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

Timeline: 2009

Cale in Venice

Representing Wales at Venice Biennale

John Cale represented Wales at the 53rd Venice Biennale of Art 2009 in Italy with a new, specially commissioned installation.

It's called Dyddiau Du/Dark Days, a multimedia project about his Welsh heritage, including footage of Garnant - the sunrise is filmed at the house where he was born - and the nearby Black Mountains. He used five high resolution screens for the movies. The footage was accompanied by a new song written for the occasion.

Cale in Venice
"Re-engaging with Wales was a very important part of this piece. (..) It involved my approach to my music, it involved my approach to my parents, my house. And how it refelected in my life nowadays."
Julie Covington ... plus

Julie Covington ... plus

The expanded CD-reissue Julie Covington ... plus contains her Only Women Bleed single (1977) on which Cale played keyboards, a song that was not released on her self-titled debut album. On that album he played piano and clavinet on four songs: (I Want To See The) Bright Lights, By The Time It Gets Dark, How and The Kick Inside.

Elbow with John Cale

Presenting a Mojo Award

On June 11 he presents UK band Elbow with the Mojo Award for One Day Like This as best song of the year at The Brewer in London.

He picked the Elbow track Switching Off as one of his Desert Island Discs for the long-running BBC program in 2004.

Cale on BBC Wales

On heroin for BBC Wales

Serves as host for the Week In Week Out program about heroin use in Wales. He interviews users and talks about his own drug use in the sixties and beyond. He watches footage of his 1984 Rockpalast show.

Museum of Modern Art

"In Conversation" at the MoMa (cancelled)

Cale would have been part of the In Conversation series at Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, discussing the Venice Biennale project on October 19. He had to cancel, due to a knee injury. From New York Times art blog:

A Monday evening program featuring John Cale of the Velvet Underground at the Museum of Modern Art has been canceled because of the artist’s sports-related injury, his manager Anita Scott said on Monday.

At the event, “In Conversation: An Evening With John Cale,” Mr. Cale was to discuss his recent media installation, “Dyddiau Du” (Dark Days), currently on view in the Wales Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. The event was part of Modern Mondays, the museum’s weekly forum about film and media.

Mr. Cale, who participates in stair-climb races in skyscrapers, was training on Friday in Los Angeles, when he injured his knee. The doctor recommended that the artist not fly because of the pressurized cabin. Mr. Cale plans to reschedule, Ms. Scott said.

The conversation would take place on February 15, 2010 instead.

Kats Caravan - The history of John Peel on the radio

Fear on John Peel box set

Fear Is Man's Best Friend, the final song of four songs of Cale recorded at May 1, 1975 studio session in London for the long running BBC program hosted by John Peel is released on the 4CD box set Kats Caravan - The History of John Peel on the Radio.

The first three songs can be found on the bootleg LP Take Off Your Mask.

Uncut December 2009

On the Velvets in Uncut

Cale is interviewed in the December issue of UK music magazine Uncut about The Velvet Underground. He was furious when Lou Reed changed the first line of Heroin:

"I thought he blew it completely. It was such a good song once. The whole song was much more powerful with the original opening line, that positive statement. 'I know where I'm going.' You're committed when you do that. When he sang, 'I don't know where I am going,' Lou was stepping back into folk music, turning into Joan Baez again."
Poster for the Cardiff show

Paris 1919 in Cardiff

He performs the Paris 1919 album live in its entirety at The Coal Exchange in Cardiff - November 21 as part of the Sounttracks festival. He used his regular band and a 19 piece orchestra.

He is interviewed the day before the gig about scoring films. At the Q&A he said the original score CD for American Psycho was cancelled because the films producers wanted the publishing rights to Cale's music for the film. Cale told them "no".

© 1999- Hans Werksman