- John Cale
Infobox Musical artist
Name = John Cale
Landscape = yes
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = John Davies Cale
Born = birth date and age|1942|3|9,
Garnant, Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, Wales, UK
Viola, vocals, organ, piano, harpsichord, keyboards, bass, guitar
Art rock, classical, drone, experimental rock, noise, protopunk
Musician, composer, singer-songwriter, record producer
Years_active = 1965–present
Theater of Eternal Music, The Velvet Underground, Nico, Lou Reed, Brian Eno, Kevin Ayers
URL = [http://john-cale.com/ john-cale.com]
John Davies Cale (born
March 9, 1942), better known as John Cale, is a Welsh musician, composer, singer-songwriterand record producerbest known as a founding member of the rock & rollband The Velvet Underground.
Though most well-noted for his work in rock music, Cale has worked in a variety of styles and genres, including drone, noise and classical. Since departing from The Velvet Underground, he has released approximately 30 albums. Of his solo work, Cale is perhaps best known for his album "Paris 1919", plus his mid-1970s
Island Recordstrilogy of albums: "Fear", " Slow Dazzle", and "Helen of Troy".
Over the course of his career, John Cale has produced and/or collaborated with notable artists
John Cage, Nico, Lou Reed, Nick Drake, Brian Eno, Kevin Ayers, Patti Smith, The Stooges, Squeezeand Siouxsie & the Banshees.
Early life and career
John Cale was born in
Garnantin the heavily industrial Amman Valley, and Welsh is his first language. Having discovered a talent for viola, he studied music at Goldsmiths College, the University of London, where he stayed in room E14 Raymont Hall (in Brockley). He then traveled to the U.S. to continue his musical training, thanks to the help and influence of Aaron Copland.
New York City, he met a number of influential composers. With John Cageand several others, Cale participated in an 18-hour piano-playing marathon that was the first full-length performance of Erik Satie's "Vexations". After the performance, Cale appeared on the television panel show " I've Got a Secret". Cale's secret was that he had performed in an 18-hour concert, and he was accompanied by a man whose secret was that he was the only audience member who had stayed for the duration. [ YouTube: [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYHIqMmtS-0 John Cale on "I've Got a Secret"] .] Cale also played in La Monte Young's ensemble the Theater of Eternal Music(also known as the Dream Syndicate, not be confused with the 1980s band of the same name). The heavily drone-laden music he played there proved to be a big influence in his work with his next group, the Velvet Underground.
Three albums of his early experimental work were released in 2001. One of his collaborators on these recordings was Velvet Underground guitarist
The Velvet Underground
In early 1965, he co-founded
The Velvet Undergroundwith Lou Reed, recruiting Reed's college friend Sterling Morrisonand Cale's flatmate Angus Macliseto complete the initial line-up. Cale was asked to leave the band in September 1968, due in part to creative disagreements with Reed.
The very first commercially available recording of The Velvet Underground, an instrumental track called "Loop" given away with "Aspen" magazine, was a feedback experiment written and conducted by Cale. He then appears on the Velvet Underground's first two albums, "
The Velvet Underground and Nico" (recorded in 1966, released in 1967) and " White Light/White Heat" (recorded in 1967, released in 1968). On these albums he plays viola, bass guitarand piano, and sings occasional backing vocals. "White Light/White Heat" features Cale on organ (on " Sister Ray") as well as two vocal turns: " Lady Godiva's Operation", an experimental song where he shares lead vocal duties with Reed, and " The Gift", a long spoken wordpiece written by Reed. Though Cale co-wrote the music to several songs, his most distinctive contributions is the electrically amplified viola.
Cale also played on
Nico's 1967 debut album, "Chelsea Girl", which features songs co-written by Velvet Underground members Cale, Reed and Morrison, who also feature as musicians. Cale makes his debut as lyricist on "Winter Song" and "Little Sister".
Apart from appearing on these three albums, he also played organ [Fricke, David. Liner notes to the ' compact disc, 1997] on the track "Ocean" during the demoing sessions for the band's fourth album "Loaded", nearly two years after he left the band. He was enticed back into the studio by the band's manager
Steve Sesnick"in a half-hearted attempt to reunite old comrades", as Cale put it. [Fricke, David. Liner notes to the " Peel Slowly and See" box set, 1995] Although he does not appear on the finished album, the demo recording of "Ocean" was included in the 1997 ' re-issue. Finally, five previously unreleased tracks recorded in late 1967 and early 1968 were included on the outtakes compilations "VU" (1985) and " Another View" (1986).
