Listen: Dead Or Alive / John Cale
Met John Cale back in ’81 or so, when ‘Dead OR Alive’ was a current single from HONI SOIT. Roger McCall and I were playing it pretty regularly on our weekly show at WCMF, possibly the only play it was getting. The guy was irritated and in a very cross mood. Well so was I. Needless to say, it was not a good recipe. Pretty much steered clear of anything to do with him or his music since. Couldn’t even be bothered to listen to HELEN OF TROY era Island stuff despite a strong fondness for it as a result.
So recently, a friend from the UK sent me a link to this great piece on John Cale in The Guardian, a series of meeting celebrities in restaurants, mixing food with discussion. I was taken back by his intellect and poise. It led me to another current clip on FADER TV. Now I was mesmerized, suddenly so interested in his work, I couldn’t revisit it fast enough.
Being a record hoarder, of course I kept most of his releases, despite never listening. His EMI album from ’05, BLACKACETATE, is spectacular.
Full circle to ‘Dead Or Alive’. God I love this still. Mike Thorne was at his fifteen minutes of fame peak as a producer, having done Nina Hagen’s NUNSEXMONKROCK around then as well. Despite just about every record from this era sounding too 80′s sonically, you can’t beat John Cale’s vocal on this single. By the end, his delivery is some of the best ever committed to vinyl. And the song, well a great song is a great song.