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Friday, December 19, 2008

Nick Cave's put together his own festival line-up * a must read!

NICK Cave isn't backward about coming forward, and one of his pet hates is the line-up at festivals. So he's solved the problem, by creating his own.

Music fans have exhausted hours at house parties contemplating their fantasy festival line-up.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are the lucky blokes who get to live the dream as the curators of Australia's inaugural All Tomorrow's Parties festival.

Of course it's never as dreamy as it sounds. Budgets and availability can whittle that wish list down, but the final collection of acts will cater for both the curious and the converted alternative music fan.

Cave is satisfied that he and his bandmates "got really close" to making their fantasy a reality.

"There were some people we couldn't get, which was inevitable. But this is going to be good and certainly it isn't like anything anyone has seen (in Australia)."

Cave, Mick Harvey, Warren Ellis, Conway Savage, Martyn P. Casey, Thomas Wydler and Jim Sclavunos devised their hit list on the road in the US.

"We were on the bus for incredibly long hours each day. We literally had a sheet of paper, tossed names around to see which ones would stick between the lot of us," Cave says.

"That was amazing as it turned out because it was funny to see where each person was coming from."

Cave credits Harvey and the other Australian-based Seeds with having more to do with sourcing local acts to join the bill, which will travel to Mt Buller.

The 51-year-old musician isn't enamoured of the festival experience -- with the exception of All Tomorrow's Parties, an event he graced in Somerset, England, as a solo performer and with Grinderman last year.

That program was curated by the Dirty Three, who appear on the Australian tour.

But the festival's non-mainstream aesthetic and the absence of a VIP area are important points of difference for Cave.

"The idea of the All Tomorrow's Parties thing for us was to put together a festival -- or a set of concerts rather -- with a range of people you would never ever get a chance to see under the same roof.

"It is not designed around what are the biggest current bands of the day; it's about something completely different."

The completion of his curator duties comes as Cave enters a frenzy of creation.

A novel, a film score and a new Grinderman record are a few of his endeavours.

He reckons work keeps him out of trouble.

"It's kind of a wish to pull your head in now and then and remind myself, 'I am not f---ing Nick Cave here'," he says of his life at home with partner Susie Bick and twins Arthur and Earl.

Each day when not on tour, Cave suits up and heads to a nearby office to work.

"But I don't know why it's all coming now, I can't help it. There's just a lot of stuff pouring out at the moment. It keeps me out of mischief, from getting into any more fights with my neighbours. I'm kind of the neighbour from hell unless I'm working hard. I will get in everyone's face. Invariably my wife and kids will say, 'Isn't there a novel you could write?' or something like that and I'm happy to oblige."

The novel, The Death of Bunny Munro, will be released early next year and Cave insists it is nothing like his debut effort, And the Ass Saw the Angel.

"The novel is very different from what I normally do -- it's chick lit. You are going to love it."

The score has been written with Warren Ellis for the new John Hillcoat film The Road, adapted from the Cormac McCarthy novel.

"It always looks like it's going to be smooth sailing with films but it never is. It takes f---ing years," Cave says.

Cave doesn't expect to wait too long to realise one of his festival ambitions; if it happens it will be one hell of a supergroup.

"I have no idea what will happen but there will be extensive interaction between the bands. You have a wealth of artists you love and respect all in the same place, so it's bound to happen," he says.

"It's usually the opposite for us, where we are usually surrounded by bands we loathe.

"Generally the way a festival is put together, they take a more populist approach to the bill because they just want as many people to come along as possible. So generally we hate them and they hate us; it's always been the way.

"But we are excited to be with the people on All Tomorrow's Parties. Hopefully they won't hate us."

SEE Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Palace Theatre, Jan 6-7, $78,

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