The Crimson Sinister Manipulator

More details concerning Nick's Red Right Hand

One of Nick's most popular songs to date has been Red Right Hand from the album Let Love Inn. It's available on the X-Files soundtrack and was in the movies Scream and Dumb and Dumber (of all places).

Elisabeth Hoerning translated this from an interview with Nick. (From: Spex, May 1994; Joerg-Uwe Albig: Nick Cave, Die Erkennbarkeit Gottes, pp. 26-29)

Spex: But here you're clearly talking about the devil.

Nick: I'm really not sure what about I'm talking there, to be really honest with you. I have to sing a few verses with the music that we have written together. I sang, how it was in my head ("Ich sang, wie es mir in den Kopf kam"). So this is a somewhat mysterious song for me. I suppose, Red Right Hand is a hand, plunged in blood, you know? It is the Evil. It is about someone, who pretends to be the saviour, but he isn't.

Spex: Consequently the Devil.

Nick: You can say that's the Devil. But it is only a song about... it is only that, what it is. ("Aber es ist einfach ein Lied ueber... es ist einfach das, was da ist")

The original reference for this evil appendage comes from John Milton's Paradise Lost. Thanks to Michael J Collins. The full text is available online at There's more Milton available at gopher://

Paradise Lost, Book II, Lines 163-190:

What can we suffer worse? Is this then worst,
Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms?
What when we fled amain, pursued and strook
With Heaven's afflicting thunder, and besought
The deep to shelter us? This hell then seemed
A refuge from those wounds. Or when we lay
Chained on the burning lake? That sure was worse.
What if the breath that kindled those grim fires
Awaked should blow them into sevenfold rage
And plunge us in the flames? Or from above
Should intermitted vengeance arm again
His red right hand to plague us? What if all
Her stores were opened, and this firmament
Of hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps
Designing or exhorting glorious war
Caught in a fiery tempest shall be hurled
Each on his rock transfixed, the sport and prey
Of racking whirlwinds, or for ever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean; wrapped in chains
There to converse with everlasting groans
Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved
Ages of hopeless end? this would be worse.
War therefore, open or concealed, alike
My voice dissuades, for what can force or guile
With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye
Views things all at one view?...


Robert Cooper noted:

While browsing through the lyrics booklet for Let Love In, I noticed the info about Red Right Hand. To quote directly...

Cave - vocals, organ, oscillator
Harvey - guitar, shaker, bell
Bargeld - guitar; casey - bass
Wylder - drums, timpani, fish Okay, I may just be being silly, but I don't know of any instrument called "fish". Anyone like to clear this up for me, before I go completely mad...?

Kim Beissel replied:

It's probably the "Latin" pecussion instrument also known as a "Guiro" which I believe translates as fish. It's a hollow gourd that is fashioned to look like a fish, you hold it in your left hand and scrape the ridges on it's back with a stick. It makes a rachet-like sound.


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