John Cale (c) Abbie Trayler-Smith
Fear Is A Man's Best Friend - John Cale

Timeline: 2010

Cale in Sydney 2010-01-15

"Circa 1979: Signal to Noise" in Sydney

Acts as Circa 1979: Signal to Noise keynote speaker at the Seymour Centre, Sydney, Australia - January 15. He talks about the early days with La Monte Young, The Velvet Underground, touring in the Seventies and recording with Eno and the LCD Soundsystem. He concludes:

"So that is kind of a tale of somebody who spent his time trying to fuck up sounds."

He ends with a really fucked up version of Heartbreak Hotel.

Mona Foma poster

"Excellent Artist in Residence" Dyddiau Du/Dark Days goes to Hobart

He is the Excellent Artist in Residence for the MOFO 2010 Festival in Hobart, Australia. This involves film screenings and a couple of live shows.

The multimedia piece Dyddiau Du/Dark Days that was created for the Venice Biennale will be shown in Hobart, Tasmania at the MONA FOMA. It runs from January 4 to 31, 2010.

"In Conversation" at the MoMa

He is interviewed on February 15 for the In Conversation series at Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, discussing Dyddiau Du/Dark Days.

He had to cancel his scheduled appearance on October 19, 2009, due to a knee injury.

John Cale in London 2010-03-05 (c) Fabio Lugaro

"Paris 1919" in London and Norwich

He repeats the performance of his Paris 1919 album in full at the Royal Festival Hall, London (March 5) and Norwich (May 14).

The Heritage Orchestra is booked for both concerts to supply the strings, brass and such.

UNcut April

Cale in Uncut

Picks ten records that have made a mark in his career in the April Issue of UK magazine Uncut:

  1. All Night Workers - Why Don't You Smile
    The record that made me love Lou Reed
    "It's all "Louie, Louie" changes, and the first song that Lou and I wrote on drunken evening. It was the b-side of a single by friends of Lou's. It was my first rock 'n' roll session and the guys were all popping pills. It was my introduction to collaborative songwriting. It had a simple beauty that gave absolutely no indication of the problems we would have later."
  2. Frank Zappa - Thing-Fish
    The record that made me hate Frank Zappa
    "I have a healthy resentment for him. He had a great, acid sense of humour, but this guy, with all his technique and ability, never did anything that made me want to love music. I think he trained himself in his expertise to spite his parents; he had contempt for the rock music he played. And self-contempt. Fear, loathing and self-hatred. Thing-Fish just postured at nihilism."
  3. Terry Riley - In C
    The record that made me love repetition
    "With Terry, repetition was a lot of fun. In C sounds different whenever you play it, like a cloud in a room. Everybody plays their part - it doesn't matter if they play together, it's this clatter. He'd play honky-tonk piano infuriatingly, a different time signature with each hand, and keep it going. Really good gymnastic mental exercise. But bubbly fun to hear."
  4. The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
    The record I wish I'd produced
    "I was just in awe of that album. I still am. The way Brian Wilson manipulated the studio, the strings and the arrangements, and the use of the voice as an instrument that was in there. There was a pair of ears that was at work there that was so entertaining and dealt with sounds so originally. I suppose he paid a heavy price."
  5. Yellow Swans - Dreamed
    The most punk record I know
    "They were a young Oregon band who split a couple of years back. They did morphing white noise and feedback, very aggressive. Suicide did something similar using beats and pulses - that stuff can be hallucinogenic. Punk is an in-your-face, anarchistic musical approach to social commentary. The Yellow Swans' sound grates on your nerves - like you've put your head in a jet engine. That's punk."
  6. John Cale - Sabotage/Live
    The record that makes me miss CBGB's
    "We had a lot of fun, recording it there on New Year's Eve. It was dark and greasy. You went there to lose control. I retain affection for the place. Not for the $8 beers, but it was a centre, and everybody knew about it and gravitated towards it. And at the end, Hilly (Kristal, founder and owner) wanted it moved to Vegas. That is branding. If I was a brand, I'd move to Las Vegas."
  7. Martha Reeves and The Vandellas - Dancing in the Street
    The record that makes me miss Andy Warhol
    "It's the signature tune of the Factory. Every time we'd go up there, Andy would just put it on the turntable and let it go. He'd do it all afternoon. I remember where the couch was, the silk screens on the floor, the giant Elvis propped up against the wall, the phone, and the toilet with no door. All silver."
  8. Clips - Wamp Wamp (What It Do)
    The record that makes me wish I was Pharrell
    "It's produced by Pharrell [Williams]. It's two guys from Virginia, and it's very abstract. There's no bass there. When I listen to it, I kick myself. I say, "Damn, how can you get more simple than that? How can you break that down?" Pharrell is a constant inspiration to me. "Drop It Like It's Hot" was a piece of imagination as powerful as anything on Pet Sounds. It turns me inside out."
  9. Kokane - Back 2 tha Clap
    The rap record I love the most
    "He was part of the original G-Unit. The track where you get to understand the passion of this guy is "When It Rains It Pours". It's about Hurricane Katrina. It's really soulful, tons of vocals and thunderstorms. And then at the end, he says something very uncharacteristic: "It's crazy, man, but I miss my mother". You don't expect guys in G-Unit to talk like that."
  10. Smetana - Ma Vlast
    The record that made me want to compose
    "It means "my land". It was a favourite of mine when I was a kid. It was very tuneful, like what you'd sing in a Welsh choir. It's not a leap for me to think of myself as a composer any more, but my head has moved on from that. I love going out on the road with my band now. I want that."

