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


My 15 minutes

Interview by Jonathan Jones. Originally appeared in The Guardian, February 12, 2002. Part of series around an Andy Warhol retrospective in The Tate Modern.

I speak about his generosity - people say he wasn't generous, he was cheap, but whenever I had a problem, for example when I needed an album cover, he'd do it. I went to see him to ask for a cover. He said, 'I'll get Yoko Ono to pose naked with you and we'll call it John and Yoko.'

He was very easy to get close to. Everybody had a real suspicion of Andy, but it was intellectual envy - it wasn't true at all. We used intellectual envy as a self-protective mechanism more than anything else.

When we went up to the Factory it was a real eye-opener for me. It wasn't called the Factory for nothing. It was where the assembly-line for the silkscreens happened. While one person was making a silkscreen, somebody else would be filming a screen test. Every day something new. I think he was dipping into anything he fancied.

The band had written the first album before we met Andy. He found us very much in the raw and gave us the kind of protective shield we needed. We adamantly went our own way and made things very difficult for ourselves. We drifted off into this netherworld of art and music and film. Everybody on the Lower East Side was trying to do the same thing: destroy the formality of the audience. We found a location and an atmosphere that were very conducive. Andy wasn't a musician - it was more of an intellectual camaraderie. We would travel around with his entourage. Edie Sedgwick would take us all out and pay the bill.

Andy became withdrawn after being hurt. [Warhol was shot by Valerie Solanas in 1968.] When the thing with Valerie happened he was very hurt.

© 1999- Hans Werksman