So if you’ve heard my music or have been around me at all, it probably won’t come as a huge surprise to learn that I really love Nick Cave. He’s one of my all time favourite songwriters, and he’s been a huge influence on me and my songwriting throughout the years.
Recently my wonderful wife surprised me with tickets to an evening of conversation and songs with Nick Cave. It was a beautiful, intimate experience where he answered questions from the audience, and in between he sat down at a piano and sang some of his songs. He talked about his career, his heroin addiction, the horrible grief of losing his son, and much, much more. He was funny, charming, moving and eloquent.
As I was sitting there I got to thinking about my love affair with Cave and his work throughout the years. It’s sort of been the soundtrack to my adult life.
When I was about 24 years old I was in a band that played a lot of Nick Cave covers. We usually played at this bar where we all used to hang out, and we liked to drink quite a bit. We dressed up in all black, with black sunglasses and we put on a whole act. I would usually shamble on stage pretending to be a lot drunker than I was, and I never said anything on stage (which was weird for me, since I love telling stories between songs). We had this whole thing down. And a couple of the guys were in a duet that played the same bar a lot, and they often called on me to sing with them, a song or two, and when they did they would call for my drunk character, which we called “The Priest” for some reason.
Around this time I saw Nick Cave live for the first time. He was playing a sport hall in Reykjavík and I went to see him. By myself. I had a wonderful time. As I was sitting there, waiting for my turn, a couple of women moved past me to find their seats further down the row. One of them recognised me from that bar I used to play and told her friend: “Look, it’s the drunk priest.”
A few days later I was very drunk at that bar, and asked my friend who had been playing if I could borrow his guitar and play a few songs. He said sure, and I went up on stage. The girls who had seen “The Drunk Priest” at the Nick Cave show were sitting in the front of the room. They asked me to play some Nick Cave. One of them was extremely pretty, so I played every single Nick Cave song I knew, and a couple I didn’t. Long story short, that girl is now my wife.
A couple of years ago I saw Cave live again, this time in Rome. I went with a friend of mine who has since tragically passed away (I wrote about that and dedicated a song to him a while back). As we were sitting there, waiting for the show to start, I heard a couple speak Icelandic behind me. I thought it was extremely funny that out of all 10.000 people in the auditorium I ended up sitting in front of other Icelanders. Eventually I turned around to look, and it wasn’t just any Icelanders. It was the Mayor of Reykjavík and his wife. I got a selfie with the mayor, and realised once and for all that this world is tiny. I then ran into him again at the conversation show.
There’s just something about Nick Cave and his music that keeps enriching my life. Whenever me and my wife have a date night we listen to Nick. I listen to his music when I want to relax and unwind. And also sometimes when I want to get pumped up. It’s a huge part of my life, and I really wanted to write a little love letter to Nick Cave the artist.
Also, he just released a new album! So that’s a good thing!
Have you heard the new album? Are you a Nick Cave fan? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.