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

A brief biography

Welcome to Garant (August 2009)- photo: Gary Fox

Born: March 9th 1942, Garnant, Wales.

Cale's father Arthur George Cale was a miner in the Gelly Geidrum coal mine. His mother Margaret Davies was a school teacher until she married Arthur at the age of 36. John was their only child.

He attended the primary school where his mother had been a teacher.

The house where Cale was born in Garnant (August 2009)- photo: Gary Fox

He is a multi-instumentalist: viola, guitar, bass, keyboards, harpsichord, harmonium, celeste, marimba, sarinda, horn, harp, piano and organ.

Cale composed his first piece while attending grammar school: Tocatta in the style of Khachaturian.

Studied musicology at Goldsmith's College, London, from 1960 to 1963. Cale was awarded a Leonard Bernstein Scholarship. Influenced by avant-garde composers John Cage and La Monte Young.

Velvets reunion

The Velvet Underground

Co-founder of The Velvet Underground. Left after the second album White Light / White Heat. There was a one-off reunion in 1990 and a 1993 reunion tour.

Solo career

Went solo in the seventies. Has released numerous solo albums, released a handful compilations of and has written the soundtracks for dozens of movies.

Producing Siouxsie - photo: Bob Berg


Cale is highly valued as a producer. He started producing bands in the late Sixties, stood at the forefront when punk exploded and is still much in demand.

He produced the debuts of The Stooges and Patti Smith. Other production feats include the Happy Mondays, the Mediæval Baebes, Nico, Siouxsie & The Banshees and Les Nouvelles Polyphonies Corses.

John Cale: An Exploration of His Life and Music

Going to the movies

From the nineties on providing movie soundtracks became an important part of his income.

He has acted in a couple of movies and feaurred in a documentary about the recording of the Words For The Dying album and the visual biography John Cale: An Exploration of His Life and Music.

Let's rock (again)

Cale returned to rock in the 21st century, releasing a string of highly acclaimed EPs and albums and hitting the road with a full backup band on a regular basis.

Extra Playful

As of 2009 he has been performing his Paris 1919 album in full quite a few times.

John Cale currently lives in California.

© 1999- Hans Werksman