Nick Cave has been discussing the art of songwriting with a budding poet as part of his fan-led platform Red Hand Files, quoting Tom Waits and Patti Smith as part of his guidance.
On of Cave’s fans, a writer who posed his under the name of Circium, wrote to the Bad Seeds frontman because his girlfriend refuses to read his words because some of the content involves what he describes as a “hint of infidelity, resentment, or perhaps madness in it.”
Circium asks: “How do I get her to understand that just because I might write a poem about some lusty girl I saw on the train I don’t actually want to sleep with another woman?”
Cave, unrelenting in his response, details what songwriting means to him and, more poignantly detailed how he himself has battled with the creation of Bad Seeds song ‘Deanna’ which featured as the second single 1988 album Tender Prey.
Beginning his answer, Cave said: “Tom Waits famously wrote ‘You are innocent when you dream’, yet dreams are not nearly as innocent as they seem. Neither are songs nor poetry. Songwriting and poetry are perilous callings, full of intrigue and infidelity. They are covert undertakings that creep around our deepest and most hazardous needs.”
He added: “I believe you when you say you don’t want to sleep with the ‘lusty girl on the train’ – the problem is what you want to do is actually worse. You want to write a poem about her. To write a song or a poem about another human being can be one of the most intensely intimate acts a person can perform, it is an act of profound, unblinking contemplation, a near religious meditation on that moment of carnal recognition.”
The Bad Seeds frontman also went on to reference Patti Smiths’ 197 song ‘Gloria’ as an example of the ability to drive the raw, brutality of words and how the imagery generated can be unrelenting in its force.
See the full post via Cave’s website or read it, below.