Thursday, January 14 at 8 p.m.
During the 1980s, rock had become completely segregated and predictable, the opposite of the late '60s/early '70s, when such musically and ethnically varied artists as Jimi Hendrix, Sly & the Family Stone, and Santana ruled the Earth. But bands such as New York's Living Colour helped break down the doors by the end of the '80s, leading to a much more open-minded musical landscape. The group (singer Corey Glover, guitarist Vernon Reid, bassist Muzz Skillings, and drummer Will Calhoun) first formed in the mid-'80s, with Reid being the only member with real prior band experience.
It took the fledgling band a few years for their sound to gel, as they honed their act at N.Y.C.'s famed CBGB's. But the group found an unlikely supporter in Mick Jagger, who took the band under his wing, produced a demo for the quartet, and helped them secure a record deal with Epic. Living Colour's debut album, Vivid, was issued in the summer of 1988. By the winter, the band's striking video for their anthem "Cult of Personality" was all over MTV, pushing Vivid to the upper reaches of the charts and to platinum certification. Living Colour also took home their first of several Grammy® Awards, as "Cult" won Best Hard Rock Performance at the 1989 ceremony.
Starting with Vivid, the band showed that rock could still convey a message (as evidenced by such tracks as "Open Letter to a Landlord" and "Funny Vibe”). The quartet’s sophomore effort, Time's Up, performed respectably on the charts, but failed to live up to the expectations of their smash debut. An appearance at the inaugural Lollapalooza tour in the summer of 1991 kept the group in the public's eye. Skillings left the group shortly thereafter (replaced by studio vet Doug Wimbish), as their darkest and most challenging release yet, Stain, was issued in 1993. Although it failed to sell as well as its predecessors, it retained the band's large and dedicated following, as Living Colour appeared to be entering a groundbreaking new musical phase of their career. The band began writing the following year for what would be their fourth full-length, but an inability to settle on a single musical direction caused friction between the members, leading to Living Colour's demise in early 1995.
With Living Colour out of commission for several years by the early 21st century, Calhoun and Wimbish teamed up once more with Glover in a new outfit, Headfake. A few days before Christmas in 2000, Headfake played a show at CBGB's, and were joined on-stage by Reid, which led to rumors of an impending Living Colour reunion. The rumors proved to be true, as Living Colour launched their first tour together in six years during the summer of 2001. In 2003, Living Colour returned with a deal with Sanctuary and their most experimental release to date, Collideøscope.
The year 2013 marked the 25th anniversary of the Living Colour's debut Vivid with successful tours throughout Europe, Japan, and North and South America. Living Colour are currently in the studio recording new album, Shade, to be released in late 2015.