10 (!) years ago, the Grinderman debut album was released, a fantastic side-project by Nick Cave and, since then, regular comrade Warren Ellis. 5 years ago the last album was released.
Grinderman: the band
Grinderman was a rock band, made up of (The Bad Seeds members) Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Martyn P. Casey and Jim Sclavunos. The group was founded as a side-project for Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, and was originally to be called Mini Seeds. The name Grinderman was selected after Nick Cave sang Memphis Slim’s song Grinder Man Blues during rehearsals.
The debut album Grinderman was released in 2007, followed by Grinderman 2 in 2010. In March of 2012 the (for the time being) last album, Grinderman 2 RMX, containing Grinderman remixes, was released.
Both regular albums were met with great enthusiasm by press and audiences. After the tour, which followed the release of Grinderman 2, the project Grinderman was disbanded, to turn focus back to Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and the upcoming album Push The Sky Away. In between the two Grinderman albums, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds released the fabulous album Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, which was clearly influenced by the Grinderman project.
After the extensive Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds tour promoting Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus (number 8 in my top 50 album list), Nick Cave started writing songs on guitar. His rudimentary way of playing (Cave usually composes using a piano) produced material that was rawer and more direct than his now usual songs. Grinderman was created for experimenting with the new material. Within four days all songs for the debut album were recorded, completed with extra material, that was released through singles (B-sides). At the time of the release of the album (March 5th, 2007) reviews and comments were extremely positive, regularly referencing the band that made Cave a household name for the first time: The Birthday Party.
Rightfully so: the album is fantastic: hard, raw, energetic containing great songs, among which the hilarious No Pussy Blues. Since its release, I listen to this album on a regular basis.
- Get It On
- No Pussy Blues
- Electric Alice
- Depth Charge Ethel
- Go Tell the Women
- (I Don’t Need You To) Set Me Free
- Honey Bee (Let’s Fly to Mars)
- Man in the Moon
- When My Love Comes Down
- Love Bomb
Album Grinderman 2
The project Grinderman was temporarily on hold because of the release of the Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! in 2008. In interviews Cave stated that there would be a sequel to the Grinderman debut album and the approach to that album would be more serious. Commercial success was still not a factor. An extensive European tour was announced before the album was released. On September 13th, 2010 Grinderman 2 saw the light of day. This album was also enthusiastically received.
Also, rightfully so: this album is great too.
Songs Grinderman 2
- Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man
- Worm Tamer
- Heathen Child
- When My Baby Comes
- What I Know
- Palaces of Montezuma
- Bellringer Blues
Grinderman: the end
On December 11th, 2011, after playing a show in Victoria (Australia) Nick Cave, still on stage, announced the breakup of Grinderman: “that’s it for Grinderman. It’s over. We’ll maybe see you all in another ten years, when we’ll be even older and uglier”. On April 12th, 2013, a one-time only reunion was held at a concert at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California.
Album Grinderman 2 RMX
Released after the band had disbanded, on April 17th, 2012. No new songs were released, since the album contains remixes of Grinderman 2 songs. The collaborations look promising: Robert Fripp, Nick Zinner, Barry Adamson, Joshua Homme and UNKLE, among others. Unfortunately it hasn’t led to interesting music. This album is a disappointment. I listened to it and decided not to buy it. Maybe if it was an EP? By the way, adding RObert Fripp to a song usually works out for the best, so maybe it’s worth buying for that collaboration alone. But still…
Songs Grinderman 2 RMX
- Super Heathen Child (feat: Robert Fripp)
- Worm Tamer [A Place to Bury Strangers Remix]
- Bellringer Blues [Nick Zinner Remix]
- Hyper Worm Tamer (feat: UNKLE)
- Mickey Bloody Mouse [Joshua Homme Remix]
- When My Baby Comes (feat: Cat’s Eyes)
- Palaces of Montezuma [Barry Adamson Remix]
- Evil [Silver Alert Remix]
- When My Baby Comes [Sixtoes Remix]
- Heathen Child [Andrew Weatherall Remix]
- Evil [‘The Michael Cliffe House’ Remix]
- First Evil
Concensus on which album was the best, was never reached. Both albums have the same end-score on metacritic.com, a site that gathers reviews globally and presents the average. Both albums ended up with a 8.3 score (universal acclaim) based on the average of the official reviews. The userscore favors Grinderman, to which I concur.
The score for Grinderman 2 RMX is remarkably lower: 6.3 (generally favorable reviews). I concur to this also.
Grinderman was a great project by Nick Cave. The Birthday Party, The Bad Seeds, Grinderman: it seems as if Cave can do no wrong; making a bad album is not in the cards. More than that: the longer his career, the better he seems to become. Last year’s Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album, Skeleton Tree, is one of the best in his body of work.
Wat do you think of Grinderman? Or Nick Cave? Let me know!
Grinderman logo: mute.com
Grinderman image: exclaim.ca
Grinderman, No Pussy Blues lyrics & Grinderman 2 images: grinderman.com Grinderman – Grinderman 2 RMX image: pitchfork.com
Grinderman live image: outlawtorninchains.blogspot.com