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

Timeline: 1972

Bataclan bootleg

The Bataclan gig

On January 29 Lou Reed is scheduled to perform in the small club The Bataclan in Paris. He is joined on stage by Nico and John Cale, who performs The Biggest, Loudest, Hairiest Group of All and Empty Bottles, two tracks that never make it on to one of his studio albums.

Various bootlegs of this gig survive. An official release sees the light of day in 2003. The show was filmed by French TV.

There were some talks to repeat the performance in London, but Reed was not interested.

Dixieland And Dixie / The Biggest, Loudest, Hairiest Group of All

Dixieland And Dixie and The Biggest, Loudest, Hairiest Group of All are recorded for a single to fulfill a contractual obligation for CBS. Dixieland And Dixie can be found on the Seducing Down The Door compilation. The single itself was never released and the studio version of The Biggest, Loudest, Hairiest Group of All never sees the day.

The Academy In Peril

The Academy In Peril

The Academy In Peril is released in July. It is the first album on Reprise. Andy Warhol designed the cover. Future Rolling Stone Ron Wood, then a member of The Faces, plays slide guitar on The Philosopher. Legs Larry Smith of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band takes care of the narration of Legs Larry At Television Centre.

"I took three weeks in England to do The Academy In Peril, and it wasn't enough.
I spent a week at the Manor in England recording and after that I had the bare essentials of some pieces that I wrote down. I had to wait around for two weeks for the Royal Philharmonic, but I was pleased with the results. I had forgotten what it was like to work with musicians like that, who really need an authorative figure. I had to conduct the orchestra. The pieces were self-explanatory, but they needed someone to tell them where the beat was because there was no time signature on the music."

He wasn't too pleased about how the John Milton track came out:

"The results on John Milton are not entirely to my satisfaction because of the very low level of the cut. It's a long piano piece, the inspiration came to me after seeing a BBC tv Omnibus programme, I found Milton very interesting, what he did with language, his attitude to it-- very puritanical, very rigid.
The piece I have written is romantic, almost French impressionist. But the way it was recorded-- it was so soft. We were using this church in Cripplegate, London. But the orchestra hasn't go any presence.
It was really funny, you know, I used to be in an orchestra myself see, so I was a bit easy-going about the whole thing, like 'we'll try about that' but I know with classical symphony orchestras what they are really at home with is authoritarian figures. I think it would be a totally different story if I was conducting Brahms, but because I was doing my own stuff, which was written very strangely, it was a bit difficult for them. But they did very well, I think the way the approached it was like they would approached Cage or something like that."

Days of Steam single

Days of Steam / Legs Larry At The Television Centre

Days of Steam b/w Legs Larry At The Television Centre is released as single in the US and New Zealand.

Temper outtake

Temper, an outtake from the recording sessions, was released on the promotional 2LP compilation Troublemakers (Warner PRO A 857, 1980). Also released on the Seducing Down The Door compilation.


Heat soundtrack

The Andy Warhol produced movie Heat uses Days of Steam of The Academy In Peril album on the soundtrack. Warhol does the cover of that album as a return favour.

Modern Lovers demo sessions

Plays mellotron on Gilfriend and piano on Pablo Picasso on the demo sessions in March at the Elektra Studios, Los Angeles, for the their first album. Tim Mitchell in his book There's Something About Jonathan - Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers:

Cale instructed the engineers on how to set up the microphones and treated Jonathan's vocals with reverb and high treble, reducing his natural nasality. Clarity was maintained throughout, even during the guitar/organ battles of the instrumental breaks - if Cale had produced the Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat it might have sounded like this.

He went on to produce their album in 1973.


Producing Jennifer Warnes

He produces the Jennifer album by American singer-songwriter Jennifer Warnes and guides her through her version of Empty Bottles.

© 1999- Hans Werksman