January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977

Nick Cave had become increasingly obsessed with Elvis’ final “Las Vegas” years. While rock critics deemed that Elvis was only ever of importance before being drafted into the US army in the late fifties, Cave, who was now embracing ever closer the ethos of mental and physical collapses as an artistic statement, took inspiration from the twilight of his career. Throughout Elvis’ suposed artistic decline, his repertoire consisted manly of “easy listening music” which displayed no innovation whatsoever; but this was not what primarily interested Cave – he believed that Presley on stage, in an advanced state of disintegration, finally presented the truth about himself, and with such passion that his performance was totally uncontrived. “Here’s a man who’s got everything, and he’s getting up on stage only to fall apart. He fucks up ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’ completely. Sweat is forming on his face, his eyes are crazed with drugs and fear, like a trapped animal. He can’t remember anything, so he tells bad jokes in the middle, for which he has forgotten the punch lines. But then he concentrates and manages to sing ‘My Way’. It was a truly inspired performance. That’s what it’s all about if you ask me… What is good is what affects me. There’s no reason why a group should have to get up on stage and be ‘good’, ‘youthful’ or whatever. Why should it be that way?”


Love, Memory and Respect, BIG DAD