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

Timeline: 2022

Mark Lanegan

Mark Lanegan dies

American singer Mark Lanegan dies on February 22. He performed at the Life Along Borderline concerts in London (2008) and Rome (2010), and the Velvets re-imagination show in Paris in 2016, and the LA show of Paris 1919. He covered I'm Not The Loving Kind on his 2013 album Imitations.

"The Gift: A Celebration of John Cale" on BBC Wales

To tie in with his 80th birthday on March 9 BBC Radio Wales broadcasted The Gift: A Celebration of John Cale. He is interviewed by Elis James, discussing his career, influences and his unrelenting need to reinvent and reconstruct. "An amplified viola will clear a room faster than a stink bomb." Also a wealth quotes by Brian Eno, Lou Reed, Gruff Rhys, James Dean Bradfield, David Bowie and more.

Norman Dolph

Norman Dolph dies

The American songwriter, painter, music industry executive and entrepreneur Norman Dolp, dies of cancer on May 11. He acted as engineer during the recording sessions at Scepter Studios in New York in April 1966. He cut two acetates on April 25, 1966 with alternate versions of The Velvet Underground & Nico. One of them pops up on eBay in 2006, causing a bidding war and a lot of excitement. It gets an official release on The Velvet Underground & Nico - 45th anniversary deluxe edition box set in 2012.

Bob Neuwirth & John Cale in 1994

Bob Neuwirth dies

American musician and visual artist Bob Neuwirth dies on May 18. He made Last Day On Earth with Cale in 1994. It was created as 'a blueprint for theatre', but that never happens. The music is performed live during an extensive tour in Europe, playing shows in Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

"I'm saddened to hear the news of Bob Neuwirth's passing. Having had the pleasure of working with him over the years, many of us were struck by the ease that he partnered with others to create lyrics and make music. It was the keystone to his magnetism and I will miss that easygoing presence all the way from Woodstock to Gerde's Folk City. Have a good rest, Bobby."

European tour cancelled; UK tour rescheduled

COVID puts a damper on a European tour that would have happened in July:

"The thing we tried relentlessly to avoid, has now run rampant through our camp. Sadly, we must postpone our July tour. We're gutted. We tried everything to keep it together but Covid has its own path and it's own terms. Finally, the world is opening up and things started to feel normal again. We're all learning how to navigate touring from a very different perspective. Like whack-a-mole, it just pops up whenever you think it's under control! One person catches it; forced shut down, isolate, test, regroup, repeat. We've tried alternate musicians, re-configurations, backup personnel, only to have it fall apart again and again. We've been so eager to get back on the road and play for live audiences, we vowed to keep trying anything & everything to make it work. Unfortunately, these last few days have created yet another setback that's made it clear we need to pause and allow everyone time to get healthy, re-charge and start up again with the full energy we've been preparing to bring you. We've missed you all more than you can imagine. The bright spot that kept spirits up during these past two years, has been knowing we'd play live again. We are working to reschedule shows as quickly as possible. Please watch this space for more details. Stay safe everyone."

The UK leg of the tour is rescheduled until the Fall, but cut short after four shows, when the virus strikes yet again:

"Many of you know, we've been fighting hard to resume these dates. Its been brutal. We're sat here in the UK, unable to do anything other than wait for everything to become safe again. It has not. We tried everything to continue on but things are not better, they are actually worse as the days ticked by. I know many of you are rightfully frustrated with this news, for which I can only apologize and let you know how truly sorry I am for these circumstances. You must know in your hearts, we didn't embark on this level of commitment, time, energy and gripping expense to simply just stop performing. Heartbroken is really the best description I've got.

We did everything we could to steer clear of this dreadful nightmare. Somehow, it got us in the end.

We are committed to making up these dates and will make sure they are first up on the next tour.

I hope you'll have faith and join us in a few months. The shows we did manage to play on this run were some of my recent favorites. Truly warmed our hearts getting back to what matters most, playing for you all. In the best of times, its not an easy fete to tour these days. However, its what I still find the most satisfying. To feel the energy we get from a live audience - there's nothing else like it!"
For The Birds: The Birdsong Project Volume III

Mr. Sparrow on For The Birds: The Birdsong Project Volume III

Contributes a new track, Mr. Sparrow, to For The Birds: The Birdsong Project Volume III, initated by Rebecca Reagan and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and produced by Randall Poster. Reagan:

"As we release volume three, for the birds. I am overflowing with even more love and gratitude. I listen to these gifts, to the incredible committed reverence for our winged friends, who surf the space between us - interconnecting all. I am humbled by the outpouring of love and support by our incredible community, and of course I am so thankful to my creative partner Randall Poster who believed in my vision for this great project..which had now blossomed into a life of its own."
Night Crawling

Night Crawling

On August 1 a new single is released. Night Crawling. He looks back to the 70s when he roamed the streets with David Bowie, who is featured in the animated video made by Mickey Miles. Cale is pictured wearing the suit that was pictured on the cover of Paris 1919:

"There was this period around mid-late '70s when David and I would run into each other in NY. There was plenty of talk about getting some work done but of course we'd end up running the streets, sometimes until we couldn't keep a thought in our heads, let alone actually get a song together! One night we managed to meet up for a benefit concert where I taught him a viola part so we could perform together. When I wrote 'Night Crawling,' it was a reflective moment of particular times. That kind of NYC that held art in its grip, strong enough to keep it safe and dangerous enough to keep it interesting. I always figured we'd have another go at the two of us recording together, this time without the interference of being perpetually off our heads! The thing about creating music is the ability to divine a thought or feeling even when reality says it's a logical impossibility."

The single will be included on the Mercy album in 2023.

Lou Reed: Words & Music

Lou Reed: Words & Music

Early demos of Lou Reed penned songs see the light of day on August 26 via Light In The Attic Records in conjunction with the Lou Reed Archive. Words & Music contains recordings of songs that would turn up on albums by The Velvet Underground. He recorded the songs with John Cale on May 11, 1965, and on his own at home in 1963/64.

Reed had mailed the five reel-to-reels to himself to get the copyright for early renditions of tracks like Pale Blue Eyes, Heroin and I'm Waiting for the Man. Also of note is the Cale sung Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams, a song that would wind up on Nico's debut album Chelsea Girls. The true oddity however is the inclusion of Gee Wizz, which Reed recorded by as a teenager in 1958.

John Cale & Weyes Blood

Story of Blood

On October 19 a second single is released: Story of Blood, a collaboration with Weyes Blood, nom-de-plume of American singer Natalie Laura Mering. He digs deep into his bag of sonic tricks and Mering added layers of mesmerizing vocals. Starting out as a gentle piano ballad the track explores both the back roads and the mainstream guise of art-rock and minimalist electronics. The video was directed by Jethro Waters.

The single will be included on the Mercy album in 2023.

© 1999- Hans Werksman