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

Timeline: 2017

John Cale with Lawrence Weiner

Keynote for The Kitchen in New York

Invited by board member James Murphy he delivered a speech for a benefit for Art Space The Kitchen the Hammerstein Ballroom, New York on April 17. All attendes are presented with a toe bag printed with a Fear s a man’s best friend. He discussed language:

"Language was both a problem and an inspiration for me. I grew up with my mother speaking Welsh, and the rest of my family speaking Welsh. I was seven years old when I learned English at school, and could speak to my father and have a conversation."

And improvisation:

"The BBC would come by and see what’s going on with the student body. I’d written a toccata in the style of Khachaturian, and they said, ‘Oh really? Let’s see it.’ And they went away and came back about three weeks later and said, ‘Let’s record.’ And I said, ‘O.K., give me the music back.’ And they said, ‘Whoops, we’ve forgotten it.’ So immediately I had to get on with it and play the piece, and improvise the end of the piece. And that was where the danger was."

The other keynote speaker was conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner.

Bob Stanley And Pete Wiggs Present English Weather

Big White Cloud

Big White Cloud is included the Bob Stanley And Pete Wiggs Present English Weather compilation. It is an album with the tracks from the Seventies:

"The autumnal sound of Britain at the turn of the 70s, looking out through wet window panes to a new decade with a mixture of melancholy and optimism for what might come next. With the Beatles gone and the pound sinking, a new and distinctive sound emerges, led by flutes and mellotrons."
Poster for the Liverpool show

The Velvet Underground & Nico in Liverpool

He re-imagines The Velvet Underground & Nico once again in Liverpool @ Clarence Docks on May 26 as part of the Sound City festival. He is joined on stage by special guests The Kills, Gruff Rhys, Clinic, Nadine Shah, Fat White Family & Wild Beasts. Critical reception was mixed. Lots of complaints - it was an outdoor show for an 11.000 audience - about the sound quality.

The next day (May 27) he is interviewed by David Halsam about the performance and The Velvets legacy.

John Cale with Eden Cale

Performing at his daughter's wedding

He performs (I Keep A) Close Watch on piano at the wedding of his daughter Eden with Jack Levinson on June 10 in New Canaan.

Grammy Salute to Music Legends in New York

He performs Sunday Morning and I'm Waiting For The Manat the Grammy Salute to Music Legends show at the Beacon Theatre, New York, USA on July 11. The Velvet Underground were among the recipients of The Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award. Maureen Tucker joined the band on percussion.

"Lou, Sterling, Andy, wherever you are. Look at us. The establishment caught up with us at last."

The Velvet Underground & Nico in New York

John Cale revisits The Velvet Underground & Nico at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) in New York (November (16-(17)), followed by an outing of Life Along the Borderline: a Tribute to Nico (November (18):

For the first two nights, Cale is accompanied by members of the Wordless Music Orchestra and special guests to perform the album that charted the course of underground music for decades to come. Fifty years after its release, The Velvet Underground & Nico remains a raw, bracing transmission from the downtown demimonde of 1960s New York City, combining Lou Reed’s streetwise lyrics, Nico’s husky contralto, and Cale’s Fluxus-inspired electric viola. In the final evening of this engagement, Cale celebrates 75 years, backed by the Wordless Music Orchestra and Chorus. They perform selections from his legendary, impossible-to-pin-down career, including his landmark work with the Velvet Underground, the baroque pop perfection of Paris 1919, pioneering forays into drone minimalism, and beyond.

© 1999- Hans Werksman