West Country Girl

“It’s basically a list of the physical attributes of a particular person that I found attractive at the time. As cruel and impoverished as that probably was, it was a nasty little exercise in flattery designed to win the girl. And it worked. [Speculation is that the West Country Girl is PJ Harvey – Ed].”Nick Cave (1042)

When I First Came To Town

“That is, in the end, a song about Brazil, which is very much how I feel about things… though I’m not a very paranoid person. When I first came to Brazil I was treated as something like a hero. And having lived there for a while the tables turned, particularly in the press. I don’t think they like the idea of me actually living in the place. If people maintain some sort of mystery… they much prefer that.”Nick Cave (1043)


“I think the song ‘Mermaids’ is about a sort of spiritual collapse. The mermaids are myths and products of our imaginations, and it’s about going somewhere that is separate from the world and being saved by our imaginations… it’s a respite from the world.”Nick Cave (1044)

We No Who U R

“To be honest, it wasn’t supposed to be [an environmental hymn – Ed]. I wrote it in a direct response to something that was actually happening in Britain at the time. I don’t want to tell you about it, because it’s so much smaller than the song ended up being. All songs have the capacity to collect weight around them, by the music and by the way that they’re sung; to me it is a huge song. It was not actually supposed to be an environmental song, but I’m quite happy for it to just be what it wants to be. It is a concern of mine. We’ve treated nature abominably and it’s getting back at us with a vengeance.”Nick Cave (1044)

Deep In The Woods

“I was dealing with a subject that I felt uncomfortable about dealing with and I was nervous about showing that to the group. I felt they would think it was too unreasonable, or too over the top, to produce an ode to a murdered woman, a severely murdered woman.”Nick Cave (1045)


“It’s a retelling of a true relationship that I had with somebody through the story of somebody else, even if it doesn’t begin with ‘Once upon a time’. Deanna was a girl I knew when I was about eight. She lived in a trailer on the outskirts of the town with her old man who was basically this drunken, wretch of a character. Our relationship was kept a secret from him because he frequently beat her. I was just one day older than her. It was a very equal relationship we had. Anyway, we used to play truant from school and go to this little hideaway that she had fashioned under this bridge over a dry river creek. It was impossible to get to because of the briar that surrounded it. But she made this tunnel through the briar. Inside this place she had a collection like a magpie’s nest. We used to go on these day raids on the different houses around the town. We knew the people wouldn’t be in the houses and we used to eat their food, lie on their beds, and steal all sorts of stuff like letters, cutlery, clothes and money. The story is important because I’ve tried to write a lot of songs about it. One day we robbed a house and found a handgun which we took back to our little grotto. We, I should add, robbed by ourselves, separately also. One day she was caught by this guy who was in this religious instruction teacher’s house. The wife of this teacher thrashed her and the guy did something to her, but I really don’t know what it was. The next day I was woken up by my mother and had to answer all these questions from the police. Deanna had gone back to the home and shot the strange man and woman in the religious teacher’s house. How the stranger fitted into their lives was a bit of a scandal. That’s the basis for the song. I’ve tried to write about it many times but I’ve never felt able to do it justice because it sounds like some sort of fantasy or some Disneyland type of thing. Nonetheless, after that happened she was taken off to some sort of child psychiatric place. And I was taken out of (the local) high school and sent to the big smoke to a strict all boys boarding school to have a bit of sense knocked into me. I dunno.”Nick Cave (1046)

 The Weeping Song

“[‘The Weeping Song’ is a fairly painful account of a family break-up that seems to graze a few personal knuckles – Ed]. I don’t really want to talk about it. When things happen to you, you take a chance and you put it down onto record, it’s there and you feel you’re obliged to talk about it. It’s a duet between me and Blixa, did you realise that? Blixa sings the father’s lines in a conversation with his son. A lot of people haven’t picked up on that.”Nick Cave (1047)

 Where The Wild Roses Grow

“It’s a murder ballad and it’s a dialogue between a killer and his victim. It’s about a man who can’t control his love for a girl, who finds her so beautiful he feels compelled to kill her.”Nick Cave (1048)

 Thirsty Dog

“I guess that song was pretty autobiographical. The guy in the song’s getting pissed, wallowing in self-loathing and apology, and meanwhile he’s getting more pissed and is obviously going to continue to be that way.”Nick Cave (1048)


“It was an attempt from my point to write a song that didn’t have a twist at the end. It was a celebration of nature and divinity.”Nick Cave (1049)

 Let The Bells Ring

“[‘Let the Bells Ring’ is about Johnny Cash, who’s obviously been a very central musical figure for you – Ed]. There’s only been one other person that I’ve felt that way, and that was Barry Humphries. In the same way I was fearful of meeting him. But as soon as they entered the room, it just felt good to be there. I got asked to sing with Johnny Cash, and the night before, I was thinking, ‘How do you do that?’ By the time I got in the studio I was feeling like a fucking gnat. But as soon as he came in, it was like, ‘Nick!’ And I thought, ‘It’s okay, I can do this’.”Nick Cave (1049)

 There She Goes, My Beautiful World

“The song is asking, ‘How did these people do it?’ How did Johnny Thunders (co-) write ‘Chinese Rocks’, which is one of the great drug songs. Obviously there was a certain humour to including him in that list, but I think I’ve got a certain knack for pulling those lines out on occasion.”Nick Cave (1049)

 Love Bomb

“The character in the song isn’t me, he’s a sexual predator who listens to Woman’s Hour to get tips on chat-up lines and the way women think.”Nick Cave (1050)

 Henry Lee

“This song is an old Scottish murder ballad that I read in a book somewhere and played around with. It’s the story about the fury of a scorned woman.”Nick Cave (1042)