In 1990, Nick Cave left Australia for the world. He ended up in the same year, in Rio de Janeiro, where he met journalist Vivian Carneiro, with whom he married and had his first child. Luke was born in 1991. Ten days ago, in Australia, Jethro was born, the son of Cave’s short-lived relationship with Bo Lazenby.
She was so fleeting that, according to the musician, the news that he was going to have a second child did not reach him. I met Luke when she was only seven years old. He explained how in 2008: “To my eternal regret, I didn’t communicate much with Jethro in my early years, but now I have a wonderful relationship with him.”
On Friday, May 6, Jethro Lazenby’s body was found lifeless in a hotel in Melbourne. Tragic news comes just seven years after the death of Arthur, aged just 15 – one of the twins he was born in 2000, as a result of his relationship with Susie Peck, whom he married in 1999.
Jethro’s life was almost always eventful, as she was regularly involved in drug and legal problems. His death at the age of 32 came just days after he was released from prison, after his arrest following a violent assault on his mother.
She championed a successful career as a teen model and traveled the world. Things started to get worse in 2012, when he began filling out the criminal record with small incidents: thefts, assaults, and drug use.
Far from the glamorous life he led in London, where he modeled Balenciaga, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was released on bail when he assaulted his mother and found himself in trouble with the police again.
Even in 2012, Jethro already admitted that he wasn’t living an easy life. “There was all this shit with my dad, which is about living in his shadow,” he admitted to the Evening Standard. “When someone thinks I’m just a lucky rich kid, I feel like suffocating them.”
Despite coming late in Jethro’s life, Nick Cave left deep marks. The boy’s favorite book was “Lolita,” the controversial novel by Vladimir Nabokov, which Cave read to him when he was only 15 – and which was given to him by his father, Colin Cave, an English teacher.
Since then, the rebellious attitude has stood out at all times, especially when he traded his career as a model for a short musical career. From failure to failure, mental health and drug addiction led him down a turbulent path that ended up in a dilapidated hotel on the outskirts of Melbourne.
It was Nick who had to publicly announce the death of his son. “It is with great sadness that I confirm the death of my eldest son, Jethro Lazenby.” The father of four children, he has only two surviving. The traumatic experience is repeated seven years after he was forced to report the death of Arthur Cave.
Arthur and Earl were born on the same day, twins, the sons of the relationship between Cave and Susie Peak, which still exists. The two lived with the family in Brighton, unlike Locke, who was going to move to the UK and pursue a musical career, but also with Jethro.
Arthur’s death was totally unexpected. He fell from a ravine and suffered a fatal brain injury. The story did not begin to be composed until the following days, as new details were discovered. Arthur will be under the influence of LSD, a hallucinogenic drug. Several witnesses had seen the boy near the ravine, staggering in the grass, minutes before the fatal fall.
Tragedy changed the cave, whose musical work was deeply affected by the death of Arthur. A year later, the Australian released “Skeleton Tree”, his 16th studio album, which focused almost exclusively on grief and his relationship with his wife, Susie Beck. He also released a documentary about the album’s creation during this dark period – a way to avoid interviews and reveal himself to the public.
The same grim spirit overshadows the next two albums, “Ghosteen” and “Carnage,” which deal with themes such as loss, death, faith, anger, and frustration.
For several years, the cave remained closed to itself. Without interviews and public statements, what he believed on the subject was only realized through his music. However, he found a small haven: a self-created online forum where he interacts and talks with fans, The Red Hand Files.
“It seems to me that if we love, we also grieve. This is the agreement. This is the agreement. Sorrow and love are forever intertwined. He wrote in response to a fan who lost his father, sister and girlfriend: Grief is the terrible way in which we must realize the depth of our love, and like Love, the sadness is not negotiable.
When asked if he communicates with his son, he opens the cave. “I feel my son’s presence everywhere, even though he may not be around. I hear him talking to me, educating me, guiding me even though he may not be here. He visits Susie regularly in her sleep. He talks to her, consoles her, though he may not be really exists.”
Over the past few years, Cave has never avoided discussing the topic with fans. He even talked about the possible signs for his son after death.
“Two days after our son died,” he wrote, “Susie and I went to the valley where he had fallen.” “When Arthur was a little kid, he was always on the lookout for beetles, he was focused on them. He adored them and painted them and their symmetry. I was always talking about them.”
“While we were sitting there, a beetle fell on Susie’s hand. We watched it, but said nothing, because although we recognized its sad meaning, we didn’t want to downplay the tragedy by any idea of emotional magic. But then, we were new on grief.”
He admitted: “Since then, we’ve seen beetles everywhere.” When Warren Ellis [da sua banda] And I was working on the last record, a plague of beetles invaded the studio.”
“I don’t know what to do with this phenomenon, but when I see a beetle, I am shocked to realize that something is going on and that it is very far from my understanding – even if, in all likelihood, it is just the fact that it has to do with beetle season.”
Arthur was buried just minutes from the family home in Brighton. An affinity that soon becomes unbearable – and this leads to Keif deciding to move permanently to Los Angeles. He revealed in 2020: “I’ve wasted about a year or so, at which point we’ve done six soundtracks in a row, in the small studio in Ovingdean, which overlooks the church where Arthur is buried.”
He also admitted that the song “The Heart That Kills You,” written after Arthur’s death, explains the immense grief that drove the family to leave Brighton and move to Los Angeles. “We ended up going back, once we realized that wherever we lived, we would just mourn with us.”
He explained in November 2021, six months before news of another child’s death arrived: “These days we spend a lot of our time in London, in a small, secret pink house, where we feel very happy.”
It can’t be said that Nick Cave was oblivious to the tragedy. He first encountered it at the age of 19, when his father died in a car accident. An incident he admitted occurred at a time in his life when he was “extremely confused”. “The loss of my father created a void in my life, a space where my words began to float, come together and find their purpose.”
Conservative, he always chose to dodge reporters’ questions about it. “Go Google,” he would reply whenever the conversation touched on his childhood and his father’s death.
He eventually formed a band, a birthday party, with which he moved to the UK in search of fame, only to see it slowly disintegrate. The cave would have some of the blame for this disaster.
Addicted to heroin, he became persona non grata among the band members, who remember him as a “psychotic, drug addict, and megalomaniac type.”
About drugs, he was talking years later, as well as in dialogues with fans. Although he admits that quitting his addiction killed his creativity for half a year, he says going to NA meetings saved his life.
“I realize that they are resisting the idea [de recorrer aos NA]. You like it too. I never understood it in my heart – I never felt the connection with Narcotics Anonymous that others seemed to feel. It always seemed like a strange idea to me, I always felt like a stranger looking inside. I didn’t really commit myself.” “However, I think it is fair to say that had it not been for Narcotics Anonymous, I probably would not have survived my heroin addiction.”