Australian rock star Nick Cave has opened up about his journey to faith, telling UnHerd the way to rebel in 2023 is to “go to church and be a conservative.”
Cave, who was famously anti-establishment in his early career, sat down with UnHerd Britain’s Freddie Sayers to discuss his new book, “Faith, Hope and Carnage.” A former singer with post-punk bands The Birthday Party and Bad Seed, Cave delves into the topics of faith, spirituality, censorship and politics.
While some have claimed Cave has transformed over the years from a counter-culture icon to a conservative church-going man of faith, Cave rejected that notion, telling Sayers he “delights in fucking with people.”
“There is something about living outside the expectations of other people that is energizing,” he told Sayers, adding later that the way to mess with people in 2023 is to “go to church and be a conservative.” (RELATED: Mark Wahlberg Says Christianity Is ‘Not Popular’ In Hollywood But He ‘Cannot Deny His Faith)
Nick Cave’s early punk music energy was all about “fucking with people,” he told me.
Me: “How do you fuck with people in 2023?”
Cave: “You’d go to church and be a conservative.”
— Freddie Sayers (@freddiesayers) April 11, 2023
Cave admitted that in his early days of fame he held the world in contempt, but a personal tragedy — the loss of his 15-year-old son — forced him to view the world in a completely different way.
“I was completely absorbed with my own hurt and despair,” he said, until letters from well-wishers began pouring in, forcing him to look outside of himself.
“I think that the death of my son, to some degree, completed me as a human being, and allowed me to turn around and see the world and see everyone in it as suffering individuals, as broken individuals, and understand the perilous nature of life and the value of life. That changed my outlook on things hugely — completely. To understand and respect people, all people,” he told Sayers.
Though Cave admitted that there are still things he doubts when it comes to religion, he maintained it would be “disingenuous to reject” the spiritual promptings he has experienced while at church, something, he told Sayers, he doesn’t feel anywhere else.
“I used to go to church and find reasons not to believe. Now I go to church and find reasons that are a bit more compelling,” he stated. “It’s something that I don’t get sitting in a park. I don’t get the same thing watching a sunrise. I sometimes get the same thing listening to music. There’s something about music that is authentically transformative.”
Cave further went on to reject the “atmosphere of our culture,” which he says has people second-guessing things they write or say out of fear they’ll offend someone. “I do feel a kind of wet blanket has been thrown over art in general, and this is just not good,” he stated, adding that it’s “distressing to see” the sometimes merciless consequences of artistic honesty. (RELATED: ‘In Two Seconds, I Could Get Canceled’: Bill Maher Rips Liberal Audiences On CNN)
Tickets for Cave’s 2023 Live in North America tour are currently on sale. “Faith, Hope and Carnage” was released in Sept. 2022.