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)

Director: Abigail Portner
DP: Garret Curtis
Gaffer: Nick Perry
Key Grip: Rik Brown
Grip: Shawn Labaqui
Producer: Nita Scott
Camera OP; Wild Bill Cody
Art Department: Josh Sener
Editor: Abigail Portner
Photo Images / Warhol Factory Archivist: Billy Name

Close Watch (2015)

Director: Abigail Portner
Producer: Paige Dorian
Producer: Sevier Crespo
DP: Joseph Castrucci
DP: Jason Hernandez
AD: Katherine Sheehan
Art Department: Joe Gallagher
Stylist: Adrienne Burton
Makeup/Hair: Gina Ribisi
Makeup/Hair Assistant: Bethany Johnson
P: Nicolai Dorian
Art Direction and masks: Abigail Portner and Joseph Castrucci

Hallelujah video

On November 2, 2016 a promo video for Hallelujah was posted to announce the expanded Fragments Of A Rainy Season . Directed by Abigail Portner, it follows him around amidst an array of grand and not so grand pianos, using the audio from the album.

Director: Abigail Portner
Director of photography: Garret Curtis
Producer: Abigail Portner, Nita Scott
Wardrobe stylist: Erica Cloud
Prop Stylist: Laura Ibanez Bailey
Hair and Makeup: Marisa Perrault
Girl in red Dress: Arlene Deradoorian

Lazy Day

In 2020 the stand-alone single Lazy Day was promoted with a video:

"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."

Director: Abigail Portner
Producer: Nita Scott

Mercy videos

Three singles, all of them accompanied by a promo video, were prior to the release of the Mercy album. The vinyl only bonus track Pretty People got one as well, about a year after the album was released.

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.

Still from the Noise Of You video

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.

Still from the Pretty People video

Pretty People (2024)
On February 5, 2024 a video for Pretty People is released. The track can be found on the bonus 7" that is included with the limited 2LP on blue transparent vinyl edition of Mercy.

Director: Abigail Portner
Producer: Nita Scott ARM Productions
Stop-Motion Animation: Dustin Boyer
Video portraits / cast: Danielle Thompson, Lindsey Znosko Balke, Brian Betancourt, Skyler Skjelset, Brian Degraw, Ivan Berko, Tatiana Cabral, Nina Mehta

POPtical Illusion videos

Still from the How We See The Light video

How We See The Light (2024)
On March 26, 2024 the single How We See The Light is released as a first taste for the POPtical Illusion album. The video was directed by Pepi Ginsberg.

Producer: Karen Madar
Executive Producer: Aaron Z. Willson
Director of Photography: Kevin Hayden
Mask Designer: Ted Mineo
Production Designer: Charlotte Abbott
Costume Designer: Stine Dahlman
Creative Consultant: Nita Scott
Casting Director: Emily Fleischer
Location Manager: Casey Rose Houlihan
Assistant Director: Liat Krongrad
Editor: Caitlin Carr
Title Design: Femke Campbell
Color by Company 3
Colorist: Kath Raisch
Color Producer: Jake Rioux
Art Director: Louis Anania
Set Decorator: J.P. Huckins
Art Coordinator: Abe Kaye
Assistant Editor: Molly Gillis
First Assistant Camera: Yuya Kudo
Gaffer: Derek Sexton Horani
Key Grip: Max Garstak
Grip: Derrick Woodyard
"John Cale": Pascal Yen-Pfister
Her: Isabelle Barbier
The Boss: Dharmendra Singh Chandel
Leslie: Leslie E. Williams
Susan: Susan Cohen DeStefano

Still from the Shark-Shark video

Shark-Shark (2024)
On May 8, 2024 the Shark-Shark single is released as the second single from the album. The video was directed by Abigail Portner.

"Sometimes, you write a song purely for a mood. "Shark-Shark" has two versions - both a nod to finding humor in music. When you're feeling too much of the real world, the best diversion is something that puts a grin on your face. I don't know how Abby and team kept this shoot together; being "unserious" was a lot of fun!"

Director: Abigail Portner
Director of Photography: James Mcgaw
AD: Danielle Thompson
Producer: ARM Productions /Nita Scott
AC: Ben Brady
Gaffer: Valentin Salembier
Key Grip: Dushene Foster
Makeup: Joan Gray
Wardrobe / PA: Emilia Turner
Wardrobe / PA: Lily Nexla
Coloring: Teddy Drew
Production design: Abigail Portner
Costume design: Abigail Portner
Costume and production design assistant: Danielle Thompson
Location: The Grand Lodge of Los Angeles

© 1999- Hans Werksman