Nick Cave & Debbie Harry duet on Jeffrey Lee Pierce tribute
(Credit: Robert Sullivan / Georges Biard)

Remembering Nick Cave’s duet with Debbie Harry in tribute to The Gun Club’s Jeffrey Lee Pierce

We’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine Vault to bring you a very special duet between Nick Cave and Debbie Harry as come together to pay tribute to Jeffrey Lee Pierce.

Jeffrey Lee Pierce, who died on this day, March 31st, 1996, was a rock and roll casualty who drove himself to excessively overindulge in drink and drugs. He was just 37 when he passed away from a brain haemorrhage at the University of Utah Hospital.

Pierce, a prolific singer, songwriter, guitarist and author, is arguably best remembered for being one of the founding members of the band The Gun Club. Following his death, Pierce’s legacy continued to influence other musicians and, in 2010, it was announced that The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project would be released.

The tribute initiative was set up after Cypress Grove, one of Pierce’s close collaborators, cleaned out his loft following his death and uncovered a collection of previously unheard songs that had been recorded onto cassette marked JLP Songs.

An idea suddenly arose and recruiting a bunch of Pierce’s old friends and collaborators, the likes of Debbie Harry, Nick Cave, Mark Lanegan, Mick Harvey and more, brought together a group of artists all willing to pay homage to the great man.

“The idea was that these are not our songs, we merely interpret them,” Cypress Grove said upon its release. “In some cases, the artists have had to finish the songs, so there can be no-nonsense about this not being as good as the original version as these are the original versions! It’s a musical collective of artists who have come together to interpret or complete skeletal, unfinished material by Jeffrey,” he continued.

“Where possible we have used Jeffrey’s contributions, so he actually appears posthumously on this album.” It makes for touching moments throughout the LP as Pierce connects with the music he will never hear in full.

While Cave himself took on the album opener ‘City In Pain’, the Bad Seeds frontman also teamed up with Blondie’s very own Debbie Harry for a duet of ‘The Breaking Hands’. It sees the two opposite ends of the lead singer spectrum, one bright and confident, the other dark and brooding, and marries them together with sublime results.

Here it is:

Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project:

  • ‘City In Pain’ – Nick Cave
  • ‘I’m Going Upstairs’ – Hugo Race
  • ‘From Death To Texas’ – Steve Wynn
  • ‘The Breaking Hands’ – Mark Lanegan & Isobel Campbell
  • ‘The Jungle Book’ – The Amber Lights
  • ‘Rose’s Blues’ – Bertrand Cantat, Pascal Humbert, Warren Ellis, Cypress Grove
  • ‘Zonar Roze’ – Thalia Zedek & Chris Brokaw
  • ‘L.A. County Jail Blues’ – Cypress Grove
  • ‘I Wanna Be You’ – Barry Adamson
  • ‘Sonny Boy’ – Mick Harvey
  • ‘Book of Love’ – Vertical Smile
  • ‘Body and Soul’ – Astro-Unicorn
  • ‘The Brink’ – Lydia Lunch
  • ‘The Breaking Hands’ – Nick Cave & Deborah Harry
  • ‘In My Room’ – Tex Perkins & Lydia Lunch
  • ‘The Jungle Book’ – Tav Falco’s Panther Burns
  • ‘St Marks Place’ – Mick Harvey
  • ‘Ain’t My Problem Baby’ – The Jim Jones Revue
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