The Velvet Underground’s John Cale reflects on his relationship with David Bowie in a new song, “Night Crawling.”
I can’t even tell when you’re putting me on / We played that game before, Cale sings over boisterous synthesizers and a shimmering piano line. The track’s accompanying video, made by Mickey Miles, walks through the central story of the song—Cale swinging through New York City alongside a perpetually smoking Bowie.
The two stroll around dimly-lit streets before making their way into seedy bars. The events of the video play in a repetitive loop, likely nodding to the many nights the famous duo spent together out on the town.
“It’s been a helluva past two years and I’m glad to finally share a glimpse of what’s coming ahead,” Cale said in a statement. “There was this period around mid-late Seventies when David and I would run into each other in New York. There was plenty of talk about getting some work done, but of course, we’d end up running the streets, sometimes until we couldn’t keep a thought in our heads, let alone actually get a song together!”
He continued to recall a specific encounter, “One night we managed to meet up for a benefit concert where I taught him a viola part so we could perform together. When I wrote ‘Night Crawling,’ it was a reflective moment of particular times. That kind of NYC that held art in its grip, strong enough to keep it safe and dangerous enough to keep it interesting.”
Cale is a sort of one-man band on “Night Crawling,” having played the synths, piano, drums, and bass on the song. The only additional contributions come from former Mars Volta drummer Deantoni Parks and vocalist Dustin Boyer—both frequent collaborators of Cale.
“Night Crawling” marks the first new music from Cale since “Lazy Day” in late 2020. To celebrate his recent releases, Cale will be embarking on a U.K. tour later this year. The Autumn jaunt, which is only his second in the last decade, will see him playing in Edinburgh, York, Cardiff, Whitley Bay, Birmingham, Bexhill On Sea, London, Cambridge, and Liverpool. Tickets are available, HERE.
(Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)