Ice & Sweat: Nick Cave & Die Haut

Photo by Leo Van Velzen

The above photo is  of Nick Cave & Die Haut performing at Pandora’s Music Box, 1983.  Just by chance, I found a live mp3 of Nick (who sounds off his arse) from that exact show, at Pandora’s, performing Stow-a-way. What a rare find!  BTW: Pandora’s has compiled a website archive for 1980s events so be sure and check it out.


‘Stow-a-Way’ – Die Haut and Nick Cave
Live at Pandora’s Music Box , 1983. (7.54 min)
Lineup: Christoph Dreher – Remo Park – Martin Peter – Thomas Wydler

‘Pleasure is the Boss’ -Nick Cave and Die Haut
CD: “Burning The Ice” (1983)
Lineup: Christoph Dreher – Remo Park – Martin Peter – Thomas Wydler

‘Just Dropped in To See What Condition My Condition Was In
Nick Cave and Die Haut
CD: “Headless Body in A Topless Bar” (1988)
Lineup: Christoph Dreher,Rainer Lingk, Jochen Arbeit,Thomas Wydler

‘Truck Love’ – Nick Cave and Die Haut
Lineup: Christoph Dreher,Rainer Lingk, Jochen Arbeit,Thomas Wydler
CD: “Sweat” (live @ Berlin, Metropol, 24/08/92)

‘Sad Dark Eyes’ – Nick Cave and Die Haut
Lineup: Christoph Dreher,Rainer Lingk, Jochen Arbeit,Thomas Wydler
CD: “Sweat”  (live @ Berlin, Metropol, 24/08/92)


This entry was posted in 1980s Era and tagged by Morgan Wolfe. Bookmark the permalink.

About Morgan Wolfe

I write contemporary LGBTQ fiction that explores the dark & light of human love and desire. Interests: Progressive politics, visual arts, vintage illustration, mid-century design. French films, Queer cinema. Literary quotes. J'adore Paris. Ich liebe Berlin.

One thought on “Ice & Sweat: Nick Cave & Die Haut

  1. See Lucky Psychic Hut’s Die Haut post (from July 2009)


    Dusted Magazine Jul. 26, 2004

    After abandoning the Old Testament riot act he laid down with the Birthday Party, but before redeeming himself in the obessive gospel carnival of the Bad Seeds, Nick Cave wrote and sang for Berlin’s grubby, galvanizing Die Haut. Four cathartic landmarks, along with three cerebral instrumentals, comprise 1982’s Burnin’ the Ice, now salvaged from the vaults and tacked with encyclopedic liner notes.

    While Die Haut wears the Birthday Party’s influence like a tattooed tear, it garnishes the thudding headfuck with a two-guitar cold-cock that would’ve upstaged any lesser frontman. Fortunately, Cave’s still howling here.

    “The Stowaway” hints at the campfire yarns he’d cook up down the road apiece (“My girl turned blue and an iceberg do / And I’m totally shipwrecked over her”). But he’d prefer to rant to the drizzly Euro skies (“And if I die tonight then throw me in / Some black Teutonic hole / Six feet under with a snap frozen soul / And really we could all just die of shame… Dumb Europe!”). One wonders what this moody Aussie’s hosts would’ve done to cheer him up had he not, at the end of the day, been given over to labor-intensive urban hedonism (“They’re working us like dogs ‘round here / ‘Cause pleasure is the boss”).

    Die Haut sodomizes organic new wave in much the way its heroes the Residents treated ’50s and ’60s kiddie fodder circa Third Reich and Roll. All that’s left is a wet gargle and a lacerating sneer. The rumbling strength behind the band’s cynical approach – sloppy, yes, but the Cave-less “Tokyo Express” reveals these guys as cold, complex brainiacs on par with Einsturzende Neubauten – makes it connect with rare brutality.

