GothCast Episode 22: The Birthday Party

It’s time to release the bats as we’re taking a look at The Birthday Party (As well as The Boys Next Door album Door, Door). The band is most famous for being fronted by singer Nick Cave, but also featured the talented Rowland Howard and Bad Seeds member Mick Harvey. While their sound is most often associated with post-punk as opposed to gothic rock, their experimentation and abrasiveness have influenced many who make music that relates to the darker sides of life.


6 thoughts on “GothCast Episode 22: The Birthday Party”

  1. The BP weren’t goth, ever. In fact, Release the Bats was a parody of the nascent goth scene, then referred to as “Bat Cave.” They identified with bands like The Pop Group and PiL circa Metal Box, and HATED being lumped in with the goth scene. In that light, they seem like an odd choice for your program. While I understand your reasoning to a certain extent, your reviews reveal exactly why the BP probably shouldn’t have been covered…


    1. We state in the review that The Birthday Party are not a goth band; however, there is an overwhelming love for Nick Cave in the gothic community. Furthermore, we have had numerous requests to cover Nick Cave material. We totally understand where you’re coming from; however, it would be a poor decision on our part to ignore Nick Cave’s presence in many goth music collections and to neglect what his role (or lack there of) is in the gothic community. If we were not to cover any band that is technically not goth, then there would be very few bands to cover at all, seeing as Bauhaus didn’t consider their music to be part of the gothic music scene, nor did The Sisters of Mercy. Robert Smith also denies accusations of The Cure’s music being gothic. Then there is the issue of industrial influence in gothic music (and the reverse). Should we not cover Skinny Puppy since they are an industrial band? (Even though numerous goth bands cite them as an influence, and you are likely to hear them playing in most goth clubs these days.) Not to mention whether Deathrock is its own scene or a subcategory of gothic music. Its always tough to decide which bands make the cut; however, we try to appeal to as wide of an audience as possible, and the fact is that many people in the gothic subculture listen to Nick Cave and The Birthday Party. We covered them for the same reason that we will probably do an episode on Joy Division or Depeche Mode. Are they goth? No. Do many fans of gothic music listen to them? Yes. Have they had an influence on the gothic subculture? Yes. From that standpoint, these bands are fair game to cover. However, not everyone is always going to agree. It is to be expected. We are sorry that this episode did not appeal to you, we hope that our others might.


  2. Goth musicians are like existential philosophers. None of the good ones ever admit that’s what they are. They’re also like the guy in Monty Python and the Life of Brian responding to ‘you’re all individuals’ with ‘I’m not….’


  3. Nick Cave is great; am glad you did a show on one of his earlier endeavors. I wouldn’t let whether a band is goth or not get in the way of you doing a show about them, or a show that includes them. You could do a show about marshmellows and still paint them black…


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