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In June of 1966, as part of Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable multimedia extravaganza, the Velvet Underground went to Chicago for a week’s worth of performances. Despite this setback, the shows were a resounding success for this rather new band, though this lineup would never play together again.Following the big splash made in New York City by the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, the entire production—which included the Velvet Underground, Nico, dancers, a lighting tech, Warhol, and others—went west for a California tour.With a string of upcoming Chicago dates scheduled for the EPI, and Reed out of commission for weeks, a plan was devised. For the Chicago shows, booked at Poor Richard’s from June 21st through the 26th, original VU percussionist Angus Mac Lise was recruited, and other alterations were made to make up for Reed’s absence.
And I remember distinctly Lou turning to Angus and saying, ‘Just remember, this is only temporary.’ Like, ‘Don’t think you’re coming back into the group.’ In addition, for the Poor Richard’s shows, John Cale became the Velvets’ lead singer, also playing viola and keyboards.
In his 1994 biography, While Lou was laid up in the hospital undergoing a six-week course of treatment, he became increasingly paranoid about losing control of the group.
Not only was he excluded from the one-week stint in Chicago, but the band adapted to cover his absence with relative ease.
“Lou was sitting on the edge of his bed in a bathrobe,” recalled Malanga.
“Lou was yellow in the face, he had a yellow pall and looked sickly—he always looked sickly.
The interior designer, Syrie Maugham, wife of writer Somerset Maugham, used Gluck’s paintings to enhance her creations which brought further fame and more commissions.