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Artist Info

Birthday Party

Powered by Audioscrobbler™The Birthday Party (originally known as The Boys Next Door) were an Australian rock band, active from 1973 to 1983.

Despite being championed by John Peel, The Birthday Party found little commercial success during their career. Though often indirect, their influence has been far-reaching, and have been called one of "the darkest and most challenging post-punk groups to emerge in the early '80s."[3] Their music was classified by critic Simon Reynolds as gothic rock.[1] In his lyrics, Nick Cave combined "sacred and profane" things,[1] using old testament imagery,[1] with stories about sin, curses and damnation.[1] Their 1981 single "Release the Bats" was particularly influential in the gothic scene.[1]

Despite their limited commercial success, the creative core of the Birthday Party have gone on to acclaimed careers: singer and songwriter Nick Cave, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Mick Harvey, and singer, songwriter and guitarist Rowland S. Howard.

Final years (1982–1983)For the Party, things had changed. Calvert was ejected in 1982; he was reportedly "unable to nail down the beats for 'Dead Joe' to everyone's satisfaction",[9] and Harvey moved to drums. When Pew was jailed for drunk driving and petty theft early in 1982, Chris Walsh, Barry Adamson and Howard's brother Harry replaced him for live appearances and brief studio work. Pew rejoined the band in July.

The Mutiny EP contained lyrics evoking blasphemy, words which were as dark as the gothic poems of Lautréamont.[1] The title track portrayed a dirty heaven with rats and trash.[1]

In 1982 a spin-off group with Lydia Lunch, Honeymoon In Red, recorded an album which was eventually released in 1987. Harvey and Cave were reportedly so unhappy with the mixing and overdubbing done after their involvement that they requested their names be withheld from its liner notes. Howard and Pew apparently had no objections to being credited by name.

A tour in January 1983 found the group return to a five-piece, with Jeffrey Wegener playing drums and Harvey returning to second guitar. Wegener did not remain with the group, however, and they returned to a four-piece soon after. Later this year, Blixa Bargeld from the German band Einstürzende Neubauten played guitar on the track "Mutiny in Heaven". Tension between Cave and Howard soon came to a head, but it was Harvey who first left the group – their final tour saw Des Hefner on drums. The Birthday Party disbanded in late 1983, due in part to the split between Cave and Howard, as well as work and drug-related exhaustion.

[edit] Post-breakup, legacy and influenceSeveral groups rose from the Birthday Party's ashes: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (featuring Cave, Harvey, Adamson, Bargeld and briefly Pew), Crime and the City Solution (featuring Harvey and Howard, later just Harvey) and These Immortal Souls (featuring Howard).

Pew died from injuries caused by an epileptic seizure in 1986.

Due in part to their legendary status and to the continuing success of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Birthday Party's back catalogue has been re-released on CD several times. In recent years Mick Harvey has overseen releases of rare or previously unissued recordings.


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