Abusing the Muse, Part 2
Director, Producer, & Editor: Rebecca Peniston Bird
Director of Photography: Katie Milwright
Second Camera and Stills: Shannon Morris
Second Recordist: Joel Valerte
Production Manager: Sam Mass
Commissioning Editor: Janine Barrand
Featured musicians: Nick Cave, Martin P. Casey, Warren Ellis, Mick Harvey, Jim Selarsson
For the Arts Centre, Melbourne.
Not for downloadCopyright
The Arts Centre
Nick Cave reflects on collaboration with the members of The Bad Seeds and Grinderman, and on meeting the love of his life.
-I started to write songs with other band members back with the "Abattoir Blues" record. And this was just like a kind of bomb went off. And there was suddenly all this material and grooves that they were bringing to the thing.
The Bad Seeds know exactly how I am in the studio and my strengths and my limitations and all of this sort of stuff. And I feel completely comfortable with them. So even when I formed a new band, Grinderman, I just basically used the same people because I just-- they're the only people that I kind of trust to work with, really.
Part of the thing with Grinderman and the songwriting process is we are each able to create really bad music and to kind of fail and to embarrass ourselves and to kind of go on musical excursions into places no one should ever go. It's just a completely collaborative process, writing songs. And I've got a title like "No Pussy Blues."
Sitting alone in my office, you're kind of thinking, I can't really write a song like that. But you're in there with four guys and no one's slept for three days and everyone's banging away this stuff. And you're just thinking, whoa, I got the-- you know, and start singing this.
And everyone's laughing about it. The creative process becomes enormous-- enormously kind of fun. And it's very much irreverent to my whole process of songwriting.
-(SINGING): I've got the no pussy blues. I got the no pussy blues. Woo!
No pussy blues. I've got that no pussy blues. I got that no pussy blues. I got the no pussy blues. I got the no pussy blues.
-Thank you. My basic feeling in the real world is impotence. Things just seem to kind of roll on and on into where you're kind of just aghast at what's actually happening. And in my own kind of creative world, I am the kind of supreme ruler there. And like, anything can happen that I want to happen.
-(SINGING): Take a little walk to the edge of town.
-I tend to go into a certain type of frame of mind when I'm writing stuff where everything seems to me to make a lot of sense so that sometimes, I read the lyrics and I think, what the fuck is that? And very often, it becomes kind of interesting for me maybe or some kind of sport even to kind of find out what the song's trying to say. And so I write about the songs afterwards.
-(SINGING): Through the gathering storm comes a tall, handsome man in a dusty black coat and a red right hand.
-"Red Right Hand" is one in point because there's a journey you can follow where he passes a creek and he passes the factories. And at some point, I just felt it was important to document what the entire town was like. So there are endless notes about what the church as like that he might have passed, what the river was like, and what the hall of records was like and all the other aspects to the town that are peripheral and not actually in the song at all.
I don't use this writing or I don't-- it's not for anybody else's purpose. It's just for my own kind of. I don't know.
I'm bored. I should get a life or something like that. There's a song, "O'Mally's Bar," which is very much about, I suppose, an American story of a guy going into a bar and shooting everybody.
It feels to me like an American story, but most of that I was sitting around in the sunshine by a swimming pool in some place like Essen in Germany or some godawful city like that. I mean, admittedly, I was pretty ill.
It was early in the morning and I think I'd spent the night kind of comatose by the pool and I was still in my suit. But it was-- it was a totally different location than the actual song itself. And I think actual experience is highly overrated.
Imagination is much more interesting than what life actually offers up half the time. The first time I saw Susie was at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Well, she came walking in and all the things that I had obsessed over for all the years-- pictures of movie stars, Jenny Agata in the billabong, Anita Eichberg in the fountain, Ali Magraw in her black tights, Barbara Eden and Elizabeth Montgomery and Abigail, Miss World competitions, Greta Garbo and Jennifer Jones and Bolshoi ballerinas and Russian gymnasts, Botticelli and Francois Bouchet as the Birth of Venus, the young girls at the Wangaratta pool lying on the hot concrete, all this stuff heard and seen and read and felt, Caroline Jones dying in Elvis' arms, Jackie O at the funeral, Tinkerbell trapped in the door, Bert Stern's final Monroe photos, all the continual never ending drip feed of erotic data, the great and the small, came together at that moment, collided in one great big crash. And I was well lost to her. And that, as they say, was that.
-(SINGING): A wicked wind whips up the hill. A handful of hopeful words, I love her, and I always will. The sky is ready to burst.
Said something I did not mean to say. Said something I did not mean to say. Said something I did not mean to say.
It all come out the wrong way. Love letter, love letter. Go get it. Go get her.