By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Although it's been six years since Living Colour released a new album—and seemingly that long since the band played a gig in its home country—lead singer Corey Glover doesn't think the time off will affect his band adversely as it hits the road on its current tour of the States.
"We spent a long time gathering up grooves and ideas for the songs that are on this new record," Glover says. "I know it's good music, and that's what's important to me. This material has been road-tested in Europe, and it'll be great music to play live here."
The new record is The Chair in the Doorway, the band's loud and riff-heavy return to music store shelves. Featuring the same kind of punk/metal/funk fusion that defined the band's sound in the late '80s, new songs such as "DecaDance" and "Out of Mind" are as intense and rhythmic as "Cult of Personality," the groundbreaking cut that first introduced the band to the world back in 1988.
"We're proud of the new record, but there's nothing on it that should surprise fans of the band," Glover says modestly.
Although The Chair in the Doorway features the familiar mix of metal and funk that the band became famous for, Glover still doesn't feel completely comfortable with his band having any type of label.
"We were always the band that didn't like to be labeled at all," Glover says. " We don't want to be confined by a label. Funk and metal was never meant to be the be-all-end-all of what we are. There's world music in our sound, jazz, a whole lot of stuff."
Yet for better or worse, Living Colour will always be known for "Cult of Personality" and the video for the song that was played endlessly by MTV back when MTV still played music videos. To hear Glover tell it, the band always knew the song would be a hit—and one that would keep the band relevant as it aged.
"Back in the day, we knew that 'Cult' was a really good song and that it was special," Glover says. "A good song will always stand the test of time. Plus, we never play the song the same way. It never sounds the same."
Yet even with such creative adaptability, after "Cult of Personality," the band struggled to sustain its mainstream success. The sophomore album Time's Up, while a critical favorite, didn't reach the popular heights of the debut. The 1991 follow-up EP, Biscuits, meanwhile, was an obvious collection of filler. It was about that time when original bassist Muzz Skillings quit the band. The next release, 1992's Stain, couldn't break the Top 10 on the charts.
Just a few years later, the band called it quits.
But Living Colour re-formed in 2000; released another album, Collideøscope, in 2003; and now appears fully back in the swing of things with The Chair in the Doorway, which hits the streets this week.
And, according to Glover, it couldn't come at a better time.
"People need to know we've been back together for nine years," Glover says emphatically. "This new record should help people get the facts straight."