our most dapper weirdo


Nick Cave is an Australian by blood, an honorary American by dint of his devotion to pulp, and, at fifty-two, the standard-bearer for a global assembly of bookish, noisy, morbid year-round Halloweeners. His most recent band, Grinderman, which shares members with his longest-running group, the Bad Seeds, has just released a second record strong enough to make “side project” seem like an inaccurate description. In the eighties, it looked as though Cave might become a darker, underground version of Elvis, but that time has passed, partly because his interests have changed. Now his profile is pleasantly complicated; in the past thirty years he has channelled a dozen different versions of the male psyche. To the rock audience, he is a highbrow front man who also writes novels and soundtracks, and pals about with artistes who wouldn’t be caught dead at a rock show where the audience is forced to stand. In Australia, he is mainstream enough to have won a recent MySpace poll that asked which musician Australians would like to see installed as Prime Minister. (Three hundred thousand votes were cast.) In the U.S., Cave has a smaller but intense following. With his tailored suits, gold rings, and bad-hombre mustache, he has become our most dapper weirdo, a Don Draper for people who don’t get up before sunset.

more from Sasha Frere-Jones at The New Yorker here.