[ LOOK TO SEE ]
Living Colour. still Loud. still proud.
More than 30 years after Vivid and “Cult of Personality,” Living Colour still reigns as one of Rock N Roll’s finest [hard rock/ metal/ funk/ fusion] bands. “Freedom of Expression,” on its latest Shade, is a reminder that Living Colour is, as always, playing loud and saying something.
still relevant …
— video by dave. (originalnoise.org)
December 27, 2OO1 — Living Colour had been on a 7-year hiatus when it reunited at CBGB, Downtown New York City (December 21, 2000). After 911 interrupted the band’s 2OO1 reunion tour, Living Colour’s future was again in doubt … but everyone happily agreed to continue, finishing the tour as originally scheduled. “Crosstown Traffic” was the encore performance at the Disney House Of Blues (Orlando, Florida).
[ 1980 ]
Vernon Reid — As a member of Ronald Shannon Jackson and The Decoding Society, and playing and recording with DEFUNKT, another Underground NYC favorite, Vernon’s earned an early reputation as a young, hot-shit guitar player in the Avant-Funk/Outside Jazz [DOWNTOWN NYC] scene. It was there and then Vernon was inspired to step out on his own and form a number of bands, all of which he called Living Colour.
1985 — Hearing Corey Glover sing “Happy Birthday” at a mutual friend’s birthday party, Vernon asked Corey if he might be interested in joining Living Colour? More an actor, including his part in Oliver Stone’s Platoon, Corey never thought of fronting a Rock ‘N’ Roll band, but he agreed.
Joining Vernon and Corey, were Will Calhoun (drums) and Muzz Skillings (bass), completing the band that went on to tour with the Rolling Stones, and record the award-winning Vivid and Time’s Up.
[ 1988 ]
“Cult Of Personality”
With help from Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger, Living Colour signed with Epic Records and released its debut Vivid (May 3, 1988). The band’s rise in popularity was immediate as it’s first single “Cult Of Personality” was played regularly in MTV’s rotation and Vivid climbed to #6 on the U.S. Billboard chart. Then, an appearance on NBC’s Saturday Night Live (April 1, 1989) was another high-profile opportunity for Living Colour to show off its psychedelic, day-glo, hard funk, metal attack.
— video (“Time Tunnel”)
December 14, 1989 — Vernon Reid, wearing a “Burn Baby Burn” (American Flag) T-shirt, and the rest of Living Colour, after nearly a year on the road, joined the Rolling Stones onstage in Montreal, at Olympic Stadium, for an end-of-tour [Steel Wheels] “It’s Only Rock N Roll” jam.
• “Honky Tonk Women” and ‘Kick Ass Rock N Roll / Recollection of seeing the Stones’ “Steel Wheels Tour” at the Orange Bowl in Miami.
Later that year, Living Colour was asked to open for the Rolling Stones on its Steel Wheels World Tour, for which the band received critical acclaim and enhanced it’s reputation notably. Also in 1989, Living Colour was named “Best New Artist” at the MTV Video Music Awards, and “Cult Of Personality” won a Grammy Award for “Best Hard Rock Performance.”
1990 — The incarnation of Living Colour (Corey Glover, Muzz Skillings, Will Calhoun, and Vernon Reid) recorded two albums, Vivid in 1988, and Time’s Up in 1990. Called “more experimental,” Time’s Up exhibited a number of musical styles [jazz, fusion, punk, blues, hip hop, funk, thrash, metal, jive, electronica] w/ guests, including Little Richard, Maceo Parker, Queen Latifah, and Doug E. Fresh
An excerpt out of Time Tunnel, an out-of-print Living Colour documentary, including performance clips and interviews with Vernon Reid, Corey Glover, Will Calhoun, and Muzz Skillings, telling the story of the band from its inception, to the success of Vivid, touring with the Rolling Stones, and starting work on Time’s Up.
— video (“Time Tunnel”)
Of note in 1991 was Living Colour’s inclusion in Perry Farrell’s inaugural Lollapalooza that also featured Jane’s Addiction, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Nine Inch Nails, Fishbone, Ice T & Body Count, Butthole Surfers, Rollins Band, EBN, and Violent Femmes. Also, Living Colour released Biscuits, an EP of outtakes, including “Love & Happiness,” and a number of live recordings (on the Japanese pressing).
“Love & Happiness”
After a month touring Europe, enjoying time back home in New York City, a travel-weary Muzz Skillings chose not to continue on to Mexico City, Buenos Aires, and Rio de Janeiro. Fortunately, the timing was right for Vernon to ask old friend Doug Wimbish if he might consider filling in for Muzz, helping Living Colour to finish its first world tour. Tack>>Head, Doug’s band (with Original Sugar Hill Rhythm Section mates Skip McDonald and Keith Leblanc, with Bernard Fowler and On-U Sound’s Adrian Sherwood) was taking a break after releasing it’s second record, Strange Things, allowing Doug to join Living Colour in South America.
