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

Promoting John Cale


Cale got of an a really bad start when he was introduced to the wonderful world of video clips. In 1982 an acquaintance working for NBC Television dreamed up shooting a video for the album. Cale's game for the princely sum of $ 1,500, ending up surrounded by a chorus line of dance girls, trying to sing Changes Made:

"There was one scene in which all of a sudden one of the girls started sucking my thumb while I was trying to concentrate on the lyrics. (...) If it's ever shown, I'll kill the guy."

Dead or Alive video

In 1984 a rather morbid video for Dead or Alive was directed and produced by Michael Branton and Joe Ohliger III. Also features his then wife Risé Irushalmi.

One Word video

The Wrong Way Up album was plugged with a barrage of singles, posters, promos and what-not. And a rather stupid computer graphics video for One Word.

The EMI videos

When Cale secured a record deal with EMI in 2003 video clips came back into the picture. Two singles got the visual treatment.


Perfect (2005)
Cale performs barefoot with a unplugged electric guitar. The plug zooms around trying to find a thing to connect too. It finds a dead fox and a bowl of fruit. Both items quickly return to their maker. Direced by Chris Cairns.

Jumbo in tha Modernworld (2006)
Animation created by Set in fictional world where thin creatures get fucked over by fatter creatures. Justice is done, when the biggest fattie throws up ... flowers.

Jumbo in tha Modernworld
A small civilisation's greed, results in a filthy gastronimical stampede. Yeah, that rhymes... and there's some fatties in it too.

Record company: EMI
Production Company: Independent Films
Producer: Luke Tilbury
Director: Minivegas
Director of Photography: Minivegas
Post-production House: Minivegas
Editor: Minivegas

The video can be found on the Circus Live DVD.

Extra Playful videos

Whaddya Mean By That (2011)
Cale strolling in the woods. Director: Charlie & Joe. Director of Photography: Chris Clarke. Shot on: Super 16mm (Fuji).

Catastrofuk (2011)
Cale and band in outerspace. Directed by his daughter Eden Cale.

To herald the release of John Cale’s Extra Playful EP, Domino imprint Double Six are happy to share a new video for the EP track “Catastrofuk,” directed by his daughter, Eden Cale. In keeping with the Extra Playful spirit of the EP, the video sees him exploring outer space. The new world in which he finds himself appears inviting on the surface, but slowly, its darker elements reveal themselves and it becomes apparent that all is not quite as it seems.

Director: Eden Cale
Camera / Cinematographer: June Zandona
Producer: Nita Scott for Electric Drone Records
Editor: Kevin Klauber
Special Effects: Wesley Belak-Berger
Art Direction/Design: Eden Cale & Nita Scott

Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood videos

"Welcome To Nookie Wood" (2012)
Promo video for the Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood album. Features a snippet of the new single I Wanna Talk 2 U.

Face To The Sky (2012)
Promo video for Face To The Sky single. Director: Tom Scholefeild (a.k.a. Kon Om Pax).

All Summer Long

In 2013 the All Summer Long single was promoted with a video.

Cale in Spin Magazine:

When writing for Shifty Adventures I noticed an apparent theme of claustrophobic darkness and so of course, I felt at home in that place. (..) There [was] a handful of songs unfinished. One in particular was me dreaming about a breeze, space and light. Recalling those early days in my sticky, sweltering NYC flat — how I'd heard summer from the West Coast — thinking how the California landscape informed a vibe that churned out Brian Wilson, Herb Alpert and that strange, sexy breeze in your ears. Since the album was predominantly located in the darker, eerie swamps of Nookie Wood, it seemed like the wrong place to put this song, but now, just feels right to let it out.

M:FANS videos

Two reimagined tracks from Music For A New Society + M:FANS album got the video treatment.

If You Were Still Around (2014)
Promo video for the new version of If You Were Still Around.

Close Watch (2015)
Promo video for the new version of Close Watch.

Lazy Day

In 2020 the Lazy Day single was promoted with a video made by Abby Portner:

"I was so ready to finally get my new album out; fits and starts and then damn 2020 happened! A lot to say in these times. "Context is everything and 140 characters isn't going to cut it! As a songwriter my truth is all tied-up in and through those songs that must wait a while longer.

It occurred to me that I do have something for the moment, a song I'd recently complete. With the world careening out of its orbit I wanted to stop the lurch and enjoy a period where we can take our time and breathe our way back into a calmer world."

Mercy videos

Three singles, all of them accompanied by a promo video, were prior to the release of the Mercy album.

Night Crawling (2022)
On August 1, 2022 the first 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."

Story of Blood (2022)
On October 19, 2022 the 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.

Noise of You (2023)
On January 11, 2023 the third single is released: Noise Of You, a surprisingly gentle love song about trying to win back his loved one. It's an amalgam of electronics, spoken word and stacked vocals, some of them with an almost choral delivery, but he changes in the mood in the last seconds of the track, when he demands to be heard. It is another taste from his the new album Mercy. The video was directed by Pepi Ginsberg, with animations created by Studio Junbi, and photos and home videos supplied by Nita Scott.


© 1999- Hans Werksman