Nick Cave Responds To Fan Who Misses His Rage And Hatred: “Things Changed After My First Son Died”
If you’ve been paying attention to Nick Cave’s work for a while, you may have noticed that his work has taken a turn away from bloodthirsty transgressiveness in recent years. On his essential Red Hand Files newsletter, Cave seems downright friendly. Evidently, this change has pissed off at least one fan, who wrote to the Red Hand Files to ask why Cave is now acting like “a Hallmark card hippie.” Even when faced with online dickishness, Nick Cave wrote a thoughtful and emotional response.
The latest Red Hand Files is a response to one Ermine, whose not-exactly respectful question goes like this: “When did you become a Hallmark card hippie? Joy, love, peace. Puke! Where’s the rage, anger, hatred? Reading these lately is like listening to an old preacher drone on and on at Sunday mass.” Cave responded that he has, in fact, changed, and that the change was a result of deep, overwhelming loss:
Things changed after my first son died. I changed. For better or for worse, the rage you speak of lost its allure and, yes, perhaps I became a Hallmark card hippie. Hatred stopped being interesting. Those feelings were like old dead skins that I shed. They were their own kind of puke….
I felt a sudden, urgent need to, at the very least, extend a hand in some way to assist it – this terrible, beautiful world – instead of merely vilifying it, and sitting in judgement of it.
The “first” in that opening sentence speaks to something overwhelming. Nick Cave has lost two sons, 15-year-old Arthur in 2015 and 31-year-old Jethro last year. Cave’s full response is worth reading, and you can do that here.