Anyone who watches Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds live will be more or less captivated by the musician coming out of the shadows and playing his guitar and violin. When I tell an acquaintance that we are meeting with Warren Ellis at the Finestres bookstore in Barcelona on a cloudy morning in May, he asks me if I’m scared. He appears to be the reincarnation of the devil himself on stage. But there is nothing beyond the truth. It seems that we meet a friendly and enthusiastic person of all living things and the stories that go through them. He didn’t come to tell us about his next concert at Primavera Sound this June or the movie ‘Nick Cave: I Know It’s So True’ (Andrew Dominik, 2022), which will premiere as a one-off event this year. Wednesday. The story of an object that is ordinary for some and loaded with meaning for others brought you here: Nina Simone’s gum.
Australian musician who had the chance to participate in 1999 One of Nina Simone’s last concerts. He was in London at the Meltdown festival organized by his creative partner Cave. ‘Doctor Simone’ (she asked to be addressed minutes before she went on stage) would die four years later. “It was very difficult for him to move, he slowly made his way to the front of the stage and the feeling in the room was physical, you could feel it, you could feel this energy… Listening to him was like listening to him. The voice of God.” During the show, Ellis explains that Simone “chews gum and smokes”.. Ellis’ fascination with the show prompted him to take to the stage and pick up Simone’s gum wrapped in a towel. The object has accompanied him for 20 years. Until Cave suggested that songs like ‘Into My Arms’ or ‘Red Right Hand’ be part of the ‘Stranger Than Good’ exhibition dedicated to the career of the creator of songs. “It was mystical to me. And I never thought it was mine or even owned it. I felt like I had taken care of this important object. But at some point I realized it was going to be trashed. And Nick’s exhibit was a great opportunity for people to see it.
This anecdote with tones of legend Around the object he captured in his book ‘El chicle de Nina Simone’ published this year by Alpha Decay publishing house. Some can expect a biography that Ellis will use. What you will find, however, is a tale of fascination with the seemingly insignificant, a document about it. find beauty where others will find only garbage and a tale of love and breakup where Ellis must break out of chewing gum to live a life of his own; finally to the world. “Gum gum has become a fundamentally spiritual totem for me. I’ve even been convinced that my music career is paying off because of it. Nina Simone’s spirit is protecting me,” says Ellis.
Before leaving the gum in the hands of others, I ordered 20 pieces of silver which shows us that you wear it around your neck. In the process of modeling and editing the exhibit, the gum changed hands and Ellis was always surprised by the reaction of all the people in front of the object. “People became attached to this banal object. And their actions were guided by love and care.” Christina, the curator of the exhibition, had nightmares about the gum disappearing and had to go to the museum in the middle of the night to check if the gum was still there. “But really, what you’re protecting is nothing. Something you can’t see. You can’t see the power of Nina Simone. It’s the story. It’s believing the story,” she says.
We ask him if the gum is coming, and he replies: believes it will be revealed in at least five to ten years all over the world. He denies that he can sell both the original gum and one of the 20 silver copies, even if he receives juicy offers. But she’s open to parting with one of them at a charity auction she’s running to raise money for Ellis Park. Shelter for animals with special needs managed on the island of Sumatra. We ended the interview not knowing what the flavor of gum was but making sure that if Ellis came from somewhere, it wasn’t exactly hell, quite the opposite.