Andy on the Velvet Underground:
Those were the days when you could live on practically no money, and that was what the Velvets seemed to have. Lou told me that for weeks at a time he and John would go without eating anything but oatmeal and that for money they’d donate blood or pose for the weekly tabloids that needed photos to illustrate their shock stories. The caption to one of Lou’s pictures said he was a maniac sex killer who’d murdered fourteen children and recorded their screams so that he could jerk off to the tape every midnight in a Kansas barn; and John’s picture appeared with the story of a man who’d killed his lover because the lover was going to marry his sister and the man didn’t want his sister to marry a fag.
Paul asked Lou how the Velvets happened to have a girl drummer and he said, “Very simple. Sterling knew her brother, who had an amplifier, and he told us we could use it if we let his sister drum for us.” They needed more amplifiers, though, and we called up a few equipment places trying to get them for free, but the best we could do was get a few dollars knocked off when we paid cash. Then the Velvets started practicing at the Factory with their drums, tambourine, harmonica, guitars, Autoharp, maracas, kazoo, car horn, and pieces of glass that they hit.
A reporter asked Paul if we paid the Velvets, and when Paul said no, the reporter wanted to know what they lived on. Paul had to consider that for a second, then he offered, “Well, they eat a lot at parties.”