October 29, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

Breaking up is hard to do—unless you’re the Velvet Underground, who just called it quits for the second time. After a summer European tour and live album, the influential band was set to blast its way out of the underground. But on the eve of a U.S. tour, the group again imploded. What doomed the reunion is precisely what led to the band’s original dissolution: a who’s-the-boss? clash between headstrong New York street poet Lou Reed and the classically trained Welsh aesthete John Cale. While planning for an MTV Unplugged show, Reed insisted on producing the subsequent album, but the others balked. ”Only one of the four of us wanted Lou to produce the Unplugged album,” says Cale, ”so we passed.”

”Lou and John could not see eye to eye on certain production issues,” says Sylvia Reed, Reed’s manager and wife. ”Lou was very pleased with their success. Now he intends to return to his solo work.” While the other band members hope for a reconciliation, guitarist Sterling Morrison has returned to his day job—driving a tugboat in the Gulf of Mexico.

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