    For Cave fanatics who haven’t logged many hours with the Birthday Party (I meet a few new ones every month, it seems), Burnin’ the Ice might, as those records do at first brush, feel like perching in a tiny, packed under roaring train tracks. But as you come to realize each noise happens for a reason, the party comes alive. If nothing else, it’s a welcome reminder of the days when Nick Cave clearly wanted to scare us.

    By Emerson Dameron

    Album : Burnin’ The Ice
    *Remastered release: hit thing| cd htcd007 | 21/06/2004
    Documentary Evidence review

    Germany’s Die Haut (The Skin) have become linked inextricably with Nick Cave, not least because Die Haut’s drummer Thomas Wydler is perhaps better known as a Bad Seeds stalwart, while bassist / guitarist Cristoph Dreher went on to produce a number of promo videos for Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, including the memorable video for ‘The Mercy Seat’. Cave’s association with Die Haut arose from his fortuitous upping of sticks to the notably artistic Kreuzberg district of Berlin, a move which not only lead to this collaboration album, but also his creative links with Einstürzende Neubauten’s Blixa Bargeld (a Bad Seed until very recently) which lead to his post-Birthday Party group as well as the And The Ass Saw The Angel novel. It could also be the case that Cave drew inspiration from Die Haut’s image judging by the 1982 photos that adorn the lavish reissue of Burnin’ The Ice – the sharp, tailored suits favoured by Die Haut have become something of a Bad Seeds trademark over the years.

    Burnin’ The Ice was originally released in 1982, toward the end of The Birthday Party, and originally consisted of seven instrumental tracks by the band – the aforementioned Wydler and Dreher, along with guitarists Martin Peter and Remo Park. Cave wrote lyrics for four of the tracks. For this remaster, an enhanced video track has been added, as has a booklet containing some great photographs and detailed biographical information, all inside a glossy digipack case.

    ‘Stow-a-Way’ is a monolithic slice of turgid, viral rock driven onward by piercing snares, leaden guitars and a duel between Susanne Kuhnke’s propulsive bass synth and Dreher’s bass guitar. Cave supplies a punk vocal spanning the gap between his hollering on The Birthday Party’s latter material and his scarecrow blues tones on From Her To Eternity. In fact, the nautical theme of this track links directly to that album’s distraught ‘Cabin Fever’, except that the musicians remain on course rather than themselves being shipwrecked. ‘Tokyo Express’, an instrumental is a clever number wherein the instruments gather and accelerate tightly, evoking the mechanical motion of a train’s pistons and engine. The result is a Neubauten rhythmic precision finished with inchoate guitar squalls.

    ‘Truck Love’ is an erratic, messy track wherein Cave ambitiously tries to squeeze too many words into short lines, giving this track an improvised edge which the decaying, variable velocity of the instruments only exacerbates. ‘Fuck love / This is truck love’ runs the ‘chorus’, a typically manic Cave delivering those lines with malevolent glee. The curt, snare-driven ‘The Victory’ reminds me of Conny Plank’s motorik production on DAF’s debut, while blistering punk guitar lines are traded that occasionally evoke the edgy air made by Bruce Gilbert and Colin Newman on Wire’s Pink Flag.

    Nick Cave steps up again on ‘Pleasure Is The Boss’, a drilling punk number with a vocal that reminds me of Tender Prey’s ‘Sunday’s Slave’ – it’s a turgid ear-scraping punk blues given an urgency by thick bass and Wydler’s intense drumming. Cave singing a lyric that details the thrall of dark pleasures pretty much explains why Cave became an ambassador for young goths in the eighties. His wasted vocal on ‘Dumb Europe’, a sludgy, droning, feedback number is simultaneously reminiscent of terrace and national anthems, albeit largely mumbled and incoherent amidst the cacophanous and impenetrable wall of sound Die Haut hew from their instruments – the whiteout is heightened by crashing, tinnutus-inducing cymbals. Closing track, ‘This Flame Will Never Die’ is really little above demo quality, and barely over two minutes in length, and reminds me very much of early New Order.

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