Melbourne music legend Mick Harvey has finally spoken out over his seemingly abrupt departure from The Bad Seeds, 25 years after he joined childhood friend and former Birthday Party compadre Nick Cave in the iconic outfit. Fans were surprised after his sudden exit following 2009’s All Tomorrow’s Parties festival held at Mt Buller in Victoria and Cockatoo Island in Sydney, which was curated by Cave. On the eve of the release of his much anticipated new album Sketches From the Book of the Dead for which you can get details of the Melbourne launch show here, Harvey has explained that spending too much time on management issues as well as the old chestnut of musical differences prompted his departure.
He explains “It was a combination of an awful lot of things. I think that some things have changed inside the band and my role in the band had changed gradually and things that I was doing outside the band had changed gradually,” says Harvey. “The balance between how much time I was spending on the creative side and the management side of things had changed and the balance wasn’t right anymore.” Harvey also felt that he was being sidelined from the creative process as far back as 1997’s The Boatman’s Call and the issues kept compounding. He says “There were a few key things that kind of pushed it over the edge, I guess. That was mostly to do with the fact that I got to the point where I felt that I couldn’t really say what I felt anymore with what was going on about the way certain things were being done because I’d said what I thought about them but was ignored. It’s also about the way some the material was being approached. I thought some of the stuff was being dumbed down but that’s just my opinion. But it wasn’t a good situation.” Always the workaholic, Harvey is currently on tour playing with PJ Harvey and is set to launch his new album at the Toff In Town in Melbourne on 21 May.
Check out Mick on Xylophone with The Bad Seeds in 1990