Vintage Violence was the first solo album from former Velvet Underground member John Cale. Produced for a mere $15,000, Cale stated in his autobiography What's Welsh for Zen? that there wasn't "much originality on that album, it's just someone teaching himself to do something". He also "thought the songs were simplistic." He pieced together a band to play on the album, and they named themselves Penguin. However, the group didn't last beyond the recording sessions.
The cover of the album features Cale with his face obscured by a glass mask over a nylon stocking, which he would later cite in his autobiography as symbolic of the content of the record: "You're not really seeing the personality."
Originally released in 1970, Vintage Violence received mostly positive reviews. Rolling Stone magazine's Ed Ward said that the album sounds "like a Byrds album produced by Phil Spector who has marinated for six years in burgundy, anise and chili peppers".