Kicking Against the Pricks was the third album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds following their debut ‘From Her To Eternity’ and ‘The First Born Is Dead’ and preceding ‘Your Funeral… My Trial’.
Released in 1986, the album is a collection of eclectic cover versions. The title is a reference to a biblical quote from acts 9, verse 5 from Acts of the Apostles:
“I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
The album marked the Bad Seeds debut of drummer Thomas Wydler, expanding the Bad Seeds line-up to Cave, Wydler, Mick Harvey, Blixa Bargeld and Barry Adamson. Wylder joined The Bad Seeds in 1985 and even let Nick live with him in Berlin when Nick was working on his novel And The Ass Saw The Angel.
Cave would later downplay the importance of the record, but said it helped the band develop musically:
‘It allowed us to discover different elements, to actually make and perform a variety of different sorts of music successfully. I think that helped subsequent records tremendously.’
‘They were all done for different reasons. Basically a list of songs were made and we tried to play them. We tried songs by The Loved Ones and The Saints and all sorts of people that never got on the record. Some songs were tributes, like the Tom Jones song; other songs we didn't think the song was ever done particularly well in the first place. Some songs had just kind of haunted my childhood, like "The Carnival is Over", which I always loved.’
The strings were arranged by Mick Harvey and played by the Berliner Kaffeehausmusik Ensemble.