The Velvet Underground’s John Cale: Some Velvet Morning

John Cale talks about his VU past and future

Rather than being a man of rumination after 50 years in the biz, John Cale is still pretty much a forward-looking chap. Along with recently finishing off what he calls “a fairly funky” studio effort influenced in part by Kendrick Lamar, Cale is considering new film scores and touring opportunities. Hitting 75, however—to say nothing of the Velvets’ golden anniversary—did give him pause, enough so to stage birthday and anniversary events in the VU’s name at the Brooklyn Academy of Music last November.

“I’m interested in changing the possibilities of all the Velvets’ songs, even the instrumentation,” he told MAGNET in advance of the shows. “I’m aware that people expect to hear things as they remember them—which isn’t going to happen anyway. But we have a lot to work with.”

Cale chatted about the past in its place—of his initial relationship with Reed (“We mentored each other”), with Warhol’s lust for fame (“He was good at getting attention”) and failing to generate record sales (“We snarled a lot”). Cale also mentioned future Velvets endeavors such as Oscar-nominated director Todd Haynes’ upcoming VU documentary. “I don’t know where he’s going with it,” he says, “but I got a good feeling.”

—A.D. Amorosi