Nick Cave Honors Late Birthday Party/Bad Seeds Member Anita Lane - Rolling Stone
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Nick Cave Pays Tribute to Anita Lane: ‘The Smartest and Most Talented of All of Us’

“How could something so luminous carry so much darkness?” Cave writes of singer-songwriter who wrote tracks for the Bad Seeds and the Birthday Party

Australian musician Nick Cave performs with The Bad Seeds on stage during the concert at the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland, Sunday Nov. 12, 2017. (Ennio Leanza/Keystone via AP)

Nick Cave

Ennio Leanza/Keystone/AP Images

Nick Cave described Anita Lane — the late singer-songwriter who worked extensively with the Birthday Party and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds — as “the smartest and most talented of all of us, by far,” in a tribute shared on his “Red Hand Files” site. Lane’s death was announced Wednesday, April 28th, though a cause and exact date of death have yet to be revealed.

“You think you know grief, you think you’ve worked out its mechanics, you think you’ve become grief-savvy — stronger, wiser, more resilient — you think that there is nothing more that can hurt you in this world, and then Anita dies,” Cave wrote.

He went on to share several memories of Lane, describing her as “radiating a piercing beauty of such force you stop breathing” and saying, as an artist, “she had a quickness of touch and a clear, light line full of humor,” but was always willing to toss a drawing away and start on the next. He later claimed that Lane “walked into the most prestigious art college in Australia — on a whim — and talked her way into being given a place there. Bought an easel, some butcher’s paper, some crayons, put on a dress, did her hair and never went back in.”

As a musician, Cave said Lane was incredibly in-demand, but hard to pin down. While fellow Bad Seeds/Birthday Party member Mick Harvey managed to get her into the studio on a handful of occasions, Cave said, “these precious offerings are a fraction of what she was.”

“She was the brains behind The Birthday Party, wrote a bunch of their songs, wrote ‘From Her to Eternity’, ‘The World’s a Girl’, ’Sugar in a Hurricane’ and my favorite Bad Seeds song, ‘Stranger Than Kindness’, but was much more than that,” Cave said. “How could something so luminous carry so much darkness? Drank gin out of a baby’s bottle. Despised the concept of the muse but was everybody’s.”

Cave closed by saying he last spoke with Lane on the phone two months ago, and that “she seemed a million miles away.” He added, “Loved her children more than anything. They were her pride and joy. It was both easy and terrifying to love her. Leaves a big crying space.”

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