Cale is said to have influenced the group's early sound much more than any other members (and often disagreed forcefully with Reed about the direction the group should take). When Cale left, he seemed to take the more experimentalist tendencies with him, as is noticeable in comparing the noise-rock experimental "White Light/White Heat" (which Cale co-created) to the more pop-oriented "The Velvet Underground", recorded after his departure. However, it is noteworthy that his first four solo albums are noticeably quiet and accessible. Cale's tendency towards confrontational and "noisy" music would take four years to reemerge.
After leaving the Velvet Underground, Cale worked as a
record produceron a number of albums, including Nico's "The Marble Index", " Desertshore" and (later on Island) "The End". On these he accompanied Nico's voice and harmoniumusing a wide array of instruments to unusual effect. He also produced The Stooges' self-titled debut. He appeared on Nick Drake's second album, " Bryter Layter", playing viola and harpsichord on two of the album's tracks. While meeting with producer Joe Boyd, he came across Drake's music and insisted on collaborating with him. After a quick meeting, they wrote " Northern Sky" and "Fly".
In 1970, in addition to his career as a producer, Cale began to make solo records. His first, the pastoral "
Vintage Violence", is generally classified as folk-pop. Shortly thereafter, his collaboration with another classical musician, Terry Riley, on the mainly instrumental " Church of Anthrax", was released, although it was actually recorded almost a year prior. His classical explorations continued with 1972's " The Academy in Peril". He would not compose in the classical mode again until he began composing for soundtracks in the 1980s.
In 1972, he signed with
Reprise Recordsas performer and in-house producer. His " The Academy in Peril" was his first project for Reprise. His fourth solo record "Paris 1919" (1973) steered back towards the singer-songwriter mode. "Paris 1919," made up of songs with arcane and complex lyrics, has been cited by critics [ [http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:bx5m96bo3ep7 Paris 1919] from Allmusic.com] as one of his best. Artists he produced while at Reprise included Jennifer Warnes' third album, "Jennifer", as well as albums by Chunky, Ernie & Noviand The Modern Loverswhich Reprise chose not to release (it was subsequently released by Beserkley Records).
Cale's work as a producer continued. In 1974, he joined
Island Records, and worked in that capacity with Squeeze, Patti Smith, and Sham 69, among others. He produced a number of important protopunkrecords, including debuts by Smith and The Modern Lovers. During this period, he also worked as a talent scout with Island's A&Rdepartment.
Moving back to the
United Kingdom, Cale made a series of solo albums which moved in a new direction. His records now featured a dark and threatening aura, often carrying a sense of barely-suppressed aggression. A trilogy of albums - "Fear", " Slow Dazzle", and "Helen of Troy" were recorded with other Island artists including Phil Manzaneraand Brian Enoof Roxy Music, and Chris Spedding, who featured in his live band. This era of Cale's music is perhaps best represented by his somewhat disturbing cover of Elvis Presley's iconic " Heartbreak Hotel", featured both on "Slow Dazzle" and the live album " June 1, 1974", recorded with Kevin Ayers, Nico and Eno, and by his frothing performance on " Leaving It Up To You", a savage indictment of the mass mediafirst released on "Helen of Troy" (1975), but quickly deleted from later editions of the record due perhaps to the song's pointed Sharon Tatereference. It's also worth noting that both "Leaving" and " Fear Is A Man's Best Friend" (from "Fear") begin as relatively conventional songs that both gradually grow more paranoid in tone before breaking down into what critic Dave Thompson calls "a morass of discordance and screaming." [ [http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:6srsa9qgi2hs Fear] from Allmusic.com]
In 1977, he released the "Animal Justice"
EP, notable particularly for the epic "Hedda Gabler", based very loosely on the Ibsen play. His often loud, abrasive and confrontational live performances fitted well with the nascent punk rockdeveloping on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Cale took to wearing a hockey goaltender's mask onstage; see the cover of the "Guts" compilation (1977). This look predated "Friday the 13th"'s villain, Jason Voorhees, by several years. During one gig he chopped the head off a dead chicken with a meat cleaver, and his band walked offstage in protest. Cale's drummer — a vegetarian— was so bothered he quit the group. Cale mocks his decision on "Chicken Shit" from the "Animal Justice" EP. Cale has admitted that some of his paranoia and erratic behaviour at this time was associated with heavy cocaineuse. [Mitchell, Tim "Sedition and Alchemy : A Biography of John Cale", 2003, ISBN 0720611326]
In December 1979 Cale's embrace of the punk rock ethic culminated in the release of "
Sabotage/Live". This record, recorded live at CBGBthat June, features aggressive vocal and instrumental performances. The album consists entirely of new songs, many of which grapple confrontationally with global politics and paranoia. The band used includes Deerfranceon vocals and percussion. An earlier live set, consisting mostly of new material, was recorded at CBGB the previous year. It was released in 1991 as "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues". The band on that recording includes Ivan Kralof the Patti Smith Groupon bass and Judy Nylonon vocals.
