For his part, Harvey, in a 2012 Quietus interview, the multi-instrumentalist was agnostic about how much internal or external difficulties came into play, saying, “It’s impossible to assess how much point the music was due to living in difficult circumstances. and their reaction. That said, Birthday Party’s overall psychodrama was likely part of what drove the band’s previous tropes of rockabilly maximalism and the hunter’s night black rural even further dump. Producer Nick Launay, who recorded “Blast Off” and “Release the Bats” – two songs that weren’t on the original album but were included on a reissued CD version –described in Quietus how Harvey and Rowland tormented their singer by making him redo a particularly arduous verse over and over again, less to get it right than to vent his distress. At dumpThe one quiet moment in “Several Sins,” a pensive, boom-swagger-boom blues walk written by Howard and his brother, the band gives Cave a break. Although Cave later expresses his discomfort at singing lyrics that aren’t his own, he doesn’t seem detached from the abstractly murderous apology of “Several Sins”. He looks sad and exhausted by everything.
Or maybe not. The Birthday Party belonged to the post-punk school which avoided outright confessionalism in their lyrics. Cave’s strength has always been his ability to convey lyrics as abstract as “Dim Locator”, as elliptical as “She’s Hit” and as whimsical and fantastic as “6” Gold Blade”, as if telling the most stories never told. from the pulpit, from a Broadway stage or from the gallows. The stories are perhaps too grotesque to be taken at face value. Tied as they are to the rest of the band’s dramatic instincts, the Nor can stories be reduced to mere elliptical abstractions, fantastically murderous ways of saying, “heroine, amirite?”
Even if punk made a big deal about the absence of gods, masters, heroes; though the British press briefly denounced the Birthday Party for not being as polished as Paul Weller of Jam’s; even though, after two decades, the American press wouldn’t have really embraced Nick Cave until enough bad things happened to him that he gave up the hoodoo jive of “archetypes” and “metaphors” and gives critics the transcripts of trauma which is the only art that many American critics understand; even with all that, Birthday Parties have become a myth. Not a lot, mind you, like Jesus or the Velvet Underground. But big enough that it’s hard to think about without a pack of vampires showing up at his mental doorstep, holding a hypodermic needle in one hand and the Collected Stories of William Faulkner in the other, scratching the screen, begging for an invitation to enter.
This mythology was realized in part because goth-rock loves its own past as much as any subculture. It was made in part by the gravitational pull of the Cave quarry. And that was achieved in part from the band’s own vision; the dragging of white blues into different territories of urban mud, the violent spectacle of their live shows, the music’s sheer insistence that it be part of the traditions of killer ballad, glam post-Stooges and neo-deconstructed rockabilly. In a 1982 NME interview, Andrew Eldritch, the lead singer of Sisters of Mercy, said: “There was one big heavy metal band and that was the Stooges, and there’s only two bands that can touch them and that’s Motörhead and the Birthday Party.”
The Birthday Party reportedly, after kicking Calvert out, released two more four-piece EPs. Both would be works of staggering beauty and both would be torn apart by the British press. In 1984, Cave would, in a cosmic nod to early hyperbole, be well on his way to becoming his own naughty version of Stevie Nicks, then Leonard Cohen, then Nick Cave again, and finally he would assume his current role as man with a few important things to say. Mick Harvey was going to co-form the Bad Seeds and make a host of frankly delicious records in homage to Serge Gainsbourg. Anita Lane would make some fine solo albums but would be viewed misogynistically as a muse. Pew would die of an epileptic fit in 1985, Calvert would play the blues, and Rowland S. Howard would do a rich and devastating body of work with Lydia Lunch, These Immortal Souls, and finally a solo, which few people would pay attention to until after. . his death.
As of this writing, the hair of everyone involved is, in this world or the next, still great.