“Little crimeworn histories”: Nick Cave and the Roots-Raves-Rehab Story of Rock Stardom

  • Mark A. McCutcheon
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Music and Literature book series (PASTMULI)


This chapter investigates the music of Nick Cave as a case study in a Romantic story of rock stardom that structures hegemonic productions, receptions, and representations of rock music and artists. As a kind of character and a kind of career, the rock star develops between a Byronic aesthetic of transgression and an ambivalent relation to music tradition, between a Romantic ethos of anti-capitalism and the attainment of commercial prosperity. To reconcile the rock star’s Romantically conditioned contradictions, and to legitimize the star’s achievement of success through excess, the rock formation has constructed and popularized a redemption narrative that propels the rock artist-protagonist through a three-part plot: from Roots, through Raves, to Rehab.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark A. McCutcheon
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for HumanitiesAthabasca UniversityAthabascaCanada

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