Man, has it really been 25 years since Living Colour hit the scene with the release of their debut album, Vivid?
The answer is yes, and to make sure everyone is aware of this fact, the band is now on tour celebrating the 25th anniversary release of the album by performing the whole album live and in sequential order.
Its been 25 years since the release of Vivid, and we thought we should commemorate that in some way, says Corey Glover, 48, the groups charismatic lead singer. If no one was, we should at least.
Contrary to those who havent heard from the band in a while, Living Colour has been a full-functioning rock unit for a minute now. Despite the hiatus they took when they broke up in 1996, they eventually got together three years later, releasing a couple of albums in the aughts.
We dont have records that are in the top ten, says Glover. You dont see us on TV all the time but that doesnt mean that weve stopped working.
Of course, there was a time when this New York-bred, hard-rock foursome, which originated out of the East Coast arts collective known as the Black Rock Coalition, did have top-ten records and numerous TV appearances. Cult of Personality, their politically charged first single off Vivid, became their classic, Grammy-winning signature song.
The bands energetic, funk-metal style (not to mention the fact that they were black men playing rock music) made them hard-rock superstars, even opening up for the Rolling Stones on their 1989 Steel Wheels tour. (Mick Jagger produced two songs on Vivid.)
Even though Glover and his Living Colour bandmates guitarist Vernon Reid, drummer Will Calhoun and bassist Doug Wimbish (original bassist Muzz Skillings left the group in 1992) broke through the predominantly pale-skinned barriers of rock music to become heavy-metal hitters in the late 80s and 90s, leading the way for brown-skinned, rock-and-soul performers like Lenny Kravitz and Meshell Ndegeocello, Glover says that its rare to find good rock music from black or white people these days. I think that the whole rock genre is slightly not in favor, at this point, says Glover, saying its more about pop, R&B and hip-hop in todays music market.
Hard rock bands like ourselves are sort of relegated to secondary status, Glover says. There are not a lot of hard rock bands around right now. There arent any new ones, I should say. I havent seen any real, new ones that are poking their heads above ground.
Even when theyre not in Living Colour form, the members stay busy with other projects. Calhoun dropped a jazz album in May titled Life in This World. Reid hosts a podcast with comedian W. Kamau Bell (star of the FX show Totally Biased with Kamau Bell) called The Field Negro Guide to Arts and Culture. Glover released a solo album last year, titled The Pledge, and has also performed and toured with New Orleans groups Galactic and the Soul Rebels Brass Band.
It was sort of happenstance, he says of his involvement with the groups. I sat in with the bands, you know. Theyre big in the jam-band scene, so theres a lot of people coming and sitting in with those bands. And it sort of clicked.
Glover is now out and about with his Living Colour brethren, commemorating their first album and letting people know theyre writing and developing another one.
Were still around, he says. Were still doing what we do. I like to think that were still trying to push the envelope, if you will, as to what this music is and what this music can and will say.