Dirty Three’s new album Toward the Low Sun is out this week, marking a welcome return for the inimitable Australian instrumental trio. The band’s best-known member is violinist Warren Ellis, who’s also a member of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and has been moonlighting over the last few years as the fiercely bearded sidekick to Cave’s mid-life crisis in Grinderman. This means that Ellis has been the member of three fantastic bands at the same time, and it got us thinking about other musicians who’ve done the same. There are plenty of musicians who’ve moved from one great band to another, of course, but the list of those who’ve been in two or more worthy projects simultaneously is somewhat shorter. Here’s what we’ve come up with — polite suggestions are, of course, always welcome.
Warren Ellis (The Bad Seeds, Dirty Three, Grinderman)
For all that Ellis’s new role as Nick Cave’s BFF is clearly great fun for them both, we remain most partial to his work with Dirty Three. Ellis’s violin playing is like a force of nature, and it finds its greatest expression in the company of Mick Turner’s sparse guitar accompaniment and Jim White’s constantly fascinating drum patterns. There’s really no one quite like Dirty Three, and we’re glad to see that for now, at least, everything is (still) fucked.