A fan wrote to Cave’s website, the Red Hand Files, to ask how he felt about “the current trend of connecting the shortcomings of an artist’s personal conduct and the art they create and using that criteria to determine if said works are corrupted and therefore to be relegated to the dustbins or not?”
Cave, describing modern rock music as “afflicted with a kind of tiredness and confusion and faint-heartedness”, suggested that “the new moral zealotry that is descending upon our culture could actually be a good thing”.
In time, he wrote, he hoped that this “moralism”-induced cull might mean that a “wild, dangerous and radical form of music can tear its way through the ice, teeth bared, and rock’n’roll can get back to the business of transgression”, a force he described as “fundamental to the artistic imagination, because the imagination deals with the forbidden”.
This is, in fact, the artist’s duty – and sometimes this journey is accompanied by a certain dissolute behaviour, especially in rock’n’roll.
Figures that Cave identified as “intent on murdering creativity” might “serve a purpose” at what he has described as “this depressing time in rock’n’roll”, he wrote.