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

Timeline: 1964

Theatre of Eternal Music

Theatre of Eternal Music, Dream Syndicate

Plays viola with the avant-garde group led by La Monte Young. Other members are Marian Zazeela and Tony Conrad.

Of one the groups fases, known as the Dream Syndicate, tapes have been circulating for decades. Copyright issues have bogged down many plans for releases this music.

Originally, a very limited edition LP of the Dream Syndicate was released. Only 98 copies were pressed.

Inside The Dream Syndicate Vol. 1: Day Of Niagara (1965), one of the groups compositions, was released 2000.

The composition The Tortoise, His Dreams and Journeys is performed by Theatre of Eternal Music,in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and New York in 1964 and 1965.

From the notes of La Monte Young:

The specific rules that governed the performance of my music, including the sections of The Tortoise, His Dreams and Journeys participated in by Tony Conrad and John Cale, create a sound characterized by the predominance of musical intervals whose numerators and denominators in just intonation are factorable by the primes 7, 3, and 2, and selected higher primes, especially 31, and by the exclusion of intervals whose numerators and denominators are factorable by the prime 5. If we represent intervals with numerators and denominators factorable by the primes 7, 3, and 2 in conventional music notation and terminology, we obtain intervals that include various sized major and minor sevenths (with emphasis on the septimally derived blues minor seventh in my compositions such as Bb Dorian Blues, Early Tuesday Morning Blues, Sunday Morning Blues, and The Tortoise), perfect fifths, octaves, unisons and their inversions, various sized major and minor seconds, and perfect fourths. The blues I was playing on the sopranino saxophone, directly preceding the period of The Tortoise, emphasized a technique I invented consisting of extremely fast combinationpermutations of a limited set of tones to simulate a sustained chord. And the chord I increasingly emphasized consisted of the pitches Eb, Bb, Db, Eb, (the IV-chord from Bb Dorian Blues) extended over the full range of the saxophone. Translated back into just intonation, these pitches are all examples of octave transpositions of the primes 7, 3, and 2.

Rehearsing with The Primitives

On December 3 The Primitives have a rehearsal at Walter De Maria's Bond Street loft in New York City. Cale will tour with the band in early 1965, promoting The Ostrich, a dance craze song written by Lou Reed as part of team with Jerry Vance, Jimmie Sims and Terry Philips. He is working as a writer of cash-in tracks at Pickwick Records. Reed:

"I just had a job as a songwriter. I mean, a real hack job. They'd come in with a subject, and we'd write. Which I still kind of like to this day."

The powers that be at the label thought that had a real hit at their hands and they needed a band to fool the kids. Cale and Conrad had long hair, so they got the call to join the ersatz band.

  1. Won't You Smile (1st take)
  2. The Ostrich (1st take)
  3. The Ostrich (2nd take)
  4. Won't You Smile (2nd take)
  5. Johnny Won't Surf Anymore
  6. Teardrops In The Sand
  7. Sad Lonely Orphan Boy
  8. Shame, Shame, Shame

Present at the rehearsal were John Cale, Tony Conrad, Walter De Maria, Lou Reed and Jimmie Sims. Won't You Smile is an early version of Why Don't You Smile Now. Shame, Shame, Shame is a Jimmy Reed cover.

© 1999- Hans Werksman