Songwriters possess a certain niche for poetic license, sometimes perpetuating something into more than there was. The one song, that comes to mind as far as stories go, is Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, a searing series of events that only gets more intense with each action. Of course, the songwriters I grew up listening to, were from places much like the ones I grew up in. I remember hearing Biz Markie “Just A Friend” and much like everyone else I enjoyed the music, loved the hook but the story he was telling was far from typical.
He started off talking about how he met a girl one day, hoping it would more than just friends. She gave him a ton of indications that they were really…just friends. By the end of the song, both the artist and listener are shocked to find out why. In Reinhard Kleist’s epic Nick Cave: Mercy On Me, a legendary songwriter takes center stage in a life filled to the brim of heartbreak and pain, solace, success and elation.
We are introduced to Nick Cave, a fiery young man, who lives in the wilds of Australia’s outback, which looks very much like our Wild West, which makes it not surprising that he is a big fan of Johnny Cash. This leads him to wanting to become a singer, because at the time, he could not play any instruments where he fronts his first band, The Birthday Party. He would go on to form another band, the Bad Seeds, while meeting a lot of interesting people, which includes many loves of his life. By Book’s end, the reader gets a view of his song making process and internal struggles while weaving each song like a beautiful tapestry.
Overall, I must say I have heard of Nick Cave, but never listened to any of his songs, but the job Kleist did here makes me want to go listen to him, as its equal parts Ring Of Fire and any Terry Gilliam movie. The stories told by Kelist makes more than your typical biographical graphic novel, it makes Nick Cave’s story, a movie that needs to be seen. The art by Kleist is renders images in black and white into gorgeous art. Altogether, much like most books about music, even if you are not a fan, it is always nice to take behind the curtain.
Story: Reinhard Kleist Art: Reinhard Kleist
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy