MW: You and I are friends, so I know that you are a longtime Nick Cave fan. We’ve shared a lot of emotion together, and I think it would be great for the newer fans, the younger fans, to hear about what it’s been like loving Nick Cave, through all of it, for three decades.
DM: I first saw Nick Cave in 1978 and knew right away there was something very different about him, an aura, a look, and the eyes – the most beautiful blue I have ever seen. For 30 years I have followed this man. I have seen him go from a shy young boy to a confident man of the world. Proud father, incessant performer, author, the list goes on. I cannot help but feel my heart swell with pride when I see him on stage and think of his success. I have seen him live countless times. His performances are something to behold. His energy and sexiness are relentless. I sometimes wonder what I would have done without him and his music in my life. My daughter has listened to him in utero and all her life – hey, she had no choice. She jokingly tells me that she has been ‘scarred’ by him. She loves to stir me up.
MW: Why did you feel it was important to write this letter to Nick now, after all these years?
DM: I just had to tell Nick “thank you for thirty years of music.” I guess I wanted Nick to know that I had “walked” with him through his life and he never knew I existed. At the same time he has been a golden thread thru out my life. I think it is important to say thank you, not only to Nick but to all people, and for all things. I still can’t believe I have been listening to him for so long; doesn’t seem like it. When I see him, I still see the young man I did in 1978. It is a hard thing to try and describe. (I put something similar in the letter as well). I see him as he is now but in my head I can see him in all his different incarnations. I don’t pretend to like everything the man does. Sometimes I catch on even years later!! I just think I am not ready to receive some songs and sometimes I just don’t like them and you know what, I don’t have to like them either. I do manage to get hooked on the most lovely of his songs: Nobodys Baby Now, Idiot Prayer, Your Funeral My Trial, Straight To You, The Carny, Cassiel, Grief Came Riding, Lovely Creature, and Loom of the Land, to name but a few.
MW: You’ve said you turned off of Nick’s music with The Birthday Party. Can you talk about the violence? How long before you reconnected?
DM: The Birthday Party were a very very different band to the Boys Next Door. BND were a much more danceable band (insert getting pissed and dancing your arse off here). I didn’t like the TBP because I couldn’t dance to them and then they left for the UK. What was filtering back (bear in mind only print media and taking a while to reach oz shores also) was a very different band in the form of the TBP. It was a shock. I couldn’t even understand what he was singing. Still a beautiful man of course and I still held my torch. I just left him musically. People throwing bottles and grabbing at him all drunk and drugged. It wasn’t a place I wanted to be. Scary. I was scared. Maybe because I was young I couldn’t see where it was all going. Hey I wanted to dance and that wasn’t dancing music! Thrown in with this was Nick’s own drug use and my fear that one day his demise would be front page news. I am much more appreciative of it now.
MW: So what about after TBP?
DM: I saw him with what must have been the “Cave Men” tour with Hugo Race but in OZ terms it was Nick’s gig with Hugo on guitar! The Singer and Tupelo reeled me in, and when I saw Blixa in the Tupelo vid I nearly fainted.
MW: Well, we have something in common there! [Laughter across the miles!]
MW: Were there periods in your life when you listened more closely to Nick Cave’s music?
DM: I identified a lot with Henry’s Dream. Knowing that he had become a father and I was a mother. I guess I wanted to hear the “new parent” Nick. I remember playing “Janglin’ Jack” in the car and my daughter (prolly aged 10 or so) said “did he just say yackety yak?” I said “don’t be silly. He wouldn’t write a lyric like that”. So I listened again and yep, it sure was “yackety yak”. Oh why did I doubt her? It is still something she brings up to me to this day.
MW: Nick is on his second novel, and he’s getting older. How would you feel if he quit to become a full time author after being a fan of his music for so long?
DM: I don’t think I would care if he stopped making music. Still have plenty to go on with. It would be enough for me to know that he is happy and doing what he feels he needs and wants to do. I make no demands upon him. I gratefully accept what he has to offer. His gift.
MW: What does Nick Cave mean to you, now?
DM: It’s hard to say what he means to me now. He is a constant thing. He is a husband and father. I am happy if he is happy. If he chose to give it all up I would respect that and say nothing of it. His decision. He knows what is best for him. I would never expect him to keep going for the ‘fans’. I would always be interested to know what he is up to. I know that he has always given 100% artistically and performance wise.
MW: What did you most enjoy including in your letter to Nick?
DM: I told Nick that my favorite song is “Nobodys Baby Now” with “the blue quilted violets across the breast” – I picture that special detail in my mind everytime I hear it. I cannot help but smile and feel proud of [Nick’s] success when I see [him] perform.
MW: How does it feel to have finally reached Nick Cave after three decades?
DM: This morning, I thought, “I have been reading that bastard’s words for 30 years, now I made him read mine!”
On that well-salted bit of Melbourne humor, we concluded our interview.
A special hug, kiss, and thank you to our friend, ‘Melbourne Deb’, for her patience, and for sharing her Christmas story about St. Nick’s gift. She looks forward to seeing her old pal Nick Cave and his Bad Seeds when they play Melbourne in January. *If anyone can arrange for Debra to meet with Nick in person, please let us know? Meanwhile, be sure to visit Deb’s Photostream @Flickr, to view the original photographs we have reprinted here, as well as more of Debra’s Nick Cave related collection, and other gorgeous photography.
This video is for Debra:
Nobody’s Baby Now – (Live @Bizarre Fest 1996)
Tx to almeidasuzana
Let us raise a glass and offer our thanks
and praise to ‘St. Nicholas’ Cave:
Nick, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
with love and gratitude for enriching the lives of so many. Cheers!
Christmas Holiday Blessings,
Morgan, Laura, & Caroline
(Editor, Associate Editor, Contributor, respectively)
@Nick Cave Fixes
Photos: Top, Boys Next Door @ Crystal Ballroom, 1977. Photo 2, Debra Mineely, supplied by Deb, along with photos 3 & 4, of her personal books with Nick Cave’s note and signatures. All photographs printed with permission (originals at Deb’s Photostream) and may not be copied or republished without written permission from Debra Mineely. Text portions of this article may not be reproduced without written consent from Morgan Wolf, author/editor. *NOTE: This article was edited to add further e-mailed content @7.25 pm EST, 24.12.08. ~MW.