Andy Warhol adopted the Velvet Underground in 1966, making them the house band at the Factory and the star of his Exploding Plastic Inevitable events.
But the band didn't make much of a splash on the music charts with its first album, "The Velvet Underground & Nico."
The 1967 debut, with its now-famous banana cover by Warhol, peaked at No. 171 on Billboard's Top 200.
But the album turned out to be among the most influential albums in rock. In 2003, Rolling Stone named it the 13th Greatest Album of all time and labeled it "the most prophetic rock album ever made."
What was it that made that album so groundbreaking?
"Mainly, I think, because it took a lot of the elements of blues-pop, even some singery chanteuse stuff, and did it with such total abandon and heart," said Clif Taylor, who put together a tribute band that will debut at the Rialto Theater on Friday night. "The emphasis was on swagger, versus how well they played their guitars."
Taylor will play guitar with Under Velvetground, which he said will do a more bombastic, sonic version of Velvet Underground, with a few added instruments.
The performance will be the focus of the Imploding Silicon Improbable, a multimedia extravaganza modeled after the famous Exploding Plastic Inevitable shows starring Velvet Underground.
Said Taylor: "It's hard to recreate something that's so well documented, and you wouldn't really want to, so we are sort of inverting a night at the Factory. We can only hope it will fall apart in all the right places."
The evening, which will also feature performances by Naim Amor and Angie Bowie (who is recording a new album in Tucson, co-written and co-produced by Taylor and Jim Waters)."
Stephanie Dickson will sing the Lou Reed parts (she's the one hiding under her hat above after an exhausting rehearsal on Sunday night). Paula Taylor will sing a couple of songs made famous by Nico. Clif, her husband, wouldn't say whether "Femme Fatale" will be one of them.
The song selections won't be the only surprises on Friday, said Taylor, 47, a veteran of several local bands and a filmmaker.
"We are bringing in a bunch of props and stuff that will make it unique," he said, explaining that there will be four projectors in action, unspooling film loops created for the event.
The Factory party will morph into Pop, a dance party, at about 10:30 p.m.
Pop is the third major event from Powhaus Productions, the collective that hosted the Glitter Ball at the Rialto last month.
Taylor is a founding member of Powhaus, along with Jared "Kitty Katt" McKinley and Dallas "Desert Diamond" Reece.
"People have been so enthusiastic about Powhaus," said McKinley. "I expected it to flop for a few months before it caught on. It's happened so fast."
If you go
• What: The Imploding Silicon Improbable, a multimedia inversion of Andy Warhol's Factory, followed by Pop, a dance party from Powhaus Productions.
• Featuring: Under Velvetground, a Tucson band put together for this event. Angie Bowie and Naim Amor will also perform.
• When: 8 p.m. Friday. Pop, the dance party, starts at 10:30.
• Where: The Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St.
• Tickets: $10, which includes admission to Pop. Admission is $3 after 10:30.
• Etc.: A short, silent film by Charles Littler about the making of "Lonesome Cowboys" will be available for sale ($20).