8 Embarrassing Early Personas Of Famous Musicians

4. John Cale - I've Got a Secret (1963)

John Cale does have a secret. And it's not nearly as troubling as you'd expect. Prior to his founding the Velvet Underground with Lou Reed, and going on to produce albums for the likes of Nico, the Stooges, Siouxie and the Banshees, the Replacements, and LCD Soundsystem, Cale was a classically-trained instrumentalist from Wales. Cale even appeared on a game show in 1963 called "I've Got a Secret," where he ultimately revealed that he had participated in an 18-hour piano-playing marathon-loop of Erik Satie's "Vexations." Cale's musical interests from the get-go had always leaned towards avant-garde and the stylistically confrontational, which certainly explains his pursuit of/affinity for which as a composer, Velvet sound-scaper, and punk rock pioneer. Of course, a dusty-looking sports jacket, short-cropped haircut, and density of esoteric theoretical knowledge hardly suggest the latter. Following his appearance on an incredibly boring game show, he'd go on to hang out in Andy Warhol's Factory surrounded by heroin and loud instruments, changing the face of modern music while he's at it. But there always remains a duality in Cale's music: as the viola-oriented traditionalist capable of stirring the kind of orchestral beauty omnipresent on Nico's first solo album and the first VU album, as well as the sonic-nihilist who recreates the sound of a melted eardrum on the album-long noise experiment White Light/White Heat.
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Ryan is a song-writer (soundcloud.com/the-articles), music journalist, vinyl enthusiast, 80s pop-culturalist, and just kind of a vaudevillian person. Ryan is also available for hire. Email him at 505sandheartbreak@gmail.com with any kind of (non-sexual) work petitions.