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‘For people who have a tendency to be more detached, this process may happen much later for them.’
But to grieve and to have lost those we feel most dearly about is symptomatic of the strength of one’s love, with Cave succinctly explaining the importance of the process to a fan who had also lost a loved one.
‘It seems to me that if we love, we grieve. Grief is the terrible reminder of the depths of our love and, like love, grief is non-negotiable.’
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Acclaimed for his potent and poignant lyrics in a discography that explores an eclectic variety of intense emotional states, Nick Cave has always used his art as an outlet to explore and vocalise his innermost thoughts.
Posting on his Red Hand Flies newsletter – a side-project which allows him to directly communicate with fans – the so-called ‘Godfather of Goth’ explained that his 2019 album Ghosteen was ‘haunted’, with his 17th studio album conceived with loss in mind, two years after his 15-year-old son Arthur died falling from a cliff.
In his carefully constructed and typically artfully worded response, he said he used his work as a way to communicate to loved ones who had passed away.
‘Perhaps the songs became a kind of free-floating conversation with the spirit world, buoyed up by the absence of the ones we love,’ Cave explained. ‘Perhaps the ghostly forms of the departed are all around us, magnetised toward the act of creation.’
Just seven years after he lost Arthur, 64-year-old Cave will now be forced to confront these immense feelings of haunting grief all over again. Earlier this week, he announced that his 30-year-old son, Jethro Lazenby, had died.
Jethro had had a tumultuous upbringing. Born just 10 days after Cave’s son Luke with Brazilian journalist Viviane Carneiro, Jethro was the result of the singer’s brief liaison with model Beau Lazenby in 1990. In a 2012 interview, Jethro revealed he did not meet his father until he was seven or eight.
‘It didn’t start off that great, having all this s*** with my dad and being in his shadow,’ he said at the time. ‘When someone thinks I’m a lucky little rich kid, I want to throttle them.’
Cave announced his son, Jethro Lazenby, had died (Picture: Richard Young/REX/Shutterstock)
Having inherited both his mother’s good looks and his father’s brooding gaze, Jethro’s future seemed a little brighter when he was a teenager: after ‘escaping’ Melbourne’s Collingwood district and staying on the sofa of a family friend in Stoke Newington, he had a successful modelling career, landing contracts with Balenciaga and Lou Dalton, as well as walking for Charles Anastase.
Cave went to see Jethro during his modelling heyday: ‘He was really proud of me,’ he recalled. ‘I think he realises how similar we are in a lot of ways now.’
However, it was around this time that Jethro, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, had fallen into the grips of a drug addiction.
Having violently assaulted an ex-partner in 2018 in a row about drugs, Jethro was awaiting sentencing after attacking his mother.
He had also racked up a number of other petty criminal charges, including stealing $12.50 worth of food from a nearby 7-Eleven.
Shortly before he was expected to undergo treatment for substance abuse, Jethro was found dead in a Melbourne motel that charged $100 a night – a far cry from the glamour and luxury he was accustomed to during
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