1993 — After completing the South American leg of Living Colour’s 1991 world tour, bassist Doug Wimbish accepted the band’s invitation to join the band permanently.
Doug’s contribution, as a writer, player, and producer, are significant in what critics called the “darker” tone of Living Colour’s third album, Stain.
Because Stain came at a time (March 2, 1993) when Seattle, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and a new genre called “Grunge” were commanding most popular attention, it was overlooked compared to Living Colour’s first two albums, Vivid and Time’s Up. Despite praise from critics and fans, both who appreciated the record’s harder, industrial edge, Stain reached only #26 on the Billboard chart, and because a guy named Jon Stainbrook with a band called The Stain filed a lawsuit and had production of Stain stopped. The record remained out of print until 2013, when it was released on disc, and made available to download.
[ 1993 ]
1993 — While working on a record to follow Stain, a disappointed Reid decided Living Colour should take a break.
In the meantime, Living Colour’s 1993 looked, on television, like things couldn’t be better. They had already written and recorded a number tunes for a new record, won another Grammy Award for a cover of “Crosstown Traffic” on Stone Free, a Jimi Hendrix tribute record, contributed to two high-profile soundtracks, recording “Sunshine of Your Love” for James Cameron’s True Lies, and write and record “Me, Myself, and My Microphone” with RUN-DMC for Judgement Day.
It was something of an illusion, all the accolades were for efforts already made, Vernon, at that moment, was looking for something different. After he officially ended Living Colour’s decade-long run, he immediately went on to work on a number of solo projects, including a multi-tune collaboration with Public Enemy.
After two Grammy Award-winning efforts in Vivid and Time’s Up, Stain receiving wide-spread critical acclaim, and the production of “No/ Dread,” a fine document of Living Colour performances (electric and unplugged) with Wimbish a permanent member of the band, Vernon was still disappointed in Stain, and decided to call it quits in 1995, immediately after finishing a tour with the D.C. punk band, Bad Brains.
— video (NBC)
“I want a closet big enough to live in …
………………………a closet big enough for the world to live in.”
1993 — Never reluctant to express their opinions, Living Colour played “Bi” (a song about bisexuality), on NBC’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Vernon — [Mistaken Identity (1996)] with Ronald Shannon Jackson’s Decoding Society / Defunkt / Guitar Oblique with David Torn and Elliott Sharp / Magic Science, Gil Evans’ arrangements of Jimi Hendrix songs with Medeski, Martin & Wood, and the Gil Evans Orchestra / Salif Keita / James “Blood” Ulmer / Free Form Funky Freqs / Masque / Global Noize with Jason Miles …
Corey Glover — [Hymns (1998) As Reverend Daddy Love, formed a band called Vice with guitarist Mike Ciro / Sonic Adventure Remix (1998) / Live at CBGB’s ive at The Wetlands (1999) / with Galactic
Will Calhoun — [Celebrating Elvin Jones (2016) / Life in This World (2015) / Native Lands (2011) / Housework (1995) / Drumwave (1997)] / The Will Calhoun Quintet: Live at the Blue Note (2000) with Bobby Watson (alto saxophone), John Benitez (bass), Orrin Evans (piano), and Terell Stafford (trumpet)] / Head>>Fake (drum/bass) with Doug Wimbish / Jungle Funk with Doug Wimbish and Vinx (vocals/percussion) 1999 / Herb Alpert Colors (1999) with Doug Wimbish / Dhafer Youssef Electric Sufi (2001) with Doug Wimbish …
Doug Wimbish — [CinemaSonics (2008) / Trippy Notes for Bass (2000)] / Cyberpunk Billy Idol (1993) / Don’t Look Back Al Green (1993) / Wandering Spirit Mick Jagger (1993) / Time Machine Joe Satriani (1993) / Never Turn Back (1993), The Wolf That House Built (1994), Slow Fuse (1995) Little Axe / Medusa Annie Lennox / Letters Never Sent (1994), Carly Simon: Live at Grand Central Station (1995) Carly Simon / 12 Hits and a Bump (1996) Mas Feedback (1997) Nicklebag w/Bernard Fowler (1996) / Miracles Bim Sherman (1997) / Ultra Depeche Mode (1997) / Bridges To Babylon Rolling Stones (1997) / Michael Hutchence (1999) / Jungle Funk (1999) with Will Calhoun and Vinx / Herb Alpert Colors (1999) with Will Calhoun / Dhafer Youssef Electric Sufi (2001) with Will Calhoun /
• LIVING COLOUR / COVER
• LIVING COLOUR Pt./1 — a vivid beginning
• LIVING COLOUR Pt./2 — post-apocalyptic reunion
• LIVING COLOUR Pt.3 — back in the USSR
• LIVING COLOUR / “who shot ya?”
• LIVING COLOUR / SHADE (Sept. 9, 2017)