In 1981, Cale signed with A&M Records and tried to move in a more commercial direction with the album "Honi Soit". He worked with producer
Mike Thornetowards this end [Thorne, Michael. [http://www.stereosociety.com/honisoit.html The making of John Cale's Honi Soit album] ] . Andy Warholprovided the cover art, in black and white, but against Warhol's wishes Cale colorized it. The new direction did not succeed commercially, however, and his relationship with A&M ended. Around this time, Cale married his third wife, Rise Irushalmi. (His first two marriages were to fashion designer Betsey Johnsonand to Cynthia Wells, better known as Miss Cynderella of The GTOs).
He signed with
Ze Records, a company he had influenced the creation of and which had absorbed Spy Records, the label he had cofounded with Jane Friedman. The next year, Cale released the sparse " Music For A New Society". Seeming to blend the refined music of his early solo work with the threatening music that came later, it is by any standard a bleak, harrowing record. It's been called "understated, and perhaps a masterpiece." [ [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:38q5g4httv8z~T1 Music for a New Society] from Allmusic.com]
He followed up with the album "
Caribbean Sunset", also on Ze. This work, with much more accessible production than "Music for a New Society", was still extremely militant in some ways. It has never seen release on CD. A live album, " John Cale Comes Alive", followed it and included two new studio songs, "Ooh La La" and "Never Give Up On You". His daughter Eden was born in July 1985.
In a last effort at commercial success, Cale recorded "Artificial Intelligence" for Beggars Banquet records. This album, written in collaboration with Larry "Ratso" Sloman, was characterized by synthesizers and drum machines and is entirely written in the pop idiom. It was not significantly more successful than its predecessors, despite the relative success of the single "Satellite Walk." It has been voted Cale's worst album by the Sabotage2 mailing list.
Thereafter, in part because of his young daughter, Cale took a long break from recording and performing.
He made a comeback in 1989 with vocal and orchestral settings of poems by
Dylan Thomas. Notable among these is " Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night", which he performed on stage in the concert held in Cardiff in 1999 to celebrate the opening of the Welsh Assembly. The music was recorded in 1992 with a Welsh boys' choir and a Russian orchestra, on an Eno produced album: " Words for the Dying". "Words for the Dying" also included a pair of electric piano "Songs Without Words" and a Cale/Eno collaboration, "The Soul of Carmen Miranda."
1990s and beyond
In 1990, he again collaborated with Eno on an album entitled "
Wrong Way Up". This was another of Cale's uneasy working relationships, and he remains bitter about his experience with Eno. One of the songs, "Lay My Love" was on the Northern Exposuresoundtrack "More Music From Northern Exposure" released in 1994. Cale covered Leonard Cohen's song "Hallelujah" on the 1991 tribute album " I'm Your Fan". Cale's cover of "Hallelujah" was used in the 1996 film, Basquiat, and the 2001 film, " Shrek", in the latter film one line of the lyric ("Maybe there's a God above") was edited from the song; however, Rufus Wainwright's performance of the song was included on the film's official soundtrack instead of Cale's. It is however included in the official soundtrack for the TV-series Scrubs.
In 1992, Cale performed vocals on the song "First Evening" on French producer
Hector Zazou's album "Sahara Blue". All lyrics on the album were based on the poetry of author Arthur Rimbaud. In 1994, Cale performed a spoken word duet with Suzanne Vegaon the song "The Long Voyage" on Zazou's album " Chansons des mers froides". The lyrics were based on the poem "Les Silhouettes" by author Oscar Wildeand Cale co-wrote the music with Zazou. It was later released as a single (retitled "The Long Voyages" as it featured several remixes by Zazou, Mad Professor, and more).
Songs for Drella", saw him reunited with Reed, in a tribute to one-time Velvet Underground manager and mentor Andy Warhol. Though the reconciliation was fruitful, old differences resurfaced, causing tension. In his autobiography, Cale revealed that he resented letting Lou take charge of the project. The collaboration eventually led to the brief reunion of the Velvet Underground in 1993.
