‘Infected by the seed of postindustrial punk bohemia’

Nick Cave and the milieu of the 1980s underground


  • Peter Webb Department of Sociology, University of Birmingham




genre, gothic, industrial, milieu, post-punk, punk, scenes


This article uses the concepts of cultural milieu and music genre to explore the work of Nick Cave in the 1980s and later. Milieu theory is derived from the work of phenomenologists Alfred Schutz and Jorg Durschmitt. The article analyses the transgressive milieu of Cave and such collaborators as Blixa Bargeld and Lydia Lunch and considers the way in which the music genres of punk, post-punk, gothic and industrial have been implicated in Nick Cave’s recorded output.

Author Biography

Peter Webb, Department of Sociology, University of Birmingham

Peter Webb is a lecturer and researcher in Media and Culture in the Department of Sociology at the University of Birmingham. He has published work on the Internet and the music and fashion industries, music scenes or milieu, notions of independence in the music industry, globalization and music and theories of music cultures. He also is a musician who has released several albums, singles and EPs under the name ‘Statik Sound System’.


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How to Cite

Webb, P. (2009). ‘Infected by the seed of postindustrial punk bohemia’: Nick Cave and the milieu of the 1980s underground. Popular Music History, 3(2), 103–122. https://doi.org/10.1558/pomh.v3i2.103