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Living Colour keeps it "Vivid" 30 years on

By Gary Graff
Digital First Media/@GraffonMusic

Posted: Sunday, September 21, 2014

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As it celebrates the 30th anniversary of its formation, Living Colour is "still alive and kicking," according to bassist Doug Wimbish -- and as busy as it's ever been.

The Grammy Award-winning New York quartet, the first African-American band in the hard rock world, has a new album, the blues-influenced "Shade" -- its sixth and first since 2009's "The Chair in the Doorway" -- on tap for 2015. And during the interim it's released a new live album.

"It's just great to still be able to exist and have a voice and be friends," says Wimbish, 57, who before joining Living Colour in 1992 was instrumental in encouraging guitarist Vernon Reid to start the band and also hooking the group up with Mick Jagger, who produced some of its early demos. "Music is a reflection of your life; how you live, it comes out in your music. We've aged well. We're like that bottle of wine that somebody's had for awhile, and it's just gotten better with age.

"It's a joy to be able to be around and still be busy, and I really treasure our relationship and our experiences."

Wimbish chalks up Living Colour's durability to an ability to straddle lines and serve a variety of purposes with its music. The group takes on plenty of serious, socio-political topics, particularly racism, in its songs, but the bassist says it can do so while still rocking the room and giving its fans a good time.

"We're one of the bands that can give you the raindrops and walk between the raindrops as well," Wimbish explains. "We're a band that can speak to sensitive issues of politics and race and also be a band that can get you on the dance floor and in the mosh pit with your friends and have a good time.

"But we've always managed to stay true to the ideals of what the band is about, a voice representing the people.

"And we cover a lot of ground. We play for a girl that wants to hear a nice ballad and the guy who wants to hear Vernon rip on his guitar and the drumheads who want to hear Will (Calhoun) play. There's enough activity to keep everybody happy. So moving forward we're just trying to be honest to ourselves and exploring the possibilities of what we can do."

Living Colour and Unlocking The Truth

Friday, Sept. 19. Doors open at 8 p.m.

The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale

Tickets are $25

Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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