Emperor's new clothes?

Living Colour reemerge after a six-year break, hard rock intact but Body Glove suits 'long since gone.'


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LIVING COLOUR BOUNDED out of the gate so quickly and successfully that it'd make more sense if they'd flamed out spectacularly, like so many of their late-'80s, Behind the Music-subject peers. But the New York quartet enjoyed a seven-year run as a hard-driving, funk-flavored rock band that earned two Grammys and released four albums—including the 1988 debut Vivid, which yielded hits like "Glamour Boys" and "Cult of Personality"—and then broke up quietly. They'd been pioneers, crashing through the color barrier to become the first black rock icons since Hendrix. And then they found other things to do: Fiery guitarist Vernon Reid became a respected New York session player and live performer; Body Glove-wearing vocalist Corey Glover released a solo disc and fronted subsequent bands, some including Living Colour drummer Will Calhoun and bassist Doug Wimbish. They all remained friendly, avoided pitfalls such as drug habits or car crashes, and are reuniting for a brief tour of the United States and a jaunt down to South America. Glover took a break from rehearsals to answer a few questions about Living Colour, version 2.0.

Seattle Weekly: Living Colour were among the first bands to combine hard rock and funk, a hybrid that's now at the top of the charts. How is it for you watching the kind of music you used to play become popular—does that affect how you feel about Living Colour?

Corey Glover: No, we weren't motivated by what anyone else was doing. We were motivated by what we were doing and what we had to say. Just like any other band, we had influences. Did we get back together because of what's happening now? No. We got together because it's time to do it.

Living Colour had been broken up for more than six years, and yet there are still Internet sites devoted to you, and ticket sales for the reunion shows are reportedly healthy. How does that make you feel?

It makes you believe that you said something to people and they actually heard you. It's funny: We were just trying to express ourselves and people related to that. Thank God for the advent of the Internet because a lot of really good bands that have come and gone would not have the life they have now. . . . Our fans are a hearty breed. They've been through a lot with us, and the fact they appreciate what we do is great.

How old are you now?

I'm 36.

Living Colour shows were always really physical. Do you have to work out to get in shape for the tour?

I never stopped working out. I was working out when I was younger. You have to in order to stay healthy, period. Not just because I'm a singer in a band, in this band, but because I want to live a lot longer. Smoking and drinking and that kind of stuff preclude that.

What should people expect from Living Colour 2001?

They should expect to hear the things they want to hear. And more.

What about visually? You guys will always be remembered for the bright Body Glove suits—

Even toward the end of Living Colour the Body Glove thing and the hair were long since gone. You're not going to see any of that.


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