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Living Colour, ‘Program’ – Exclusive Song Premiere

Megaforce / Photo by Travis Shinn
Megaforce / Photo by Travis Shinn

Living Colour last released an album in 2009, but the band is about to return in a big way. Their new album, Shade, is on schedule for a Sept. 8 release via Megaforce Records and we’ve got something special in store for your today. We’ve teamed up with the group to bring you the exclusive premiere of the new song “Program,” which can be heard in the player at the bottom of this post.

The song starts off with an interview piece featuring rapper Scarface, where he’s discussing rock bands and frantically trying to remember the name of Living Colour, only managing to recall the “Cult of Personality” guitar lick. Singer Corey Glover tells us, “We did an interview for somebody, I forget who we did the interview for. But, somebody told us, ‘You know, he mentioned you guys.’ And it was like, ‘Really, what did he use?’ Just that inasmuch he said that there are really just this string of rock bands, in his estimation. He’s like, ‘Whatever happened to those guys?’ That’s the question we get all the time. Whatever happened? Like we fell off the face of the Earth and now we’re working at the post office. We’re not. We’re still doing what we do.”

Much like “Cult of Personality” all those years ago, “Program” also deals with the media, but in this case it’s more touching on how the message is controlled and presented. “Back in the day, the news was called a ‘loss leader.’ It wasn’t for profit. News wasn’t made to sell stuff. News was there to be purely informational. That was their public service. That’s all the news was supposed to be, a public service that lets you know what’s going on in and around the world you live in. Not to be an arm of some sort of political ideology,” says Glover. “It wasn’t a place for you to get your talking points out of. It was a place for you to get informational.”

He continues, “Then at some point it was like, we could make a lot of money in this. There’s something to be said about it. That we’ve taken the notion of public service itself out of the equation. That even within the context of politics, I don’t know any politician that isn’t in some ways a rich person. There are no poor politicians. There isn’t a politician that has a day job. What happened to public service?”

And given that “Program” has a bit of a call back to “Cult of Personality,” Glover also reflected on that song’s history and how it’s almost more fitting today than when it was written. “We are 30 years past that point and in that time we had Reagan, Gorbachev and Glasnost, Marcos — all these people that were in the midst of the Zeitgeist, right? These people had that about them, and even going further back than that, you can talk about civil rights leaders. The people we have in the song, from Malcolm X to Teddy Roosevelt to go back even further. Go back even further with Lincoln and all kinds of people, but they had something about them that was – that had gone from history to myth. There’s a mythos about George Washington. There’s a mythos about Thomas Jefferson. There’s a mythos about Winston Churchill and that’s what we were talking about at the time. It feels like we’ve learned – like the news, we’ve learned how to commodify it. We’ve learned how to make money from it. People wearing the t-shirt not knowing who Che Guevara is or what he stood for. Somebody having that photo of Barack Obama who is about to go into that realm pretty soon, I’m sure.”

As stated, “Program” can be found on Living Colour’s upcoming album Shade, which can be pre-ordered via Amazon and iTunes. Living Colour have a wealth of tour dates ahead of them. Find out where you can see them rocking out here.

Living Colour, “Program”

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