While Nick Cave's music has evolved from the harrowing post-punk wail of the Birthday Party to the eloquent and often poetic approach he explored on the albums The Boatman's Call and No More Shall We Part with his group the Bad Seeds, the troublemaking noise merchant of his youth has never entirely gone away, and in 2006 Cave founded Grinderman to give this side of his musical personality a new outlet.
Grinderman came to be when Cave was writing material in 2004 for his acclaimed album Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus. Tired of writing in his office at home and then presenting the material to the Bad Seeds, Cave decided to try a new approach by teaming up with bandmembers Martyn Casey on bass, Warren Ellis on violin and guitar, and Jim Sclavunos on drums and working up songs as a group. With Cave improvising lyrics and playing guitar while his bandmates built melodies around them, the musicians began veering off into more experimental territory. Whipping up a potent dose of elemental music rooted in blues, punk, and no wave, the foursome created something wholly separate from the Bad Seeds, with an energy and emotional fury that pointed to the path-breaking music of their pasts while belying the maturity of the participants. Cave and his partners decided to give the new music an identity of its own, and Grinderman was born. In February 2006, the band went into a studio in London and began a marathon session of writing and demoing material; the following April, they took the cream of these new songs and recorded an album with the help of producer Nick Launay. The first Grinderman tune, "No Pussy Blues," was released to the Internet in the fall of 2006; a limited-edition vinyl single of "Get It On" was issued in February 2007, with Grinderman's 11-song debut album following that spring. The band played a select number of dates to promote the album, which was critically as well as commercially successful. The quartet reconvened in 2009 to record Grinderman 2, which was released in 2010. In December of 2011, Cave announced the band's breakup at a music festival in Australia. Grinderman 2 RMX, collection of remixes from their second album, was released in the spring of 2012. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi