This John Cale article was written by Tadgh Shiels, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Ben Kendall.
An eclectic cast of high-profile guests will join John Cale for a performance of The Velvet Underground’s influential debut album, ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’, in Paris on April 3rd.
The Libertines’ Pete Doherty and Carl Barat, along with recent Cale collaborators Animal Collective, are among those who will join the veteran Welsh-born musical innovator.
The already sold-out performance at the Philharmonie de Paris will come almost 50 years after the cult debut album was released. With lyrics delving into drug use and Sado-masochism, Andy Warhol nominally serving as producer and German model and singer Nico featuring on a number of tracks, the album has since been hailed as a trailblazing masterpiece of rock and roll, serving as inspiration for countless artists in the decades that followed.
The Velvet Underground formed in the mid-sixties with founding members Lou Reed, John Cale, Moe Tucker, and Sterling Morrison. Reed’s death in 2013, which heavily influenced Cale’s latest album ‘M:FANS’, leaves only Cale and drummer Moe Tucker as original surviving members of the legendary New York group.
An enduring fan was David Bowie, who was one of first to cover their songs and went on to produce Lou Reed’s acclaimed solo album, ‘Transformer’. A cover version of their track ‘Run Run Run’ was also recently recorded by The Strokes singer Julian Casablancas for Martin Scorsese’s new rock-drama series ‘Vinyl’. The song will also be among those performed by Cale in Paris.
Mark Lanegan, Etienne Daho, Lou Doillon, and Lemon Jelly’s Nick Franglen are also set to make appearances on the night.
The gruff-voiced ex-Screaming Trees front-man Mark Lanegan is no stranger to this type of collaboration. In 2014 he appeared on James Williamson’s reworking of old material by The Stooges, a band who belonged to the same proto-punk clique as the Velvets, with Cale also known for producing their debut self-titled album.
In addition to the concert, the Philharmonie de Paris will be presenting an exhibition on The Velvet Underground.
Cale has continued to tour and record albums since he left the band in 1968, and his contribution to music was recognised with an OBE in 2010.