Just about three years ago, Nick Cave released his latest album with the Bad Seeds, the harrowing yet somehow still hopeful Skeleton Tree. When he was touring the album, he discovered a newfound connection with his audience. This prompted him to start doing more intimate appearances, evenings in which he’d perform solo at a piano between Q&A sessions with audience members. And alongside that endeavor, he also began an online newsletter called the Red Hand Files, in which he also answers fans’ questions, but manages to slip in some pretty surprising revelations along the way, too.
The Red Hand Files are worth reading in general — Cave seems to possess a bottomless supply of witty, moving writing and casual wisdom, even when answering questions that are seemingly banal. But, lately, he’s dropped some pretty exciting and/or surprising tidbits in there, too. Just last week, Cave hinted at a forthcoming third Grinderman album, alluding to the fact that Grinderman 2 was part of a “yet to be completed trilogy.” And, now, a less likely scenario: Cave once attempted to collaborate with Flatbush Zombies.
As Brooklyn Vegan reported, once more a seemingly innocuous question and answer resulted in a curious reveal from Cave. In his most recent Red Hand Files missive, Cave discusses his favorite band tees, lists some Zombies merch amongst his prized possessions, and goes on to say:
A few years ago the Zombies and I attempted a collaboration and I sent them my version of the T. Rex classic, “Cosmic Dancer.” They said they “could not relate to it” but they radically pitch-shifted my voice, sampled it and used it anyway, as the percussive heartbeat to an extraordinarily wild and fucked-up piece of hip-hop that neither of us released.
This isn’t the first time Cave has shouted out Flatbush Zombies. Back in 2017, I was at a show at Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre when Cave casually remarked between songs: “This is Flatbush. Flatbush Zombies, they’re fucking awesome.” But still! A full-on collab? A lost song of Flatbush Zombies rapping over a warped Nick Cave singing T. Rex almost sounds like some randomly generated internet shit, and it also sounds like it’d be wild. What’s also wild is that Cave concludes the note with a (probably sarcastic?) image of him doing aerobics with his wife while decked out in band merch (plus a lyrical nod to “Jubilee Street,” which never hurts). There’s a lot to work with here. Let your imagination run wild.