John Cale
Fear Is A Man's Best Friend - John Cale

John Cale setlists - the sixties

On the road songbook


Goldsmiths' College

He plays viola in the first movement of the Trout Quintet by Franz Schubert at the Christmas showcase in 1961. Also peformed are two poems by Laurie Lee. Cale has composed the settings for unaccompanied voice.

He participates in a class concert on August 12, 1962 and plays three solo pieces by other composers on December 8, 1962.

After winning the "most hateful student" award, given by its department heads, Cale pulls the plug at the end his college days on July 6, 1963. He performs La Monte Young's X for Henry Flynt by kneeling at the piano and smashing the keys with his elbows.

At the same show Robin Page came screaming down from the balcony, performing Cale's Plant Piece. A potted plant was set on stage and the idea was to scream at it until it died. The plant survived, the audience was not that pleased. Piano Piece (unsequel music 212b) was the third Cale composition.

Cale on I've Got A Secret


Cale is one of the eleven performers of Vexations, a composition for piano by Eric Satie at the Pocket Theatre in New York - September 9-10, 1963. He plays through the piece just once on the TV show I've Got A Secret, September 16, 1963.

Dream Syndicate

Theater of Eternal Music

Performs with the avant-garde ensemble Theater of Eternal Music led by La Monte Young 1963-1965. The Tortoise, His Dreams and Journeys is the most performed piece from 1964 onwards. Cale's final show with the group is at the Cinematheque, New York (December 6, 1965).

"I'd never been involved of music of that kind before, where you sustained a drone for an hour and a half, every day, for a year and a half."

Of one the groups fases, known as, the Dream Syndicate, tapes have been circulating for decades. Inside The Dream Syndicate Vol. 1: Day Of Niagara (1965), one of the groups compositions, was released 2000.

With the Primitives

The Primitives

Cale goes on tour with The Primitives in 1965 to promote Lou Reed's offbeat dance craze The Ostrich. He doesn't perform on the actual recording.

"When I first met Lou Reed at the beginning of 1965, he was a 22-year old songwriter at Pickwick Records in Long Island City, and I was a 22-year old avant-garde musician in La Monte Young's Theatre of Eternal Music. We were introduced by a Pickwick producer, Terry Phillips, who thought I was a pop musician because I had long hair. He asked me, Tony Conrad and a friend, the sculptor Walter de Maria, to form a band with Lou called the Primitives. Phillips wanted to publicize a song had written and recorded in a back room and Pickwick has released as a single, 'The Ostrich', by a fictious band, the Primitives."
With the Primitives

TV show American Bandstand needed a band, so:

"The pop programme American Bandstand wanted them to perform this on TV, so Phillips was forced to put out an appropriate-looking band together. We thought it would be fun, and as a lark spent a couple of weekends playing the TV show and a few other East Coast gigs. Even though the record bombed, the experience of being in a rock band, however ersatz, gave Lou and me the opportunity to connect."
Lou Reed, Nico and John Cale. January 13, 1966. Live at the psychiatrists convention at the Delmonico's Hotel, New York. © 1966 Adam Ritchie

The Velvet Underground

Cale performed with The Velvet Underground from 1965-1968, in 1990 at Jouy-En-Josas. the 1993 reunion tour and at the induction in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland in 1996.

© 1999- Hans Werksman