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  • Post published:23/05/2021
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NewsMusic NewsWarren Ellis to release debut book ‘Nina Simone’s Gum’ in September

The non-fiction work is about “the meaning we place on things, on experiences, and how they become imbued with spirituality”

By Alex Gallagher

Warren Ellis
Warren Ellis. Credit: Press

Frequent Nick Cave collaborator and Bad Seeds multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis will make his authorial debut in September, with a book titled Nina Simone’s Gum.

  • READ MORE: Nick Cave & Warren Ellis – ‘Carnage’ review: the peak of their powers

Set to be released in the UK on September 2 via Faber & Faber, the non-fiction work is about a piece of Simone‘s chewed gum that Ellis acquired in 1999, when the jazz singer performed at London’s Meltdown Festival – which Cave curated that year.

As the story goes, an awestruck Ellis snuck onto the stage after seeing Simone perform, taking a piece of gum from her piano. The composer held onto it for two decades, eventually casting the gum in a silver and gold display as part of Cave’s Stranger Than Kindness exhibition.


According to a press release, Nina Simone’s Gum is about “the meaning we place on things, on experiences, and how they become imbued with spirituality” and “a celebration of artistic process, friendship, understanding and love.” The book will also feature an introduction by Cave.

Last month, Cave and Ellis released a collaborative 7″ single titled ‘Grief’, based on a letter sent to Cave’s Red Hand Files website. The release contained two songs, ‘Letter To Cynthia’ and ‘Song For Cynthia’. The former was written by Cave with music by Ellis, and the latter was composed and recorded as a duo.

Cave and Ellis surprised fans with the release of their first studio album as a duo back in February, with ‘Carnage’. In a five-star review, NME called the duo “two master craftsmen at the peak of their melodramatic powers” on the album.

“Cave and Ellis have taken a bold leap into the COVID era’s dark night of the soul, and found a truth that we all share.”

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