Musician Nick Cave has offered lyrics and songwriting advice to a fan suffering from writer’s block.
The Australian rock artist provided the support through his online blog after Dave, an American from Baltimore, wrote in asking for “spare lyrics” to stem a “serious block” in creativity.
“Sure”, Cave replied, posting lyrics of an unreleased track, Incinerator Man.
But the singer advised Dave’s issue was best solved by letting a song “find its way” to him.
Cave posted the letter on The Red Hand Files, a website he uses to communicate with fans, earlier this month.
“My advice to you is to change your basic relationship to songwriting,” he wrote.
“You are not the ‘Great Creator’ of your songs, you are simply their servant,
“They are not inside you, unable to get out; rather, they are outside of you, unable to get in”.
‘Dark, obscure’ track
Cave’s advice complimented his gift of draft lyrics to Incinerator Man, inspired by the poems of Frederick Seidel.
He admitted the lines were “on the dark side” as a result, reflecting Seidel’s renowned use of disturbing, violent imagery.
“There is not a hell of lot of structure to it, plus the last verse may need a bit of work – but all that aside, there is some nice symbolism in there,” he said.
The moon holds itself in the dark with its glow
The monster moves through the garden
And waits beneath the window
I take the monster for a walk and plough on into town
My monster has a chimney sticking out of its back
I try to find a single story I can bring home
That won’t give you a flat-out heart attack
To be honest I’m not allowed back in the house
It’s Bethlehem there with its cribs and moping beasts
I’m either underneath the school desk braced
Or commuting between Auschwitz and outer space
I’m thinking of drinking something truly horrible
I’m a slow moving monster with a giant chimney
Sticking out of my back. Look out!
I’m coming now just like I came before!
I’m all over the place. I’m the same but more.
There never ever was any turning back
I’m coming now! I’m a full on heart attack.
Cave, who performs with his band the Bad Seeds, went on to suggest ways they could be improved.
He encouraged Dave to “chuck on a simple chorus” and “creep the vocal to tell the story”.
“Then brother,” he added. “You may be able to make something worthwhile out of it. I couldn’t.”
‘Throw my song away’
But the singer ultimately told Dave he needed to write his “own damn song” to cure his creative malaise.
“Throw my song away – it isn’t that good anyway,” he wrote.
“You are a songwriter. You have the entire world to save and very little time to do it.
“The song will find its way to you. If you don’t write it, someone else will. Is that what you want? If not, get to it.”
It is not the first time Cave, known for his dark, brooding emotional songs, has responded in-depth to a fan.
Last year he penned an emotional open letter on the site describing how he still feels the presence of his son, Arthur, who died in 2015 aged 15.
He was responding to a letter from a fan who said she still felt “some communication” with family and friends who had died recently.
Cave replied: “If we love, we grieve… I feel the presence of my son, all around, but he may not be there.”