In his brand-new song Night Crawling, John Cale discusses his relationship with David Bowie.
The former member of the Velvet Underground sings in a sonorous tenor over dense synthesizers, shimmering piano, and jazzy percussion, “I can’t even tell when youre putting me on/We played that game before.” The song’s animated music video, created by Mickey Miles, shows Cale swinging through New York City clubs with a continually smoking Bowie while sporting the long hair he sported in the 1970s.
In a statement, Cale added, “It’s been a helluva past two years and I’m delighted to finally provide a preview of what’s coming ahead.” There was a time in the middle to late 1970s when David and I would occasionally cross paths in New York. There was a lot of discussion about getting some work done, but we would always wind up pacing the streets, sometimes to the point where we couldn’t even think straight, much less put a song together!
I taught him a viola part so we could perform together at a benefit performance one night when we were able to get together, Cale said. Night Crawling was inspired by memories of specific eras when I wrote it. NYC of that sort—powerful enough to keep art secure and perilous enough to make it captivating. I always assumed that we’d try again to record together, but without the distraction of constantly being off our minds. The ability to infer an idea or emotion while real life indicates it is illogical is one of the things about making music.
Cale composed the song Night Crawling and contributed drums, bass, keyboard, synths, and drums. The only other performers are vocalist Dustin Boyer, who has worked with Cale since 2005, and former Mars Volta drummer Deantoni Parks.
Since the release of Lazy Day in late 2020, Cale, who turned 80 this year, has only released Night Crawling as new music. This fall, Cale will do a tour of the UK.