Nick Cave chafes under questioning. Case in point: The Bad Seeds leader wrote “Fuck you” to a fan during a Twitter Q&A earlier this year. Comedian/podcast overlord Marc Maron welcomes difficult interview subjects. Case in point: His hour-long chat with Dinosaur Jr.’s reticent frontman, J Mascis. These two oversize personalities came to a head on a recent installment of Maron’s twice-weekly WTF series. As the 49-year-old standup tells it, it wasn’t an easy-going conversation.
“I don’t have any experience of Nick Cave, I don’t know him personally, I’ve never listened to other interviews of him, but I was getting frustrated,” Maron says in the episode’s intro. “I do remember kind of thinking, ‘Oh my God, please talk to me!'”
Throughout their hour-plus talk, Maron tries to put Cave’s immense body of work into a larger context — and he mostly succeeds. “In my mind, you’re this tormented cowboy of sorts that takes on the big existential problems and milks the poetry out of them,” he tells the Australian songwriter. To which Cave replies, “All of that is true, apart from the cowboy bit. I’m not a fucking cowboy.”
Eventually, the Push the Sky Away singer opens up. He discusses the profound effect his music has on “troubled women,” as Maron puts it (“I understand them,” Cave says); his childhood love of I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, and The Addams Family (he credits those sitcoms with inspiring an early sexual awakening); meeting Johnny Cash (“I can’t begin to tell you what that meant to me”); the Birthday Party’s “physically violent” shows; and his experiences as a former church-goer and drug user (“The church thing, looking back on it, is probably the more destructive of the two”).
Cave also casually slams Echo and the Bunnymen (“It was kind of lame”), praises recent WTF guest Iggy Pop, and describes the convoluted plot to Christ Killer, his failed screenplay that was supposed to be a sequel to 2000’s Gladiator. (Spoiler: Russel Crowe “didn’t like it, mate.”)
Listen to a snippet of the interview below, stream the whole thing via the WTF website, or download it here.