Early Bad Seeds

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, San Francisco 1984, by Stanley Greene.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, 1984, San Francisco (by Stanley Greene)
L-R: Blixa Bargeld, Nick Cave, Hugo Race, Barry Adamson, Mick Harvey

Photographer Stanley Greene shot the above image at the Bad Seeds San Francisco gig, 18 June 1984.  Greene lived in Paris and Berlin during the mid-late 1980s, a self-described dilettante and heroin addict.  Fortuitously, Greene was in Berlin in November 1989 when the Wall came down. His photograph of the girl in a tutu with a champagne bottle was the beginning of his career in photojournalism.  Greene has since dedicated himself to the task of documenting images of human suffering in conflict zones around the world.

After San Francisco, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds play Pasadena, on June 22, documented in the Perkins Palace clip embedded below.  The following day, June 23, Henry Rollins accompanies Nick and Blixa to an in-store event at  Zed Records, in Long Beach.  

In his Black Flag tour diary, Get in the Van, Henry Rollins writes:

Get in the Van (2nd Edition) by Henry Rollins6.23.84 Long Beach CA:  I go to the Tropicana Hotel to find Nick Cave …  So I show up at the room and it looks like a tornado has been through there — clothes, a few girls are passed out on the bed.  And then there’s Nick and Blixa.  They look like they haven’t slept yet.  Blixa must live in those leather clothes because they sure smell ripe… So now we’re at Zed Records [and] people are making assholes of themselves trying to get to [Nick and Blixa].

6.24.84 At Marcy’s [additional details from the following day’s entry]

The in-store finishes and I’m in charge of getting the two boys into [Marcy’s] car and getting them back to the hotel.  I see Nick in the back of a carload of scummy people.  He looks at me through the window and waves weakly.  Someone tells me that he went with those people because they have drugs or something.  So okay, I’ve still got Blixa who is now drunk.  We get into the car and we are going fast … Blixa sees an oil pump and touches the window and says, “Umm nice.”  Then he says he has to take a piss right now, pull over.  The girl says she will when it looks good to do so. Blixa says that he is a human organism and he must urinate now and calls her a bitch.  He grabs the steering wheel and shoves it hard.  The car lurches over two lanes.  Cars beep and hit their brakes all around us. I ask him what his fucking problem is.  Blixa says, “What is the matter?  It is not you that would have been killed.”  He says that he is going to take the piss now and opens the door to get out.  Whoops.  The car is going about 60 mph.  I grab him and pin him to the seat until we pull into a gas station. He says nothing all the rest of the way.

We take some of the Bad Seeds to the Music Machine to see the Gun Club play… They did a good version of ‘Walking with the Beast’.  Blixa is falling down at this point and I am holding him up.  He starts waltzing with me.  It was great.  I haven’t slow-danced since 8th grade (pp 100-101).

NOTEGet in the Van is now in its 2nd Edition.  I recommend it to those who enjoy tour diaries and behind the scenes accounts of the punk underground.  Rollins makes multiple references to his meetings with Nick Cave and Blixa Bargeld during the 1980s.  A good read.

NOTE: Although the footage from the June 22nd Pasadena show is no longer online, here is some pre-show footage from Columbus, on 27 June 1984.

Nick & Blixa Interview – Stache’s, Columbus OH, 27 June 1984 (Pt 1)

Nick & Blixa Interview – Stache’s, Columbus OH, 27 June 1984 (Pt2)

Related posts at Nick Cave Fixes:



5 thoughts on “Early Bad Seeds

  1. Henry is a great storyteller, agreed. I love this picture. Blixa is so completely trashed – and that is why the anecdote works so well. And Mick’s glare, Nick’s world-weary disgust, Barry’s ru fer-real stare. Perfect next to Hugo Race’s pale baby face.

    Wonderful to see this Stanley Greene photograph — such an honor to be his subject. Amazing how these people’s lives intersected. We really should invent a version of ‘Six Degrees of Nick Cave’ although I think it’s more like two or three degrees these days.

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