How do we call a tragedy that comes almost seven years after a tragedy? I don’t know what kind of curse God has put on Nick Cave, but this is the second time the Australian singer-songwriter has to announce the death of a son. In 2015, Cave and his wife Susie lost one of their 15-year-old sons, Arthur, who fell from a cliff near Brighton. Today, it was announced that Nick Cave’s older son, Jethro Cave, died at the age of 31.
In a brief statement, Cave wrote: “With much sadness, I can confirm that my son, Jethro, has passed away. We would be grateful for family privacy at this time.”
The cause of death has not been disclosed. Jethro was the son of Beau Lazenby, an ex-model living in Melbourne Australia, who was never married to Nick. Since Nick Cave was married to fashion designer Viviane Carneiro at the time, Jethro was born out of wedlock in 1991 and only met his father at the age of seven or eight. According to the Guardian, Nick told a journalist in 2008: “It was a difficult time, but it turned out great in the end. To my eternal regret, I didn’t make much contact with Jethro in the early years, but I now have a great relationship with him.” Jethro also said in a 2012 interview: “It didn’t start off that great, having all this shit with my dad and being in his shadow.”
Jethro became a model in England, working with prestigious designers such as Balenciaga, Versace, and Celine, while he also started his own music project. Last month, Jethro was arrested after he physically attacked his mother. After kneeing her in the head, he was jailed and was just released last weekend. In 2018, he was also convicted of assault against his then-girlfriend, but it is important to know that Jethro had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and according to the Faroutmagazine, “the courts deliberated on his criminal history and how much his schizophrenia diagnosis affected his behavior.”
The story is truly heartbreaking, losing a child is certainly the deepest pain a person can endure, but losing two children sounds intolerable, simply unmanageable.
Since 2015, Nick Cave’s work has been deeply affected by Arthur’s death. He was recording his sixteenth studio album, “Skeleton Tree,” when the tragedy occurred, and the work suddenly took a completely different meaning. In Andrew Dominik’s movie “One More Time with Feeling” which explored his grief after Arthur’s death during the recording process of “Skeleton Tree,” you can hear Nick Cave says: “What happens when an event occurs that is so catastrophic that we just change from one day to the next? […] So that when you go outside, the world is the same, but now you are a different person, and you have to re-negotiate your position in the world.” I wonder how he will find the force to re-negotiate once again his position in the world.
His following album, “Ghosteen,” was dealing with the aftermath of Arthur’s death, and received widespread acclaim. With moody and ethereal soundscapes, Cave seemed to reinvent some new mythology to make sense of a senseless world.
This second death of a child is a very tough one, there are simply no words to describe such pain, and I can only come up with platitudes. Meanwhile, Nick Cave has found many ways to articulate his pain through art. In his blog, The Red Hand Files, he has also written several profound answers to his fans’ questions on the subject of grief, loss, and grief again…. In particular, he wrote this remarkable part: “Grief became both an act of submission and of resistance — a place of acute vulnerability where, over time, we developed a heightened sense of the brittleness of existence. Eventually, this awareness of life’s fragility led us back to the world, transformed.”
Let’s not forget that Nick also lost his 93-year-old mother in 2020 and just last year, his collaborator Anita Lane died at the age of 61.
A whimsical and wonderful folk tune
a godawful reworking of “Juicy”
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his sweetness bleeds over
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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – October 1972 (Volume 4, Number 5)
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a time-capsule type of roster
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“Sure, we don’t pay much but then who else do ya know who’ll publish you?”