Mick Harvey, who has been something like a right-hand man to Nick Cave ever since the pre-Birthday Party band the Boys Next Door, is leaving the Bad Seeds, as Australia's Liveguide reports. His departure marks the end of a musical partnership with Cave that has stretched over two decades.
Harvey has released a few solo albums over the last few years, and given his reduced involvement on the Bad Seeds' latest record (he only performed on half the tracks), this is a disappointing -- but not terribly surprising -- move.
While Harvey has only said that his departure is due to a "variety of personal and professional reasons," it's not hard to think that this decision is rather similar to Blixa Bargeld's in 2003; Bargeld left after recording Nocturama
due to his marginalization in the songwriting process (after many years of collaboration, on that album Cave just wrote the songs on his piano and gave Warren Ellis the focus) ... given that Cave's passions now seem focused towards his Grinderman project (and Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
felt like Grinderman with more restrained songwriting), I can't say I blame Harvey for wanting to get out.
It's a shame, though. I had tickets to see the band in Chicago last September, for their first show in five and a half years there. I had to miss because of work obligations.