A 52 Week Autobiography Through Music – Week 27 – John Cale
John Cale is very often referred to first and foremost as one of the founding members of the Velvet Underground and while that’s true I don’t think that that credential is necessary to justify a conversation about his music. John Cale is a genius artist in and of himself, with or without Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground and that’s one reason why, in the video I don’t refer to the Velvets at all. I in fact have been much more profoundly influenced by and interested in John Cale’s music than I was by Lou Reed’s – not to take away from Lou’s impact on me. Every John Cale record that I’ve had in my collection is one I still will turn to and listen to from time to time, if not often. I have not lost interest in any of his music in the 35 or so years that I’ve listened to it. And that is not true for many of the artists that I’m talking about in this series. I think there are really only a handful of artists who have held my interest consistently for such a long time.
Influence might not be the right word to use with respect to how I responded to his music. I connected with John Cale’s music almost entirely as a listener and appreciator of music and I’ve never considered trying to make a music like his. Maybe that’s something that I’m not saying in some of these blog posts but that should be somewhat implicit. There’s a lot of music that I’ve been moved or touched by that I never imagined trying to imitate and then there’s the music that really did influence me as a musician or performer. It’s only when I think about it that I myself can distinguish between those two ways that music has impacted my life.
I consider John Cale to be one of the most uncompromisingly creative and influential musicians in modern music.