Guitarist Blixa Bargeld has announced that he is to leave Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Bargeld played guitar on the last Birthday Party release before joining Cave's solo project the Bad Seeds in 1983.

Although the line-up has changed since then, Bargeld has always continued to play and record with the band.

In a statement Bargeld said, "My leaving has nothing to do with artistic or personal differences with the band, I just feel it is time to concentrate on other creative areas in my life."

Cave commented: "We have parted as friends and we will miss him dearly."

Bargeld will continue to front German band Einstürzende Neubauten and with his work in film and theatre.

The Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds European shows that are scheduled for early summer will proceed as planned, but without Bargeld.