Nick Cave shares the “lows” he endured while on drugs in a candid letter to a fan
The wonderful Nick Cave has used his fan-led website, The Red Hand Files, as a place where the Bad Seeds frontman connects directly with his supporters by answering their questions, to open up and the “lows” of the “‘lovely substances”.
While some questions have been directly about his work with The Bad Seeds and The Birthday Party, others have been more general life advice, using Cave as a sometime Agony Uncle. The singer has responded in a kind and cultured way that might belie his exterior image. Talking with fans about grief and body positivity to name a few, the latest edition sees cave open up yet again.
Fan, Craig, asked on the most recent question whether Cave had ever experienced the same highs sober as he did while using drugs, to which Cave replied: “Craig, I’m not sure if I have quite reached the same highs as those times while sober, but then again I also haven’t reached the kind of lows that eventually came with taking those ‘lovely substances’.”
Cave then lists off some of the low moments of being on drugs: “Bashed up in police stations, dehumanised in rehabs, near-death experiences, suicidal thoughts, routine overdoses, reduced motivation, broken bones, being ripped off, liking Charles Bukowski, social and physical anhedonia, herd mentality, dead friends, fucked up relationships, abscesses, car accidents, psychosis, reading The Hobbit, malnutrition, creative impotence, epic time-wasting, singing flat (still working on that), talking shit (still working on that too), life-threatening diseases, and not ringing my mother on her birthday.”
As well as the drugs advice, this edition of The Red Hand Files also saw a fan ask Cave the meaning of the lyric “Ku Klux furniture” from Cave’s 1988 track ‘Deana’. Cave answered: “As for your question, Serge, Deanna’s mother was American and each Christmas she would leave Melbourne and head back to the U.S. for the holidays, leaving her maverick daughter in charge of the house that sat high up on the south bank of the Yarra River.
“Perhaps anticipating our behaviour, her mother covered the furniture in the living room with protective white sheets – the Ku Klux furniture, we called it.”