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Is Nick Cave really the Devil? – by Simon Bowcock

Sounds far fetched? Bear with me on this. It has repeatedly occurred to me that Nick Cave may be the Prince of Darkness himself for a number of reasons. Let’s look at some evidence.

1) He’s called Nick and he’s been around for a while. So the day is fast approaching when he’ll be “Old Nick”.

2) He’s also called Cave, which is Latin for “Beware”.
“Beware of the dog” = Cave canem.
“Beware of Old Nick” = Cave Nick.
So he has a much better moniker for Satan than “Louis Cyphre”, and he’s a much more convincing Lucifer than Robert de Niro, don’t you think?

3) Sometimes he even lets his guard slip and fleetingly appears as Mephistopheles on stage.

4) His “home” on earth is the closest thing to the inferno beneath – the fiery deserts of Down Under. However, he’s rarely there as he needs to travel all over the place performing his dark work.

5) So Mr. Cave (as we’d now better call him) moves around the world, setting up home on one continent before moving on to another: Australia, Germany, Brazil, Britain…. This is what you’d expect of the Devil, who naturally needs to roam the entire world to perform his diabolical deeds. Obviously, being a touring musician of global renown would help the Devil enormously in this regard.

6) Mr. Cave has written very many Murder Ballads. Everyone thinks that Mr. Cave has either borrowed these stories or made them up. Yet they drip with such verisimilitude that they may well be autobiographical. Check out the sheer detail in the song O’Malley’s Bar and you’ll see what I mean about more than a ring of truth.

7) Mr. Cave’s darkest incarnation to date is Grinderman, whose horrifically alluring music is seared with the blackest and most morbid of imagery. For example, who (in heaven’s name) might say:
The spinal cord of JFK wrapped in Marilyn Monroe’s  I give to you… ?
The Devil, that’s who. In fact, The Devil might find it easy to come up with such lines, as he may have the items in question in his possession. Think about that.

8) Mr. Cave is obsessed with God, religion and spirituality. His songs have titles such as Cannibal’s Hymn, Heathen Child, God is in the House, Death is Not the End, Hallelujah, and Evil. I could go on.

9) Mr. Cave was already famous in his early 20s and very cool, fronting The Birthday Party. Thirty years later, he is even cooler. This is not achievable for mere mortals in the music industry. Paul McCartney was the coolest cat around once. So was Elvis, and look what happened to him. Even Neil Young and Bob Dylan have not managed to become even cooler with age, and Neil and Bob are very cool cucumbers indeed.

10) Mr. Cave has a band called “The Bad Seeds”. They even look like guys Satan would happily hang out with.

11) The quality and consistency of Mr. Cave’s musical oeuvre is suspicious. How can anyone constantly take the risks inherent in making such edgy, spellbinding music – steeped in tradition yet constantly pushing the boundaries of form and taste – and yet never make a bad record? Even Neil and Bob occasionally make bad records.

12) As Mr. Cave’s Wikipedia entry says, he is a “musician, songwriter, author, screenwriter, and occasional film actor”. It is not possible for a mere mortal to excel in all of these fields (and he does excel – for example, see the film The Proposition if you haven’t already). Even Tom Waits cannot do all of these things (for Christ’s sake), and Tom Waits can do almost everything.

So perhaps the towering, dark tour de force that is Grinderman 2 is so awe inspiring because it was, in fact, orchestrated by the Devil. Designed and directed by his Red Right Hand.

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Simon is a writer and photographer. His music photographs have appeared in many publications from The Guardian to the British Journal of Photography. As well as music, he also writes about art photography, notably for Harper's Bazaar Art. His obsession with music seems to be increasing with age, and people seem to think him mad when he says things like "The Walkmen are the best band ever". You can follow his ramblings on twitter @simonbowcock


  1. 4) His “home” on earth is the closest thing to the inferno beneath – the fiery deserts of Down Under.

    His home on earth is currently Hove.
    That seals it then.

  2. And there’s definitely something sinister about that moustache. I’d say that clinches it.



  3. I seem to remember that the greatest trick the Devil ever played was convincing people that he didn’t exist.
    So, in order to have some incognito fun he manifests as Nick Cave ?
    Its as plausible as anything else.

  4. ….or maybe he’s just a little pussy cat who lives in Brighton with his kids and ex-model wife; who shops at Waitrose and is spotted at the local multiplex every now and then…. The Devil’s work?

  5. Interesting that his band is the bad seeds, spreading there diabolical messages around. I have been a fan of Nic but i was just struck by the thought maybe he does the devils work. Type in nic cave and devil in google and there is lots of sites…. interesting


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