

Warning this Wednesday morning: this is a really and I mean really very, very, very long post! The next music book I’ve gotta type something about is very brand new NC one! It show-up the day after my b’day and I’ve finished it over Easter weekend and I just got out all my NC books, this now numbers fifteen on my bookshelf which isn’t a shelf but they’re just pile up on my old desk! The question has to be asked tooo start with? Does anyone in their right mind really need 15 books just about/by Mr. Nickolas Cave? Well, most likely NOT is the very quick answer but these are just the ones I’ve called the keepers for some reasons, I’ll try explain today? They’re couple or more I’ve dropped off to op shops over the years tooo, you know?

As well, I’ve also pre-order his newest revised/updated lyric book which was suppose to be coming at the end of this month but looks like it’s going a bit later this year in June, linked here if you need/want one tooo? So I guess, he’s most likely my fave singer-songwriter of all-time so you just have to got totally overboard bat-shit crazy when it’s your fave! Here’s all the keepers in my opinion, if you need more NC books, some would be very hard and some would be easy to find, I think? Or do you already have all these or even bloody more?

Painting of NC by his ex-gf Anita Lane, one of new to me things in this Stranger Than Kindness book, the painting entitled Horn of Plenty.

Happy Birthday by The Birthday Party (1980)

King Ink by Cave himself: his very first lyric book which when I was 18 going to my very first Bad Seeds gig I got it sign by him! Off course, that makes it my own fave of all my books by him. Albums covered are Prayers on Fire of 1981 to Your Funeral… My Trial of 1986 plus The Mercy Seat is the very last song here and then unreleased songs were God’s Hotel and Crow Jane, plus the never used The Million Dollar Hands of Roberto Duran song, black & white reproductions of his drafted lyrics are first included here which none were in his later books these are: Scum dated Easter 1986, Blue Weeds very early draft of what would later be Sad Waters, Sunday’s Slave which later on 1988’s Tender Prey album, Crooked River later Saint Hunk of 1984, Untitled non-used lyrics which looks like a very early murder ballad, 1984 dated but never released/recorded When The Sun Goes Down, something titled Necropolis Ho! two more drafts of Sad Waters closer to final version, The Carny, Hard-On For Love, Your Funeral… My Trial also some story boards of idea for video clip for Your Funeral… My Trial too. Also included in King Ink is nine one act plays which five were co-written with Lydia Lunch, five act play called Salome, long-form poem called H.M.S. Britain 1982, Blind Lemon Jefferson which was edit down into the song of the same name based on the old blues master, Thistles In The Souls is three pages of how much Cave loves Einstürzende Neubauten and with song title index it’s 193 pages long.

Stranger Than Kindness by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (1986)

And The Ass Saw The Angel by Cave himself: His debut novel which would be my second fave book of his and easy by far his best novel, do I need to say anymore? Maybe, if you’ve not read it yet, it could be a great time to read it? I think, I might even re-read it myself right now! My copy I’ve got is 312 pages long.

Fish In A Barrel: the first photo book which all were taken by Peter Milne and intro by Cave signed London, 1993. All black & white photos of Japan tour, mixing Henry’s Dream in Melbourne, Europe tour and then Aussie tour which is the Big Day Out fest with Iggy Pop, Sonic Youth etc. Peter interviews Nick at the end too, pretty cool but god knows the last time I looked at it? No page numbers at all!

Papa Won’t Leave You, Henry by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (1992)

King Ink II by Cave: second lyric book. Albums covered is Tender Prey of 1988 to The Boatman’s Call of 1997 plus his essay The Flesh Made Word of 1996. A treatment for a short film of the song King Kong Kithee Kichee Ki-Mi-O which was a B-side of Murder Ballads, more black & white reproductions of his drafted lyrics like the first King Ink with Red Right Hand, Loverman, Time Jesum Transeuntum Et Non Riverentum, Black Hair, Sheep May Safely Graze. A whole pile of random lists and his first appears of his naked woman doodles, as they’re called in the brand new book. Un-used lyrics are Your Wayward Eyes, You Can’t Nail A Good Man Down, I Miss You More Than Words Can Tell, Cupid Eros, Sugar Boy, Wife, maybe a couple more Untitled I’ll called them, his religion’s collages also first appear in this book. With song title index it’s 183 pages long and still pretty cool book!

