John Cale promises 'straight rock'n'roll' for upcoming Edinburgh gig
The ex-Velvet Underground man discusses his latest album, Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood
Whatever you do, don’t even dare to ask 70-year-old ex-Velvet Underground member and renowned experimentalist and collaborator John Cale if he’s ever thought about retiring. ‘No, I’ve never thought about retiring,’ he comes back with a bristling laugh, ‘that sounds like you’re asking me to drop dead. This (music) is what I get up in the morning thinking about. No. Never.’
While the release of his forthcoming fifteenth solo studio album Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood on Domino imprint Double Six might seem like the validation of continued acceptance into an underground current he’s never been far from, to Cale it seems they’re just the next label delving into his prolific well of output. ‘I record constantly,’ he says, ‘aside from the year I took off after the Biennale [Venice 2009, where he represented his home country Wales; his voice lies closer to deep Valleys brogue than New York drawl]. But after that I got back in and when Domino got involved, there were about forty tunes we had to choose from.’
Aside from the input of Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse, on a couple of tracks (Cale mysteriously describes collaboration as ‘taking every expression of someone’s personality and using it in a song’), the sessions were low budget ones in which he played everything at his home studio. So how will the music translate to the stage? ‘Straight rock ‘n’ roll,’ he confirms. ‘I’ve got a full band, we’ve learned all these songs, but you have to build a set with some kind of dramatic form to it. So that affects how many older songs there are and where they go.’
Picture House, Edinburgh, Fri 5 Oct.