Vernon Reid is a British-born, American guitar player and songwriter. Reid was the founding member and primary songwriter of the legendary rock band Living Colour. Early formations of the group originally formed in New York City in 1983. However the lineup solidified in 1985–86 with Reid leading the group for another 10 years. Vernon Reid was named No. 66 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 2004 list of the 100 Greatest guitar player of All Time. That being said, he has definitely got some chops.
Stylistically, the band’s music is a creative fusion which blends elements of heavy metal, funk, jazz, hip hop, country, and alternative rock. Their lyrics range from personal to the political, in some of the latter cases attacking Eurocentrism and racism within America. Vivid, their debut album, was released in 1988 and sold double Platinum. Their sophomore effort, Time’s Up was released in 1990 and was gold-certified. Additionally, they received two consecutive Grammy Awards for Best Hard Rock Performance. Finally, they opened for the Rolling Stones’ 1989 “Steel Wheels” tour; and appeared on the inaugural Lollapalooza tour in the summer of 1991.
The End of an Era
Living Colour broke up in 1995 but reformed in 2000. Following the same path as many other bands over the years a brief hiatus was necessary. Since the temporary breakup, they have released three more albums. Including Collideøscope in October 2003, The Chair in the Doorway in September 2009, and Shade in September 2017.
Over the years and through the decades there are always a handful of bands that emerge that shake things up. They create a unique style and carve out a specific niche in a genre that is new and different. Vernon Reid has helped to create one of those special bands that really make a mark with a unique guitar playing style. Whether you have heard them or not, I highly suggest you give them a listen and let Vernon Reid’s playing and songwriting speak for itself.
Thank you to D&A Stands for setting up this interview with Vernon Reid. Check out the stands Vernon uses here.
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