Mojo by Nick Cave (1998, rare solo track from soundtrack album of the same name but co-written with Tim Friese-Greene of English band Talk Talk who plays the music)

The Gospel According to Mark with an intro by Cave: which I didn’t even count this one in the 15 at the top of this post, six page intro for tiny pocket size story of the King James Bible. It’s 50 page long overall, maybe not that essential because Nick almost never shuts up about the bible and his love for it!

The Life and Music of Nick Cave, An Illustrated Biography by Maximilian Dax & Johannes Beck: a 1999 bio photo book, in my opinion the first really great bio because it’s coffee table size, a lot of very rare photo even his drawings that couldn’t be found anywhere else at the time, even looking online for some right now, I can’t find them anywhere? The couple of German writers translated into English in my copy were I think much better than, sorry to say the official bio book by Ian Johnston. Full photo credits and at this point complete discography at 175 pages, still wicked great book!

The Sorrowful Wife by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (2001)

Kicking Against The Pricks, An Armchair Guide to Nick Cave by Amy Hanson: 2005 book of everything NC recorded up to this point, that’s just after Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus album including all the rare stuff I was looking for at this point or before so it was very handy! Starting in 1978, rare stuff is all out-takes of sessions, radio appears some bootleg recordings, over the top details about each year with black & white photos of album covers and the man himself etc. Appendix three is Bad Seeds members projects but this is not as completed as the main man’s. I loved this one at the time but once again, god knows the last time I looked at it? It’s 177 pages long!

The Complete Lyrics 1978-2007 by Cave: which is sooooooooo out of date, I’ve pre-ordered his new one. My copy I spilled coffee all over, so the pages are pretty yellow now and even it’s not the oldest it’s in the worst shape of all these books. Foreword by English novelist Will Self and Cave’s Secret Life Of the Love Song essay starts this one, going from Birthday Party’s Prayers On Fire of 1981 to Grinderman’s self-titled 2007 album including some early lyrics so going back to 78, I guess? Some B-sides are following the album’s songs but some are after the wrong albums, if you really wanna know? Index of song titles and first lines, it’s 460 pages long.

We Call Upon The Author by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (2008)

Nick Cave Stories: tie-in book with the traveling Aussie Exhibition of 2008 by the Art Centre of Melbourne with foreword by James Fox and told in four parts by Janine Barrand. This includes much more writing by NC himself that in the brand new book, if really want to know or not? It’s like on half-pages and pink paper with titled: The story of… handwritten dictionary of words, Saint Jude patron saint of despair, the Weather Diaries, Sacred and Profane notebook, Sacred heart of Jesus bust, Tony Clark’s painting (for the cover of the first best of comp album), the baboons and the hyenas and the moose (depression), the Kylie bag, receiving Mick Geyer book library and music collection (after his life-long friend passed away), collecting Louis Wain ‘the man who loved cats’ paintings etc. The lyrics/drafts are in full color reproductions now but are much smaller because of the size of this book so you really can’t see his terrible-bad hand writing as good as you can in the brand new book. Some but not all the stuff is repeated, ending around the time of 1st Grinderman album again. I still like or even love it but I guess, with this much bigger new one now this might not be as so essential but I’m still keeping it, anyway it’s 143 pages long.

Cultural Seeds, Essays on the work of Nick Cave: Published in 2009 just after that exhibition closed at Perth museum. The book title says it all, it’s a whole pile of different writers writing essays about him and I guess, in the end some were far better than others but not a bad book! Dig, Lazarus, Dig album had just been released so it ends at that point but really doesn’t go into much detail about that one. My fave essay is the last one called The Moose by Tanya Dalziell who’s one of the two editors, the other is Karen Welberry and with index by subject, it’s 216 pages long.

When My Baby Comes by Grinderman (2010)

The Death Of Bunny Munro by NC: his second novel of 2009 is really NOT very good/great as his first one and at times pointless and today would it be really bad of me? If I called it the worst thing NC ever put his name on over his very long career! I guess, everything can’t be amazing great? I would even say don’t bother too read it, if you haven’t? You’re not missing much other than some terrible one liner jokes and every line finish with or something which thinking about that now, I do that a lot myself!

