After his magnificent ‘Idiot Prayer’ performance at Alexandra Palace, Nick Cave was asked about the piano he played, a beautiful Italian instrument, a Fazioli piano.
Since Nick has used his amazing Red Hand Files to correspond with his fans since September 2018, he took the occasion to play a little trick in his issue #107, first praising the instrument, a piano he had never played before: ‘The moment I sat down at the Fazioli, its warm, soft, nuanced sound spoke to me like no piano had spoken to me before. I was swept away by its extraordinary tonal range. It whispered to me. It roared at me. It was the most beautiful instrument I had ever played.’
After such a declaration, a purchase was expected, and he talked to his manager on a Zoom call, complaining he still had ‘the same nasty little Chinese upright’ ‘for over thirty years,’ and suggesting it was time to get a nice piano, a Fazioli. He then suggested to get it for free:
‘Now, one of the things you may or may not know about being a famous musician is that companies give you shit for free. The more famous you are, the more shit you get — you just have to wear one of their t-shirts or a branded cap or something. Being the principled individual that I am, of course, I have never sponsored a musical instrument (in that respect, I am virtually alone in my field) but I just loved that Fazioli.
‘I am virtually alone in my field’? Shouldn’t anyone have noticed the joking tone? Or had people thought Nick Cave had suddenly turned into a narcissistic monster?
In the same Red Hand File issue, Nick describes his confident manager making a phone call in Sacile to ask the Fazioli people if Nick Cave could get a free piano. The woman who takes the call basically does not know who Nick Cave is (‘L’acttore?’) and Nick’s manager gets snubbed, even after a second phone call since the Fazioli people refuse to give a £200,000 piano to someone they have never heard of.
The entire thing reads like a hilarious scene, with an annoyed Cave dreaming about Herbie Hancock’s description of the Italian piano –‘one note announces the celebration of the freedom and creativity of the human spirit’— and returning to his ‘nasty little Chinese upright.’
But the entire thing was a joke, right? It had all the trademarks of the entitled rock star, a brilliant satire which apparently went over the head of some fans.
It looks like plenty of fans took the story very seriously, so seriously that Cave had to write 2 follow-ups in his Red Hand Files here and here, first, asking his fans to stop contacting Fazioli to encourage them to gift him a piano, then to stop the crowdfunding campaigns set up by fans to buy him a Fazioli!
‘While I appreciate the gesture, my post was a light-hearted piece and not to be taken seriously. The phone dialogue between my manager and the ‘woman from Fazioli’ was more than a little embellished for comic effect,’ wrote Nick, ‘The tsunami of mail has left our friends at Fazioli a little shaken, so while I love you all – no more mails to Fazioli, please! They are wonderful people.’
‘While this is incredibly thoughtful and I really appreciate the lengths people are going to, to secure me this lovely instrument,’ he continues, ‘it is entirely unnecessary. As Mike from Birmingham says, “Why don’t you just buy your own fucking piano, you cheap c**t.” Mike is right, God bless him, I really should just buy my own piano.’
Did this really happen? So far, no reaction on Fazioli social media.
The story, that Nick Cave has himself hilariously baptized ‘Fazioligate,’ has left me amazed at the dedication and silliness of some of his fans? Didn’t they pick up the tone of the first newsletter? It’s insane that Nick Cave’s fans have completely forgotten about his witty sense of humor,
If I have actually read discussions on social media about buying Nick Cave a Fazioli – how serious they were, I have no idea – I haven’t found any crowdfunding pages, so it made me wonder, is it really happening? It’s quite possible Nick is continuing the joke here, it’s quite possible he is still making fun of the rock star and his too-dedicated fans. This Fazioligate is a little gem, and a too good story to not stretch it a little bit.
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