Nick Cave and his band "The Bad Seeds" appeared in "Wings of Desire", an exquisitely beautiful German film by Wim Wenders.
Nick Cave also created and performed one of the most revved up and demented-- and hilarious-- criminal mind songs ever called "The Curse of Millhaven", which features these fabulous lines:
Now I got shrinks that will not rest with their endless Rorschach tests
I keep telling them
I think they're out to get me
They ask me if I feel remorse
and I answer, "Why of course!
There is so much more
I could have done
if they'd let me!"
So it's Rorschach and Prozac
and everything is groovy
"I'm Your Fan" also features the definitive cover of "Hallelujah", for my money, but if you liked Rufus Wainwright's or K.D. Lang's versions, you might not like this one.
It's a quiet, humble little performance by John Cale accompanying himself on the piano. Why oh why oh why do so many so-called artists approach this song with the attitude of, "well, let's see how many people I can blow away with my soaring rendition of this esteemed song!"
It's not that kind of song. It's a song that is demeaned and embarrassed by a soaring, virtuoso performance. "It's not a cry you can hear at night/ it's not somebody who's seen the light/ it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah".
Unfortunately, I can't trace the origin of this story, but here it is: Nick Cave was asked to do a cut for the 1991 Cohen Tribute album "I'm Your Fan". But he didn't want to. But he loved Leonard Cohen, so he had to.
This is not the same as the more mainstream tribute 1995 album "Tower of Song", which featured some regrettable and embarrassing choices (Don Henley singing "Everybody Knows", Elton John butchering "I'm Your Man", Billy Joel singing "Light as a Breeze". Now that I mention it-- how can any album with a Don Henley cut on it be a tribute to anything?)
Where was I? Oh yes-- Nick Cave did not like tribute albums. He thought they were tacky and tasteless and, you know, Don Henleyesque. But he loved Leonard Cohen. So he showed up at the studio and then took his band to a bar across the street and got everybody totally smashed and then came back into the studio and worked up "Tower of Song". Apparently, he did several versions and the engineers later patched them altogether.
I was not impressed, the first time I heard it. Or the second or third. It was there in the middle of an album that I enjoyed very much, otherwise. And then a funny thing happened. The first I remember of it was this: I began listening for the belch. Yes, about 2/3's of the way through Nick Cave's cover of "Tower Song", he lets go one very loud, ornery, rude belch. Then I began to listen more carefully to this whacked out pastiche of bizarre interpretations-- one minute he's Elvis, the next he's Hank Williams, then Heavy Metal, then Lou Reed...
It's really quite charming. It's simultaneously off-putting and embracing, passionate and excoriating. It's a throw-back to Cohen himself, in his old "Dress Rehearsal Rag" days. It's a paean to pure unbridled passion and spirit and despair, and a great party song.