“Their marathon rehearsal sessions began on Friday nights. The next morning each of them ingested a blue tranquilizer and four quarts of beer and smoked a joint, and they then practiced until eleven at night. 'Our music evolved collectively,' Sterling Morrison recalled, and it combined rock and roll with the consciousness-altering musical discipline learned from La Monte Young. The group added guitar feedback and an electric viola that sounded like a jet engine. [Lou] Reed was inspired by now forgotten songs of the time: 'Smoke from a Cigarette,' 'I Need a Sunday Kind of Love,' 'Wind' by the Chesters, 'Later for You Baby' by the Solitaires. 'All those really ferocious records that no one seemed to listen to anymore were underneath everything we were playing,' said Reed.”

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“The next problem was where they would play. The band didn't consider themselves to be entertainers, and there were few models on the music scene. 'Rock and Roll consisted of Joey Dee and the Starlighters, guys who played the uptown clubs and had matching suits,' Sterling Morrison said. They didn't want to be cute, like the Monkees, or sincere, like folk singers. Their image was aloof and nasty and urban. As Cale summed it up, 'Our aim was to upset people, make them feel uncomfortable, make them vomit.'

“They found a suitable venue for performing when another neighbor in their Ludlow Street building, underground filmmaker Piero Heliczer, invited them to play at the Filmmakers' Cinematheque on Lafayette Street for two events. Angus MacLise and Piero Heliczer described them as 'ritual happenings.' They featured Piero's films projected through veils hung between the audience and the screen. Multicolored lights and slides were superimposed on the veils, and on the stage were dancers. The strange and overwhelming sound that overlaid this intermedia action issued from behind the screen, where the band improvised their music. In its multimedia overwhelming of the senses and in the band's invisibility, this performance reflected the group's evolution and quickly defined a place for them in the avante-garde.”

Piero Heliczer reportedly struggled with schizophrenia throughout his life but was nonetheless productive.