"Nico", an instrumental ballet score and tribute to the singer was performed by Scapino Rotterdam plus an added selection from "The Marble Index" in 1998, with the score released as "Dance Music". That same year, Cale was also the organizer of the "With A Little Help From My Friends" festival that took place at the Paradiso in
Amsterdam. The concert was shown on deutsch national television and featured a song especially composed for the event and still unreleased, "Murdering Mouth" sang in duet with Siouxsie Sioux.Cale has also written a number of film soundtracks, often using more classically influenced instrumentation. His version of Hallelujah was used in the credits in a mini-documentary about John Frusciante's life, called Stuff. Cale's autobiography, "What's Welsh for Zen?", was published in 1999.
John Cale was paid tribute by
John Cameron Mitchellin the 1998 off-Broadway and 2001 film versions of the rock musical " Hedwig and the Angry Inch". As the title character, Mitchell employed a vocal affect and cadence that imitate Cale's, particularly his spoken word performance on "The Gift" from the 1968 Velvet Underground album "White Light/White Heat".Fact|date=June 2007
With 2003's E.P. "
Five Tracks" and the album " HoboSapiens", Cale again returned as a regular recording artist, this time with music influenced by modern electronicaand alternative rock. The well received album was co-produced with Nick Franglenof Lemon Jelly. That record was again followed with 2005's album " BlackAcetate".
In 2005, Cale produced Austin singer-songwriter
Alejandro Escovedo's eighth album, " The Boxing Mirror", which was released in May 2006. In June 2006, Cale released a radio and digital single, "Jumbo in tha Modernworld," that was unconnected to any album. A video was created for the song as well.
In March 2007 a 23-song live retrospective, "
Circus Live", was released in Europe. This two-disc album, composed of recordings from both the 2004 and 2006 tours, featured new arrangements and reworkings of songs from his entire career. Of particular interest is the "Amsterdam Suite", a set of songs from a performance at the Amsterdam "Paradiso" in 2004 (archived by the venue on their [http://www.fabchannel.com/john_cale internet performance repository] ). A studio-created drone has been edited into these songs. The set also included a DVD, featuring electric rehearsal material and a short acoustic set, as well as a "Jumbo in Tha Modernworld" for 2006 single.
In May 2007, Cale contributed a cover of
LCD Soundsystemsong "All My Friends" to the vinyland digital single releases of the LCD Soundsystem original. Cale has continued to work with other artists, contributing viola to the forthcoming Danger Mouse-produced second album by London psychedelictrio The Shortwave Setand producing the second album of American indie band Ambulance Ltd.
Early recordings: New York in the 1960s (With the
Theatre of Eternal Music)
* "" (Table of the Elements) 2000
Sun Blindness Music" (Table of the Elements) 2001
* "Inside The Dream Syndicate Vol. II: Dream Interpretation" (Table of the Elements) 2001
* "Inside The Dream Syndicate Vol. III: Stainless Gamelan" (Table of the Elements) 2001
With the Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground and Nico" (Verve) March 1967
White Light/White Heat" (Verve) January 1968
* "VU" (Verve, outtakes compilation) February 1985
Another View" (Verve, outtakes compilation) September 1986
Live MCMXCIII" (Sire) November 1993
Peel Slowly and See" (Polydor, box set) September 1995
* "Loaded (Fully Loaded Edition)" (Rhino Records) 1997†
The Very Best of the Velvet Underground" (Polydor, compilation) April 2003
† Although Cale had left The Velvet Underground two years before they released their 1970 album "Loaded", he was briefly involved in the demo stages of that record. The 1997 2CD reissue of that album contains a demo of "Ocean" that is believed to feature Cale playing the organ.
