"I think that probably ninety-nine percent of the people who read your question will think that you are being, well, a bit of an asshole"
Nick Cave has responded to a homophobic fan in a Q&A on his website The Red Hand Files, which he uses to respond to questions posed by fans.
Over the last year, The Bad Seeds frontman has been giving responding to questions from fans on The Red Hand Files, from tips on songwriting (and even gifting one fan a spare lyric of his), to giving his description of a typical Nick Cave fan, stating that “in its current form, rock [music] isn’t worth saving”, and describing his Manchester gig following the 2017 terror attack in the city as the “most emotional concert of his career”. It’s become a treasure trove for diehard fans.
Now, he’s responded to a new question from a German fan named Jessica, who asked: “Do you get any nasty or annoying comments and questions via The Red Hand Files? I hope not! Thank you so much for this project & your music!”
Before responding to the question, Cave quoted another question from an American fan named George.
“Do you ever get tired of all the pretentious fat lesbians who enjoy your music?” George, from Alabama, asked. “Personally I enjoy a lot of your music, but I find most of your fans insufferable. I’m just wondering if you’re on the same page.”
Cave then began his reply: “Jesus said on the cross, ‘Forgive them for they know not what they do’. “George, I think Jesus may have been talking directly to you.”
“Some weeks ago, I answered a question at one of my “In Conversation” events,” he continued. “I was defending people’s right to say what they wanted. I was defending people’s right to offend. In short, I was defending the idea of free speech. It seems that these days free speech has fallen out of favour.
“The concept has been polarised by some and now a free speech advocate is often seen – I feel somewhat bizarrely – to be aligned to the far-right. However, I do believe that, even though we should have the right to say what we like, there are consequences to what we say and just because we can speak freely, it does not – and should not – inoculate us against these consequences.
He continued: “In the interests of free speech, George, I have given you a platform,” the singer continues. “However, and I am speculating here, I think that probably ninety-nine percent of the people who read your question will think that you are being, well, a bit of an asshole. I could be wrong. It could be more. Now, you may say “so what? No one knows who I am. How can this possibly hurt me?” You may say that. But you would be wrong.
“I do not believe that your anonymity protects you, any more than I believe the anonymity of the hate trolls on social media protects them. I feel that there are psychic pathways that exist between us all, and that the negativity we create eventually finds its way back to us.”
“The opportunity to act in a better way is one that is continuously afforded to us – to try to make the next thing we do the best thing, rather than the worst thing, the destructive thing,” Nick continued.
Cave added: “In this instance, George, it’s not too late for you. If you close your eyes and apologise to my fans, just maybe that negative attention will begin to dissipate. I think my fans are smart enough and sufficiently forgiving to understand that your words extend only to the margins of your own individual evolution.”
Read the full answer here.
Nick Cave also recently referenced comments made by Morrissey, saying: “Challenge his views, but allow his music to live on.”
Back in September, Cave’s wife Suzie Bick confirmed that the band were working on new material in Los Angeles. “Some of his songs reveal themselves at night in his fever dreams,” she said at the time. “They are his Fever Songs.”