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The birth of Grinderman

Posted by Team VGB on


Formed in London 2006, Grinderman was a side project of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. The band was created when Nick Cave was writing some material for The Bad Seeds, but chose to write with a guitar instead of going to the piano, which was a key element to a lot of the recent Bad Seeds albums.  What Nick began to write was much more raw  and straight forward, dirty rock 'n' roll sounding, which was reminiscent of earlier Bad Seeds material, but this didn’t quite work for The Bad Seeds current form, so he and a few other members of the band (Warren Ellis, Jim Sclavunos and Martyn Casey) decided to pursue this material under a different name, to escape the pressure and pre-conceived expectations of what The Bad Seeds should sound like - and so Grinderman was born.

The result was the 2007 self-titled album, which a was a blues inspired noisy rock ‘n’ roll album with no holds barred. This was a huge fan pleaser due to the somewhat nostalgic feeling of Nick Cave letting loose over some noisy jams, which reminded fans of his first band 'The Birthday Party' and the noisy post-punk jams of the early Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds albums. 

The band toured for a few years and became quite an active side project, while the Bad Seeds took a backseat and tried to find their feet again. What drew people in quite quickly was the nostalgic, unpredictable chaos that Nick Cave became synonomous with, with his first band The Birthday Party.

Grinderman only made one more album called Grinderman 2. Released in 2010, it was even more experimental and was described by guitarist Warren Ellis as “very diverse” and “psychedelic” with elements of stoner rock which is exactly what it was - and it was brilliant!

Unfortunately, at the end of a festival the band played, they announced the indefinite end of Grinderman, with Nick ending the show by saying: “We'll maybe see you all in another ten years, when we'll be even older and uglier", which was a massive cliff hanger for fans as they had just become comfortable with the beast that was Grinderman, but I personally think that it was good that they didn’t drag it out and drain the life out of something special. Maybe it was an itch they needed to scratch and once it was scratched they wanted to just move on, and I am somewhat glad they did because the Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds albums that followed the demise of Grinderman were some of their best yet and are now some of my all-time favourites.

Grinderman did perform a one off show in 2013 at the California based Coachella Festival, which gave fans one last opportunity to endure the onslaught Grinderman unleashed every time they played.

It’s really hard to find much information about the gear Grinderman used - especially that of Mr Cave, but there was something very satisfying about seeing the iconic Nick Cave behind a Fender Stratocaster blasting out some chaotic bluesy rock ‘n’ roll, which definitely struck a chord with gear nerds and fans alike.

Equipment used by Grinderman 










Nick Cave
Nick Cave playing his black Fender Strat

Nick used a variety of Fender guitars including a black Strat, sunburst Strat and a selection of Telecasters.

Warren Ellis
Warren, who is known for his violin work in The Bad Seeds and his other instrumental project The Dirty Three, switches between his Squier Classic Vibe, Duo Sonic and violin, but has also been known to use a Fender Mustang. He also has a signature guitar through Eastwood Guitars.

Martyn Casey

Martin, the bass player of The Bad Seeds exclusively uses his Fender Precision Bass and a Fender Jazz Bass. Both basses he seems to have used his whole career in music.

About the blogger Sam Saljooghi
Coming from Brisbane, Australia, Sam is a guitarist of 14 years with many years of playing in bands behind him. He has also been a professional sound engineer for over 5 years. Sam specialises in the more experimental and avant-garde fields of music and guitar playing and loves exploring new ways of creating sounds with his guitar, pedals and amps.

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