A Conversation with Nick Cave

SXSW panel reviews

Ballroom Dancing
by Gary Miller

A Conversation with Nick Cave

Austin Convention Center, Tuesday, March 12

Assuming the audience already knew the salient details, author Larry "Ratso" Sloman took Australian icon Nick Cave through a haphazardly swirled chronology of his life and work that was informative and occasionally revelatory. Cave described the death of his father during his troubled adolescence as "one of those moments when the bottom of the bag drops open and everything falls out." For early influences, he mentioned David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, and, especially, The Johnny Cash Show: "There was something kind of evil about him, something dangerous, and I responded to that." On his working methods, Cave noted, "I don't know a good lyric from a bad one until I start singing it. The editing process is the most important part of the process for me." Asked about his penchant for storytelling, he commented, "The imaginative world ... is more reliable; I have more control over it. Certainly there's a world I've been building over the years that is absurd and transformative." He admitted to writing frequently about his wife. "I feel like I know her better in the songs that I write about her than I do in real life. It makes me feel very close to her." Sloman wrapped with an old quote about the redemptive power of rock & roll: "I can't get from Shakespeare what I get from the Ramones." "I wrote that?" Cave asked. "Cool."

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Artist / Band: Nick Cave

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