In a new addition to The Red Hand Files Q+A site, Nick Cave reveals his thoughts on how he'd prefer to distance Morrissey's music from his political views.
Morrissey has been under fire recently for his public support toward For Britain, after solidifying his political stance in a recent interview with his newphew.
Billy Bragg has since weighed in on Morrissey's political stance, but now Nick Cave has offered his opinion too. Nick Cave has responded to a fan question asking him if it's possible to "separate the latter-day artist from his earlier art?" in reference to Morrissey, adding, "what are your views on Morrissey, both early days and his newer more ugly persona?"
The Bad Seeds vocalist has shared a lengthy response, in which he writes, "Perhaps it doesn’t matter what Neil Young’s personal conduct may be like therefore, or Morrissey’s, as they have handed over ownership of the songs to their audience. Their views and behaviour are separate issues – Morrissey’s political opinion becomes irrelevant. Whatever inanities he may postulate, we cannot overlook the fact that he has written a vast and extraordinary catalogue, which has enhanced the lives of his many fans beyond recognition. This is no small thing. He has created original and distinctive works of unparalleled beauty, that will long outlast his offending political alliances."
He adds, "Open debate and conversation are the very structure of civilisation, and in Nottingham it was a privilege to be challenged by this very thoughtful young man. However, even though I was unsatisfied by my own response, I still believe that despite how upsetting Morrissey’s views may be to the marginalised and dispossessed members of society, or anyone else for that matter, he still should have the freedom to express his views, just as others should have the freedom to challenge them – even if just to know in what guise their enemy may appear. The charge that defending a person’s right to their opinions somehow aligns one with their views makes no sense at all and strikes at the heart of the problem itself – that of conflating the concept of free speech with bigotry. This is very dangerous territory indeed."
Expanding on why he likes to separate Morrissey's music from his politics, Cave writes, "As a songwriter and someone who believes songs possess extraordinary healing power, I am saddened by the thought that songs by arguably the greatest lyricist of his generation – songs like "This Charming Man", "Reel Around the Fountain" and "Last Night I Dreamed Somebody Loved Me" – are consigned to the moral dustbin by those who feel they have been tainted by his current political posturing. I respect and understand why people respond in this way, but can’t help but feel it is of significant personal loss to them."
Closing his response, Cave adds, "Perhaps it is better to simply let Morrissey have his views, challenge them when and wherever possible, but allow his music to live on, bearing in mind we are all conflicted individuals – messy, flawed and prone to lunacies. We should thank God that there are some among us that create works of beauty beyond anything most of us can barely imagine, even as some of those same people fall prey to regressive and dangerous belief systems."