John Cale and David Bowie Go Barhopping in Animated ‘Night Crawling’ Video

John Cale reflects on his friendship with David Bowie in a new song, “Night Crawling.”

“I can’t even tell when you’re putting me on/We played that game before,” the former Velvet Underground member sings in a sonorous tenor over thick synthesizers, shimmering piano, and jazzy drums. The track’s animated video, made by Mickey Miles, depicts Cale with the long hair he sported in the Seventies, swinging through New York City bars alongside a perpetually-smoking Bowie.

“It’s been a helluva past two years and I’m glad to finally share a glimpse of what’s coming ahead,” Cale said in a statement. “There was this period around mid-late Seventies when David and I would run into each other in New York. There was plenty of talk about getting some work done but of course we’d end up running the streets, sometimes until we couldn’t keep a thought in our heads, let alone actually get a song together!

“One night we managed to meet up for a benefit concert where I taught him a viola part so we could perform together,” Cale continued. “When I wrote ‘Night Crawling,’ it was a reflective moment of particular times. That kind of NYC that held art in its grip, strong enough to keep it safe and dangerous enough to keep it interesting. I always figured we’d have another go at the two of us recording together, this time without the interference of being perpetually off our heads! The thing about creating music is the ability to divine a thought or feeling even when reality says it’s a logical impossibility.”

Cale wrote “Night Crawling” and played synths, piano, drums, and bass on it. The only other contributions come from former Mars Volta drummer Deantoni Parks and vocalist Dustin Boyer, who has been collaborating with Cale since 2005.

“Night Crawling” is the first new music from Cale — who turned 80 this year — since “Lazy Day,” which came out in late 2020. Cale will be touring the U.K. this fall.