Pavement, Faith No More, Public Image Ltd., the Specials and Soundgarden are just a handful of artists returning to the stage after a long hiatus, but John Cale insists the Velvet Underground haven’t caught reunion fever — or at least, he hasn’t. Cale told BBC 6 Music that despite offers to play some major music festivals, he has no interest in reforming the iconic New York group with his former bandmates.
“It’s not something that I can see happening on the basis of the past. Anyone who wants to reform the Velvet Underground for a series of concerts, to make some money, I understand that, but you can’t do that,” Cale told BBC 6 Music. While Cale says he’s busy working on other projects — and setting dates to perform his solo classic Paris 1919 in its entirety — he cites the death of guitarist Sterling Morrison as the main reason why a VU reunion now wouldn’t work.
The classic Velvet lineup of Lou Reed, Cale, Morrison and Maureen Tucker last reunited in 1992-93 for a tour of Europe before Cale and Reed had another falling out. Though Cale says he stills occasionally talks to Reed, it’s strictly regarding business related to VU. Reed and Cale last performed together at the Velvet Underground’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, just one year after Morrison’s death. As Rolling Stone reported last December, Reed, Tucker and Cale’s The Velvet Underground replacement Doug Yule reassembled for a rare interview together at the New York Public Library, but Cale was not present. Of course, Reed, Tucker and Yule could simply decide to reunite without Cale and celebrate the Loaded era of VU.
“Whatever the Velvet Underground did they’ve done, and it’s in the past. I respect that people admire what we did, that’s gratifying, but I’m in such a different place with what I think songwriting is these days,” Cale said. “If I said that was something I was intrigued by, people would think I was cynical.”