Nick Cave has paid tribute to the late Chris Bailey, who passed away last week. Bailey is best remembered for fronting Brisbane’s pioneering punk rock band The Saints. The band released a statement confirming Bailey’s death.
“It is with great pain in our hearts that we have to inform you about the passing of Chris Bailey, singer and songwriter of The Saints, on April the 9th 2022,” they said. “Chris lived a life of poetry and music and stranded on a Saturday night.”
Cave wrote about Bailey’s influence on him for The Red Hand Files. The post includes a photograph from the late 1970s that shows a teenaged Cave observing a sweat-soaked Bailey on stage in a small Melbourne club. “It is impossible to exaggerate the resulting radical galvanising effect on the Melbourne scene – these legendary performances changed the lives of so many people, myself included,” Cave writes.
Cave describes The Saints as “Australia’s greatest band” and Bailey as “my favourite singer.” He also notes that he and Bailey were friends. “Chris and I got to know each other well and went on to do a bunch of things together over the years,” he writes. However, he remained a fan, first and foremost.
“It is this photo that I will treasure – a moment of realisation and divergence, as a drunk singer sits slumped on a stage floor, his very presence in that moment approximating some kind of moral purity or essential truth, and a young man watching transfixed, feeling his own best laid plans fall away as the thought bubble above his head fills with its sudden and outrageous revelation, ‘This is what I want to do and this is who I want to be.’”
Bailey sings on the chorus of the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds song, ‘Bring It On’, from the 2003 album, Nocturama. He also features in the song’s music video. Watch it below.