Sinner Saint, The True Confessions: re-printing mainly old English interviews into a whole book which was edited by Mat Snow, who in 1986 Nick Cave wrote a song called Scum in part about him. It’s does have something from almost 30 years, by 2011 when this was published that’s just after Grinderman 2 album but I remember some great Aussie interviews really should have been used but who knows? Maybe, this is only the very first interview book pub-ed, surprising it’s still the only one as far as I know? No index in my copy but it’s 238 pages long.

Mermaids by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (2013)

The Sick Bag Song by Cave again: redeeming himself in book form, after see two up! Cave himself says in this brand new book, quote “The Sick Bag Song is the best thing I ever did, as far as I’m concerned” but I’m putting it in third place in my own top three NC books so still very highly reco but this and Ass/Angel novel I’ve re-read countless times! Published in 2015 and my copy is 161 pages long.

Mercy On Me by Reinhard Kleist: Only the second bio in my non-bookshelf, another by a German and I would call it, the other great one! It’s a graphic novel or that’s just a comic book of Cave life but it’s so well done so I do loved it so much, highly reco again. Published in 2017 but ends with Push The Sky Away album of 2013, it’s 322 pages long.

Anthrocene by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (2016)

Lovely Creatures: book in deluxe edition you got with best of comp album of 2017 but I’m counting it today in my list because: 1) it included even more photos some more rare ones. 2) a few more essay type things, couple are edited down from that Cultural Seeds book. My fave here are by Larry “Ratso” Sloman called Raising Lazarus which is just interviews with Bad Seeds members about that 2008 album and then the dairy like journal by artists/film-makers Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard about making the Push The Sky Away album. It’s 256 pages long.

Spinning Song by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (2019)

      Stranger Than Kindness: book of 2020, supposed to go with a new exhibition in Copenhagen, Denmark but now postponed like everything in the world because of C-19. It’s huge hardback that weights a ton with mainly glossy reproductions of his drafts/notebooks of his lyrics, hand-made religion’s collages/books of 80’s, one very funny self-portrait nude, naked women doodles, weather dairies of early 2000’s, bits from all three of his novels/books plus things he’s collected over the years like: Louis Wain’s cat paintings, marble Jesus bust, Kylie Minogue bag, his old typewriter also photos of very young Colin & Dawn Cave, his father and mother etc. I guess, his lyric’s drafts are the most interesting thing to me and here we get more from both Push The Sky Away and Skeleton Tree albums but only one song from the Ghosteen album but the reason is, he tells us the Ghosteen notebook has gone missing or lost, maybe it’s a ghost-notebook? The albums’ opening song Spinning Song dates back to 2014 so is in an early notebook. Three still unrecorded/unreleased set of words are also featured: Baboon Rising, Decoration Day and Kissed Of The Spiderwoman which that last one he’s posted on his website/blog Red Hand Files last year, linked here. Brand new essay by American author Darcey Steinke, very short intro by NC plus end-notes about everything included in it. All 10 songs I’ve embedded above are featured as his drafts, handwritten lyrics in this brand new book, should I have just listed all of the tracks? Because it’s very interesting selection! It’s 275 pages long, very highly reco too!

BTW know of one more coming soon book about Cave, all about his Murder Ballads album of 1996. Isn’t out until Nov. 2020 but the pocket book series called 33 1/3 are finally doing one about him it’s by American journalist Santi Elijah Holley, linked here.

This what this brand book looks like!

That’s my not short, very long sum-up on all my NC books, I still have! So do you have any or what’s your fave NC book/s then?

Cheers! 🙂



    1. Oh well, i think my copy was something close to $100 Aussie but it’s worth it, then again I’m a total nutcase for his stuff! If and when you do get it, please let me know what you think? 🙂


  1. William, you’ve just written the definitive Nick Cave book guide. I still have’nt read my copy of Angel and the Ass. Reading Philip Pullman’s La Belle Sauvage this morning. Epic!—— Original Message —— On Wednesday, 15 Apr, 2020 At 02:15, a1000mistakes wrote: William posted: “Warning this Wednesday morning: this is a really and I mean really very, very, very long post! The next music book I’ve gotta type something about is very brand new NC one! It show-up the day after my b’day and I’ve finished it over Easter weekend and I j”

    Liked by 1 person

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