Boy On Fire

A new exploration of the early life of Nick Cave has been published by Atlantic Books in the UK. The biography, titled ‘Boy On Fire’, was written by Sydney-based author Mark Mordue, who examines the artist’s adolescence before reaching notoriety as the frontman of post-punk band The Birthday Party.

Cave would become renowned in the ’80s as a goth rock icon and punk poet, later reinventing himself as a ruminative songwriter on albums like 1997’s ‘The Boatman’s Call’. Since the death of Cave’s son in 2015 — an event that prompted Mordue to narrow his book’s scope — the musician has reached a creative zenith with such cinematic albums as ‘Skeleton Key’ and ‘Ghosteen’. Mordue’s book eschews each of these periods of Cave’s dynamic career, instead focusing on the artist’s formative years growing up in rural Australia.

The biography arrives just a week after Cave and Ellis’s lockdown album ‘Carnage’ was released online. A “brutal but very beautiful record” in the words of the former, it offers a continuation of the expansive style the duo have cultivated over the past decade — both as the creative core of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and as feature film composers on works such as ‘The Proposition’ and ‘Wind River’.

Boy On Fire’ is out now in the UK.Nick Cave, 1975

Photo via Ashley Mackevicius