Nick Cave has taken to his website to reflect upon the breakup of his relationship with PJ Harvey back in the ’90s.
Back in 1996, Nick Cave and PJ Harvey teamed up to record ‘Henry Lee’, a rendition of a traditional folk song that featured on Cave’s 1996 album, Murder Ballads.
As the story goes, the pair soon became deeply in love while filming the music video, and embarked upon a highly-publicised, yet all-too-brief relationship. Before long, they were something of an iconic musical pairing, defining the era with their striking appearance and high-profile nature.
While the love between the pair soon burned out, many were left to wonder what went wrong between the two. Now, in a new post on his Red Hand Files website, Nick Cave has discussed the dissolution of their relationship to a fan who asked why he ‘gave up’ on PJ Harvey.
“The truth of the matter is that I didn’t give up on PJ Harvey, PJ Harvey gave up on me,” Cave explained. “There I am, sitting on the floor of my flat in Notting Hill, sun streaming through the window (maybe), feeling good, with a talented and beautiful young singer for a girlfriend, when the phone rings. I pick up the phone and it’s Polly”
“I was so surprised I almost dropped my syringe,” he added, noting that while “drugs might have been a problem between us”, he believed that they each had their own issues which could not be addressed while together.
“I think at the end of the day it came down to the fact that we were both fiercely creative people, each too self-absorbed to ever be able to inhabit the same space in any truly meaningful way,” Cave explained.
“We were like two lost matching suitcases, on a carousel going nowhere.”
Check out ‘Henry Lee’ by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and PJ Harvey:
Despite their breakup, Nick Cave explained that the end of their relationship inspired him to dive headfirst into the completion of his next album, which ultimately received critical acclaim across the board.
“I remember our time together with great fondness though, they were happy days, and the phone call hurt; but never one to waste a good crisis, I set about completing The Boatman’s Call,” Cave recalled.
“The Boatman’s Call cured me of Polly Harvey. It also changed the way I made music. The record was an artistic rupture in itself, to which I owe a great debt.
“It was a growth spurt that pushed me in a direction and style of songwriting that has remained with me ever since – albeit in different guises.”
In related news, Nick Cave has hinted at a third album with Grinderman, while also revealing that he has some unreleased music with the Flatbush Zombies up his sleeve.