14 July 1971 |
Haydock, Lancashire, England
|Associated acts||The Verve, Black Submarine|
Nick McCabe was the son of a bus driver and has two older brothers, Alan and Paul. When asked what it was that inspired him to become a guitarist, he answered: "That was me, I just got a guitar, and I could play a few things on it, and I liked messing with it, and I liked making my own things up." He attended Haydock High School, and later met Richard Ashcroft at Winstanley College. Ashcroft described McCabe's guitar playing as sounding like "a whole other universe"; the two briefly played in a band whilst at college. After leaving college, McCabe began a career as a quantity surveyor. He later recalled: "I hated it. I used to sit there all day scribbling in my pad thinking about guitar sounds." He gave this up to be part of The Verve along with Ashcroft, Simon Jones and Peter Salisbury.
McCabe was generally an aloof member, being involved in relatively few interviews. Tensions and power struggles between McCabe and Ashcroft would later cause the band's dissolution. The first break-up happened in 1995 when Ashcroft left after the band's second album, A Northern Soul. Shortly thereafter Ashcroft reformed the band without McCabe, replacing him with Simon Tong. McCabe returned home to work on his own music and spend time with his daughter until Ashcroft asked him to return in 1997, for the band's third album, Urban Hymns. Despite the album's success, McCabe left in 1998, and although The Verve continued touring without him, the band later split for the second time in early 1999.
In early 2007, McCabe made peace with Ashcroft, and the band reunited. A new album, Forth, was released in 2008. However, the band broke up again in 2009.
Following The Verve's split in 1999, McCabe kept a relatively low profile. In 2001, he played on "Walking Home" for John Martyn's album, On the Cobbles. In 2002, he played on "Lost Broadcast" for Faultline's album Your Love Means Everything. In 2004, McCabe's remix of The Music's song "The People" appeared on their single "Freedom Fighters". In March 2009, following the death of Martyn, McCabe discussed Martyn's music and the experience of working with him in an interview with Mojo.
In 2009 McCabe founded a new band called The Black Ships with Jones, drummer Mig Schillace, and electric violinist Davide Rossi. The Black Ships released their first EP, "Kurofune", in May 2011, and performed their debut gig at Kings College Student Union on 2 June 2011 before changing their name to Black Submarine in mid-2012.
McCabe stood still whilst playing, with one reviewer in 1993 describing him as having "coaxed gorgeous, shimmering wodges of sound from his instrument while exuding all the enthusiasm of a man waiting for a bus."
McCabe has cited artists such as Joy Division, John Martyn and Eddie Hazel as inspirations. He has also expressed his fondness of synthesizers and explained his 'psychedelic' sound as trying to make a guitar sound like a synthesizer by using effects pedals and valve Amps.
Producer Owen Morris referred to McCabe as "without a shadow of a doubt the most gifted musician I've ever worked with", but also claimed he was "a complete and utter nightmare" to work with, saying "He'll never play the same thing twice. Now you can ask Noel Gallagher to play the same guitar line a hundred times, and as long as there's a good reason for him doing it, he'll do it. But with Nick you've got no chance. But that's what he does, y'know?"
- Mesa/Boogie Mark III combo
- Roland JC120 (daisy-chained to the boogie)
- Marshall solid state bass amp
- Alesis QuadraVerb+
- Roland RE-201 Space Echo
- BOSS OD-1
- Ibanez FL9
- Eventide H3000
- Roland GP-8
- DigiTech Whammy IV
- Gibson Les Paul
- Fender Stratocaster (1979)
- Gibson ES-335
- Fender Jazzmaster (1959) 70's
- Fender Telecaster Deluxe
- Gibson Flying V
- Fender 12-String
- Ovation acoustic
- The Beta Band – Champion Versions E.P. (1997)
- Mellow – Instant Love E.P. (1999)
- O.S.T. for Iain Banks' "Complicity" (2000)
- Neotropic (project) – La Prochaine Fois/An Ambient Road Movie (2001)
- Faultline feat. Nick McCabe – Lost Broadcast (2002/2004, released on Your Love Means Everything)
- John Martyn feat. Nick McCabe – Walking Home (2004, released on On the Cobbles)
- Nick McCabe vs. The Music – The People (2004, released on The Freedom Fighters E.P.)
- The Nova Saints – Far Out (Nick McCabe Remix) (2007, released on The Draft EP)