Cover image for Sedition and alchemy : a biography of John Cale
Sedition and alchemy : a biography of John Cale
Mitchell, Tim, 1960-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : Peter Owen, [2003]

Physical Description:
239 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm
This biography of Cale's musical career is revealed as a series of passionate assaults on accepted musical forms and reconstructions of them in his own new shapes, illustrated here by details of his recorded albums and live shows.
Personal Subject:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML410.C264 M58 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Written with the full cooperation of John Cale and incorporating exclusive interviews with important figures from all phases of the musician's 35-year career, this new biography explores the man who has successfully transcended the boundaries between classical and popular music. Cale's music--from the Velvet Underground onwards--has been a series of passionate assaults on accepted musical forms, and his processes of deconstruction and reconstruction are illustrated by detailed accounts of his albums, live shows and relationships with other artists such as La Monte Young, Brian Eno and Lou Reed. Exhaustively researched, Sedition and Alchemy also contains the first full discography of John Cale's work to date.

Author Notes

Tim Mitchell nbsp;is the author of T here's Something About Jonathan: Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Best known as one-fourth of the Velvet Underground, John Cale has influenced rock music for more than 30 years as a musician and a producer of seminal protopunk and new wave albums. British writer Mitchell (There's Something About Jonathan Richman) won his subject's full cooperation for this biography. After a brief look at Cale's childhood in the south of Wales, Mitchell follows the musical prodigy to the United States, where he worked with avant-garde composer La Monte Young. Then came the Velvet Underground and his partnerships with Lou Reed and the band's patron, Andy Warhol. Next, the author traces Cale's eclectic solo career and his emergence, in recent years, as a modern-day Renaissance man, juggling multiple projects in various disciplines. Cale even contributes photographs that he took on 9/11 from his apartment near Ground Zero. Yet Mitchell's style is so dry and mechanical-with later chapters reading like a mere checklist of events-that only ardent fans will be drawn into the narrative. Mitchell succeeds in providing facts, but Cale's own autobiography, What's Welsh for Zen, is far more satisfying in its depth and insight. Still, given Cale's importance and the relative dearth of information available about him, Mitchell's work is recommended for larger pop and experimental music collections.-Lloyd Jansen, Stockton-San Joaquin Cty. P.L., CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.