THE pivotal role played by Wangaratta in the life of singer Nick Cave will be a focus of a new biography.
Sydney journalist Mark Mordue has been working on the book "on and off for nearly a decade" and hopes to have it published next year.
An article based on his research and interviews with Cave has appeared on the Sydney Review of Books, an online literary journal.
Mordue said it was apparent Cave had a soft spot for Wangaratta, despite having once described it as a "horrible town".
"There's a lot of affection there and real love," Mordue said.
"He was in some respects pushed to leave Wangaratta because he was such a wild kid.
"He was pushed away to boarding school, he didn't do that willingly, and then he got pushed into a whole new scene in Melbourne."
Mordue noted Cave, who returned to Wangaratta for a concert in January, acknowledged his childhood town obliquely through songs such as Red Right Hand and Sad Waters.
"I think Nick really does care," Mordue said.
"He cares about where he came from and Wangaratta matters to him, Wangaratta was his dreaming place."
Mordue spent a "solid block of four days" in Wangaratta interviewing those with Cave connections and felt the atmosphere, particularly surrounding the Ovens River, was not too altered.
Having grown up in Newcastle, Mordue believes there is universal appeal in Cave's country upbringing.
"It's the classic Australian childhood, I reckon anyone could relate to it because it's really about the nature of childhood," Mordue said.
"It won't be a full biography, realistically the most I'd want to put out would be the young Nick Cave in his formative stages and that would be his growing up time in Wangaratta, which is a really important thing."
Asked if Wangaratta should honour Cave in some form, Mordue was reserved.
"It's up to the town but he would have to be the most famous person to have lived in the area apart from Ned Kelly," Mordue said.
Cave's western Victorian birthplace Warracknabeal has plans for a 10 per cent larger than life-sized statue of the musician topless astride a rearing horse.