Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Random Rock Star Moment #13: Nick Cave

Nick Cave @ Rough Trade Records
San Francisco - August 8, 1992
(Pic by Kathleen Gonzalez)

While Umlaut tends to have a decidedly RAWK tone, close friends know that Nick Cave has been my favorite songwriter for many years. I've been past the point of obsession over his music several times since 1988. This fixation spiked in 1999 when I jetted to London to see him give a lecture and perform solo at the Royal Festival Hall (home of the London Symphony).

I also spent months hunting down a French promo CD with an alternate version of a song Cave did for a movie soundtrack. The song is available no where else (Note for the geeks: The song is 'What Can I Give You'.. An early version of 'Far Away, So Close'..). Drool... Yes, I am a junkie... but at least I don't have to bleach my rig before sharing it with you. I can just burn you a copy, man. I'd like to note that my hunt was done pre-Internet (take THAT Ebay muthafuckers!).

Geeks shall inherit the Earth.

Anyway, when Cave & the Bad Seeds came through town in 1992 they did an autograph session at the now defunct Rough Trade Records on Haight Street. I brought my hardcover copy of Cave's novel And The Ass Saw The Angel for him to sign. Since all of the Bad Seeds were in attendance I had them sign the book as well. When it was my turn to "meet" Cave he had just lit a cigarette (see above pic - the shoulder on the right is Umlaut's..). He was also drinking from a bottle of Southern Comfort. I asked if he could sign "To Brian". Cave took a drag from the cigarette, took a Sharpie, and inscribed my book. I'd like to note that he was a bit fucked up.

Another Cave encounter happened in 1998 at the Warfield Theater. Backstage after the show were 3/4 of Metallica. It was one of those moments where my past collided with my present. James Hetfield was aloof and threw a gratuitous "Hey, man..." my way. In contrast, Kirk Hammett greeted me as an old friend. At one point in our conversation it was revealed that Metallica were going to cover Cave's 'Loverman' on their upcoming Garage Inc. album. Twas a rather profound moment for me to be perfectly honest. Once again my life was The Ouroboros... I know what you're saying to yourself: "WHATEVER"... But I'd like to note that I was completely gobsmacked.

The classic moment came when Cave walked past Kirk and I. Kirk (aka A Guitar God) went to shake Cave's hand.. and Cave brushed past him without even acknowledging the Mega Rock Star! Perhaps Cave didn't recognize Kirk, but I'd like to think that he did. Another Mega Rock Star might have been offended by this slight and perhaps thrown an ego tantrum. However, Kirk simply looked at his hand and then at his wife and they both started laughing. I'd like to note that some Rock Stars aren't assholes.

"I ain't down here for your love or money.. I'm down here for your soul."