Note: Sabotage/Live was actually recorded in June 1979. Part of the Even Cowgirls Get The Blues live album was recorded on New Year's Eve 1979.

Live At Rockpalast

Rockpalast shows released

The 1983 and 1984 German Rockpalast shows are released on 2CD, 2LP and 2DVD. Both shows were taped and broadcasted by the WDR.

The 1983 concert is missing Risé, Sam And Rimsky-Korsakov which was performed by his then wife Risé. The limited audiophile vinyl edition of 2500 copies contains the full 1984 concert and four tracks from the 1983 show.

Stooges Handmade

Stooges: Rhino Handmade edition with all John Cale mixes

Rhino Handmade releases the Stooges Cale produced debut album yet again. The deluxe edition of 2005 contained alternate takes and a couple of the original John Cale mixes.

This time it's a lavish package (two CDs along with a 7” single) with the tracks of the studio release, outtakes and a studio version of Asthma Attack combined with the full John Cale mixes - We Will Fall and Ann are previously unreleased, Not Right was only available as the B-side of the 1970 7" 45rpm single.

John Cale live in Wroclaw 2010-03-27

Life Along the Borderline in Poland and Italy

Cale once again organises Life Along the Borderline: a tribute to Nico, taking the show to Wroclaw (March 27) and Rome (April 11).

Order of the British Empire

Order of the British Empire

On June 2, Queen Elizabeth II birthday, it is announced that he has been awarded with an Order of the British Empire for his contributions to music and the arts:

"I'm stunned. It makes you think 'well maybe I did something right'? - and now I've got to figure out what that was. I thought I was too much of a tearaway. "
Princes Charles and John Cale

He collects his OBE at Buckingham Palace in London on November 19, with prince Charles doing the honours:

Cale - who arrived at the palace with his hair dyed pink, white and blue - said it felt "strange" to receive an OBE.
Cale showing his OBE
"Someone has decided that you have done something right, and it is your job to figure out what that is. I had no idea it was coming. My mother would be very proud if she were alive today."


Leo Zero - Disconnect

"Spinning Away" on UK DJ album

UK DJ Leo Zero picks Spinning Away for his Disconnect compilation album.

Dyddiau Du/Dark Days goes to Essen

Dyddiau Du/Dark Days travels to Essen, Germany. Shows/screenings are held on July 9 and 10.

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Postcards From A Young Man

Keyboards and noise for the Manic Street Preachers

Contributes "keyboards and noise" to Auto-Intoxication, a track of the Postcards From A Young Man album by Welsh band Manic Street Preachers.

Agnes Obel

Agnes Obel covers "Close Watch"

Danish singer Agnes Obel covers (I Keep A) Close Watch on her Philharmonics album.

Robyn Hitchcock & Steve Wynn cover "Fear Is A Man's Best Friend"

Robyn Hitchcock & Steve Wynn perform Fear Is A Man's Best Friend at their July 1 show at Grand Kjelleren in Egersund, Norway.


Orup covers "Close Watch

Swedish singer and guitar player Orup covers (I Keep A) Close Watch on his Född i november album. He translated the lyrics and named the song Jag borde ha fattat.

"Paris 1919" in Paris, Brescia and Los Angeles

He repeats the performance of his Paris 1919 album in full at the Salle Pleyel, Paris (September 5) The Orchestre National d'Île-de-France is booked for supplying the strings and what-not. Bresica (September 11) and Los Angeles (September 30) are next.

John Cale performing Heartbreak Hotel in Australia 2010-20-23

Paris 1919, Noises In My Head & Seven Songs To Leave Behind in Melbourne

He goes down under for three appearances at the Melbourne Festival in October for yet another outing of Paris 1919 (October 16). He also is part of the Noises In My Head (October 19) and Seven Songs To Leave Behind (October 23) events.

Dyddiau Du / Dark Days

"Dyddiau Du / Dark Days" in Wales

Dyddiau Du / Dark Days goes home. The multimedia piece travels to Wales, to the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea (8 October – 7 November).

John Cale’s five screen installation Dyddiau Du / Dark Days moves from representing Wales at the 53rd Venice Biennale to its first showing in Wales at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea from 8 October as part of the Swansea Festival of Music and The Arts. This follows a showing in the MONA FOMA festival in Australia early in 2010 and a presentation of a live version at the Theater der Welt Festival in Essen Germany.

Staged in Venice in an evocative old brewery on the island of Giudecca, the installation, titled Dyddiau Du/Dark Days, takes the form of four episodes in film and sound across five screens. It was made in several locations in Wales including the unoccupied former family home in Garnant, Ammanford and with the collaborations of a choir and young orchestral players.


The piece is put on display again in Wales in the Summer of 2011 at the National Museum in Cardiff.

Radio 1 Classics Volume 1

"Dead Or Alive" on Belgian best off album

Dead Or Alive is included on the Belgian 2CD Radio 1 Classics Volume 1.

The Velvets' Sunday Morning also made the cut.

Cover of the January 2011 issue of UK music magazine Mojo

Superchunk cover "Child's Christmas in Wales"

American indie band Superchunk cover Child's Christmas in Wales for Mojo's Festive Fifteen, a free CD that accompanies the January 2011 issue of UK music magazine Mojo.

© 1999- Hans Werksman