Reed fired Warhol without receiving approval or even giving forewarning to his bandmates, and they were understandably upset about his rash decision.
“The way [Reed] handled it and the way he did it was really destructive. I mean he just like blew up the band and fired Andy without telling anybody, and it was like, ‘What?'” Cale said of the fall-out.
Shortly after Warhol’s departure, Nico decided to part ways with The Velvet Underground as well. Though the band managed to work together for one more album, it was an uneasy working environment filled with unease, conflict, and resentment.
Reed dealt with the situation in a similarly brusque way as he dealt with Warhol: he demanded another firing. This time, he went after Cale. According to Another Magazine, he called a meeting and requested that either Cale leave or the band break up. Cale was replaced, but the band never really recovered. It relied on a different folk-like sound and disbanded a few years later in 1973.
Despite The Velvet Underground’s short lifespan, music historians and aficionados have nevertheless called the group one of the most influential of all time, per Classic Album Sundays.
“What we had was ambition and a goal … to elevate the rock ‘n’ roll song and take it where it hadn’t been taken before,” Reed said of the band’s mission, and they certainly succeeded.