Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|John Cale - An Exploration of His Life Music / Lou Reed Andy Warhol Moe Tucker Chris Spedding|
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Documentary
JOHN CALE: An exploration of the life and work of one of the most influential and enigmatic figures in musicJohn Cale is best known as the founding member of one of the most important rock bands of all time ? The Velvet Un... more »
A disappointment that could have been great
Charles A. Miller | Baltimore, Maryland U.S.A. | 02/22/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The music is great, as is some of the information provided, but what a strange way to present it all. Rather than reviewing the career of John Cale in a chronological, or any rational fashion for that matter, this film jumps all over the place. And quite disappointingly, excessively fixates on certain periods while pretty much ignoring the bulk of his solo career altogether. This might be okay for those who already know the story, but those new to John Cale's work will need a scorecard to understand what is going on. Meanwhile for those already familiar with the story from reading some of the biographies out there, nothing really new or insightful is presented here.
As expected, there is considerable time devoted to The Velvet Underground period. But as wonderful as that band was, isn't this supposed to be about John Cale? Way too much time was spent on this phase of his career, especially considering the fact that so little original film actually exists from those days. This, in tandem with the fact there is already a plethora of documentaries available on the Velvets, makes this portion of the film rather duplicative.
After this sequence, the film jumps back in time to Mr. Cale's early years in Wales. Very interesting indeed, but shouldn't this have been the starting point? A considerable amount of time is devoted to this relatively non-musical portion of John Cale's life. This would have been fine if this film were at least 90 minutes long, but as it stands at a mere 59 minutes, the time would have better spent on Mr. Cale's actual solo music career. This whole overly-long sequence appears to have been inserted as a way to explain the psychology behind the killing of the chicken on stage incident as it graphically depicts a slaugherhouse scene that John Cale was exposed to in his youth. What does this have to do with his musical career?
Indeed, the biggest complaint about this film is the lack of documentation regarding John Cale's solo career overall. It is virtually ignored here. It actually finishes with The Velvet Underground reunion concerts, which again makes one wonder if you're watching a John Cale documentary or one on the Velvets.
When the box says "An exploration of the life and work of one of the most influential and enigmatic figures in music" one would expect to get a big dose of the how and why John Cale is as described in the quote. As previously mentioned however, the majority of this film is devoted to his childhood and The Velvet Underground and in a rather disjoined fashion at that.
Perhaps someday the meat of his very influential solo career will be covered, but not here. I would still recommend this movie to completists and those, like myself, who cannot get enough of Mr. Cale's work, but not to newcomers."
Merely good, could've been great
T. Scarillo | Studio City, CA | 04/07/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As a hard-core Cale fan, I totally agree with Charles Miller's review of this product (make sure you read it) - this COULD'VE been great; instead, it's merely good. I was amazed that Cale's tenure at Warner Brothers as a staff producer, the Paris 1919 album, his production of Modern Lovers, and virtually his entire post-Island/pre-Drella output was completely ignored. There is a gross-out sequence in the doc, during the Wales segment involving a slaughterhouse, that i also could've lived without - it's not for the squeamish. It makes the chicken-chopping incident seem almost tame by comparison.....
For background, this documentary was done by the BBC, in 1998, around the time that the "What's Welsh for Zen" book was being written (with Victor Bockris). I HIGHLY recommend that book as it goes VERY in-depth on Cale's life and work, in first person. There is a lot of good-to-great footage in this documentary, and they got Lou Reed to sit for an interview (which is important, since neither Reed nor Cale are on the Velvet Underground Under Review DVD), but i really felt it only scratched the surface, and didn't fully convey just how edgy, versatile, and what a true original Cale really is."