Vintage Violence" (Columbia) December 1970
The Academy in Peril" (Reprise) April 1972
* "Paris 1919" (Reprise) March 1973
* "Fear" (Island) September 1974
Slow Dazzle" (Island) March 1975
* "Helen of Troy" (Island) November 1975
* "Guts" (compilation) (Island) February 1977
* "Animal Justice (EP)" (Illegal IL 003, UK) September 1977
Sabotage/Live" (IRS) December 1979
* "Honi Soit" March 10, 1981
Music For A New Society" (Ze) August 1982
* "Caribbean Sunset" (Ze) June 1983
* "John Cale Comes Alive" (Ze) September 1984
* "Artificial Intelligence" (Beggars Banquet) September 1985
Words for the Dying" (Opal/Warner Bros.) October 1989
* "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues" (live) (
* "Paris S'eveille, Suivi d'Autres Compositions" (OST) (Crepuscule) November 1991
Fragments of a Rainy Season" (live) (Hannibal) October 1992
* "23 Solo Pieces pour La Naissance de L'Amour" (Crepuscule) November 1993
* "N'Oublie Pas Que Tu Vas Mourir" (Crepuscule) 1994
* "Seducing Down The Door" (compilation) (Rhino) 1994
* "Antartida" (OST) (Crepuscule) 1995
Walking on Locusts" (Hannibal) September 1996
* "Eat/Kiss: Music for the Films of Andy Warhol" (Hannibal) June 1997
* "Somewhere In The City" (OST) August 1998
* "Nico: Dance Music" October 1998
* "The Unknown" (OST) (Crepuscule) 1999
* "Le Vent De La Nuit" (OST) (Crepuscule) March 1999
* "Close Watch: An Introduction to John Cale" (compilation) - 1999
* "5 Tracks" (EP) (EMI) May 2003
HoboSapiens" (EMI) October 2003
* "Process" (OST) (Syntax) July 2005
blackAcetate" (EMI) October 2005
* "Jumbo In Tha Modern World (CD single)" (EMI) July 2006
Circus Live" (live) (EMI) February 2007
Church of Anthrax" (with Terry Riley) (Columbia) April 1971
June 1, 1974" (with Kevin Ayers, Brian Eno, Nico) (Island) 1974
Songs for Drella" (with Lou Reed) (WEA) April 1990
Wrong Way Up" (with Brian Eno) (All Saints) October 1990
* "Last Day on Earth" (OST, with
Bob Neuwirth) (MCA) May 1994
* "First Evening" by
Hector Zazoufeaturing John Cale, from the Hector Zazou album "Sahara Blue" (La Grande Hall-La Villette/Crammed Discs) 1992
* "The Long Voyages" (single) by
Hector Zazoufeaturing Suzanne Vega& John Cale, from the Hector Zazou album "Chansons des mers froides" (Sony Music) 1995
Gone Again" (with Patti Smith) (Arista) June 1996
* "I Wanna Be Around" (with Jools Holland's Small World Big Band) (Import) 2001
Le Bataclan '72" (with Lou Reedand Nico) 2004
These People Are Nuts(featuring the single "Jack The Ripper") (IRS) 1989
* "The Stooges" (by
The Stooges) (Elektra) 1969
* "The Marble Index" (by
Desertshore" (by Nico) 1970
Jennifer" (by Jennifer Warnes) 1972
* "The End" (by
* "Chunky, Novi & Ernie" (by Chunky, Novi and Ernie) (co-produced with
Ted Templeman) (Warners) 1973
* "Horses" (by
Patti Smith) (Arista) 1975
* "The Modern Lovers" (by
The Modern Lovers) (Beserkley) 1976
UK Squeeze" (by UK Squeeze) 1978 - in US - " Squeeze" (by Squeeze) - in UK
Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out)"(by Happy Mondays) 1987
* "Louise Féron" (by
Louise Féron) (Virgin) 1991
* "The Rapture" (by
Siouxsie and the Banshees) (Wonderland) 1994
* "The Boxing Mirror" (by
Alejandro Escovedo) 2006Soundtrack for films " Basquiat", "" and " Smokin' Aces".
*Rogan, Johnny (2006). Van Morrison:No Surrender, London:Vintage Books ISBN 9780099431831
*Mitchell, Tim "Sedition and Alchemy : A Biography of John Cale", 2003, ISBN 0720611326
* "The New Musical Express Book of Rock", 1975, Star Books, ISBN 0 352 300744
* [http://www.john-cale.com/ john-cale.com] official website
* [http://www.myspace.com/johncaleofficialsite John Cale] at
*imdb name|0129816|John Cale
* [http://www.xs4all.nl/~werksman/cale Fear Is A Man's Best Friend] extensive fan site
* [http://www.ubu.com/sound/cale.html UbuWeb: John Cale] featuring music from "Aspen No. 5+6"
* [http://home.nyc.rr.com/alweisel/rollingstonejohncale.htm John Cale Interview] John Cale Interview
* [http://www.mentalcontagion.com/mcarchive/examinations/examinations0409.html Essay on Cale in Examinations Archive]
* [http://blog.fragmentsofcale.net/ Fragments of Cale] , track-by-track review of Cale's work
* [http://www.studio360.org/episodes/2006/06/02 John Cale on "Studio 360" radio program]
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