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White heat: Six degrees of John Cale

September 30, 2010 | 12:59 pm


John Cale is the Forrest Gump of rock, linking a disparate group of tastemakers and cultural figures throughout the four-plus decades of his career. Cale will perform his 1973 album "Paris 1919" tonight at UCLA's Royce Hall, followed by a set of highlights from throughout his career. Guests including Mark Lanegan and Ben Gibbard will join him during the second set. Here are some of Cale's crucial connections:

Andy Warhol, an early patron, designed the artwork for three albums Cale was involved with.

Famed fashion designer Betsey Johnson married Cale in 1968 (they divorced three years later).

As a composer, Cale has created soundtracks for the movies "American Psycho" and "Basquiat," and his songs have appeared in such films as "Smokin’ Aces" and "Shrek."

Lou Reed is both a frequent collaborator and nemesis; in addition to co-founding the Velvet Underground, Cale and Reed made the 1990 Warhol tribute "Songs for Drella" together.

As producer, Cale has worked with the likes of the Stooges, Happy Mondays, Patti Smith, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Nico, the Modern Lovers, Jennifer Warnes, Squeeze, Sham 69 and more. He was in contention to helm Roxy Music’s second album, but actually lost out to his "Paris 1919" collaborator Chris Thomas.

Beloved late folkie Nick Drake’s 1970 album "Bryter Layter" featured Cale on viola.

Well known as a classical musician and composer, Cale has been associated over the years with the likes of Terry Riley, John Cage, La Monte Young and Aaron Copland (his first mentor).

Superstar experimentalist-producer Brian Eno (U2, Coldplay) is a frequent creative partner of Cale’s. Notably, Eno collaborated on Cale’s infamous, manic cover of “Heartbreak Hotel,” for which the pair nearly got Led Zeppelin maestro Jimmy Page to play on (Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera filled in instead).

Cale has worked with many contemporary electronic musicians, including Nick Franglen of Lemon Jelly and Dimitri Tikovoi of Trash Palace, who is working with Cale on a new album.

In 2010, Cale was made an officer in the Order of the British Empire, joining similarly honored Pierce Brosnan, Alan Cumming, Judi Dench, Mark Knopfler, Page, Lulu, Alan Turing and David Frost in the ranks.

-- Matt Diehl