JOHN GALE King Tut‘s. Glasgow. Mon 23 Jun

‘Let‘s not go there.‘ booms John Cale in his still valley-green Welsh baritone from a New York hotel room as the rain beats down outside. But he‘s not being a grump, body- swerving the usual inquiries from awestruck 605 heads of what it was like being a crucial part of the Velvet Underground, one of the darkest, certainly the coolest, and possibly the most influential rock‘n‘roll ever.

Past master Cale: ‘I'm in love with the future'

You know, the drugs, hanging out with the freaks at Andy Warhol‘s Factory, bust-ups with Lou Reed, Nico,

drugs, Lou, Andy, drugs, Lou, drugs, drugs . . . ad nauseum.

Nah. Dredging up ancient history’s not Cale’s style these days. One listen to his new, self-explanatory John Cale 5 tracks EP is all you need to see which way he’s headed, and backwards it isn‘t. Rather, the positively chipper-sounding 60-year-old is mulling the possibility that his new work might just be

considered commercial.

'Ha!’ he cracks up. ‘Thank you very much for saying that, but, you know, I can’t even allow myself to think that way, because you run the risk of becoming homogenised, and there‘s too much of that about

just now.‘

Nevertheless, the EP of ‘songs’ rather than ‘tracks‘ is awash with sample derived textures, its lead track, ‘Verses’, resembling the rhythmic stylings of Anton Fier’s equally loft-friendly Golden Palominos backing a more literate, refined and iconoclastic Chris Rea. ‘Waiting on Blonde‘ is a restless Burroughsian dub noir of changing trains and making connections in imaginary continents. Their companion pieces are pastoral leftfield romances, forged as much in the chapel and the lounge bar as the concert hall. ‘It’s the sense of movement I think you’re picking up on,’ he says of the work. ‘The mood. That’s what keeps it so fresh. It

comes from film music.’

Such contrariness is typical. Cale is a man, remember, who, having decamped from West Glamorgan to London’s Goldsmith‘s College and then to New York, from an early age found himself in the thick of the Big Apple's downtown avant garde scene. Studying under LaMonte Young and mentored by John Cage, Cale was a stranger in a very strange land. ‘I’m not sure where I fit in,’ he says of his flibbertigibitting between classical and contemporary piano stools, nonplussed to the point of bluntness. ‘But, you know, I don‘t

mind either way.’

Typically, his forthcoming album is co-produced with Lemon Jelly‘s Nick Franglen, which may account for Cale‘s current playful state of mind. But ask what drives him and it‘s a different story. ‘Impatience,’ he growls sternly. ‘I’m in love with the future and I always want to move onto the next thing.‘

And what happens when you get there?

‘Ha!’ he convulses again, totally focused, but already half gone. ‘Let‘s really not go there.’ (Neil Cooper)

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MUSIC DAY SCOTLAND Various venues across Scotland, Sat 21 Jun

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COSMIC ROUGH RIDERS Less slop, more pop

1 They've lost weight Not the lll(Il‘.|(Ill.’I| inernhers hut the hand as a ‘.‘.’Il()l(‘:. who have sliinined down tron? a fiyesoine to a tidy four prete. losing the «lead weight of pint :.i.'etl singer Daniel Wylie in the process V'r’ylie left the hand ‘to pursue a solo (;areer'_ ie he got too big for his hoots, Good riddanci- to had ruhhish. as your ttllllt‘, used to say 2 And they‘re much better for it Along with Wylies departure gone are the hands tendencies for hippy (lippy lyrics, replaced hy a more mature and direct songWriting approach. Guitarist and founder member Stephen I leining has taken ovm vocal duties. and the hand still produce an excellent West Coast summery tangle. now With a hit more class about It. Don't helieve us’? Check out new single. 'Because You'. which sounds like an early Fannies record. and that's damn fine praise.

3 Alan McGee will be at the Glasgow gig This is a good thing iii several ways. Firstly. he's DJing. and that means an evening of superh ()CIOCIICISIII from the decks. Also if you're in a hand. you can spend the evening hassling him to listen to your demo and Sign you. “Ilfdly if you hate OaSis. you can spend the evening herating him for spotting them all those years ago in that very

4 They’re doing it for the kids Never a hand that was afraid of a hit of hard graft. the Cosmics are currently in the middle of a gargantuan Its-date tour, including nine gigs in Scotland. Not content With the usual haunts. the hand have also managed to sguee/e gigs in at Perth. Forres. Inverness and Orkney. Plus the Glasgow gig doubles ' s a 'charidee' hash - the tenth birthday party for the Big Issue in Scotland.

5 They're a bona fide homegrown success In only three years. the hand went from putting out records on their own label, recorded in a community-funded studio in Castlemilk, to playing alongside Such luminaries as the Black Crowes. Ocean Colour Scene. Stereophonics. Paul Weller. U2. Robert Plant and Lenny KraVitz. How ab0ut that f0r a list of rock star pals? (DOUQ Johnstonei

I Cosmic Rough Riders p/ay King Tut '3, Glasgow, Thu 26 Jun and the Venue. Edinburgh, Sun 29 Jun.

1’! '2 J . I/C‘W‘, THE L'ST 47