Living Colour Talk ‘Shade,’ Social Issues, Unlocking the Truth + More
Living Colour performed two smashing sets on this year’s ShipRocked Cruise and we had the chance to chat with vocalist Corey Glover and drummer Will Calhoun about their upcoming album, Shade, touring with Unlocking the Truth and certain social and political issues that they feel need to be addressed. Check out our interview with Corey Glover and Will Calhoun of Living Colour below:
The very young rockers of Unlocking the Truth have toured with you. What are your thoughts on them? Did you give them any advice while out on the road?
Will Calhoun: Unlocking the Truth is the kind of band where they remind us of us. We know their parents and they grew up the way we grew up. Our parents let us jam in the basement in the house and it was fantastic to see the new generation come up.
We always give them advice, sometimes they call us individually and sometimes their parents call us individually. We don’t want them to go through some of the hurdles we went through. So we want to give them advice and turn them to people who can make the process more efficient.
The upcoming album is called Shade. What does the title mean to you?
Corey Glover: As time progresses, a shadow falls, and it’s about the progression of time. We’re trying to dissect and really take the roots of the music that created us and take it to task
WC: There’s a lot of music in there, I spent a lot of time in Africa and I’ve been studying music there and connecting the dots – mostly hanging out with a lot of indigenous musicians. A lot of what I want to bring is a cultural history, too. Gnawa music is more than 40,000 years old but the essence is the same; it’s about issues and family.
When we mix these things in it’s part of our shade, as well. It’s about time and it’s also about how music has traveled throughout the world and become different colors and goes different places.
What does the rest of 2015 have in store for you guys?
WC: We have to finish a record, we have to finish some writing. We’ve done a few things already then there are somethings that we haven’t don’t that we need to do. Sometimes you have to step away from it and then you realize that all the ingredients aren’t in there yet. We have new management and we have a new booking agent. We have new people that understand the focus of Living Colour and who we want to be not what people think Living Colour should be.
We do have issues that other rock bands don’t and I don’t mean that in a negative way. We have to address what’s going on in the States, what’s going on with the police, beyond saying something is black and white and young or old.
CG: It’s pervasive. It’s not just going on in New York City. You go to Atlanta, it’s the same s--t. The police in central Florida, they keep their hoods in their back pocket and I’m not telling any lies when I say that.
WC: It says something about the country; we’ve never had that conversation because having that conversation means some of the monuments have to be torn down. That real conversation is not an apology, it’s not equal rights, it’s not just shaking hands, it’s changing. There’s no intention of that happening.
I remember going to a rock radio station in California and we were opening up for the Stones and Guns N’ Roses. Everybody in the radio station has suits, it looked like a lawyer’s office. It was a culture shock like, is this where rock radio is going?
I said, “What song were you guys on?” and nobody answered. We’re doing a radio interview, we’re playing a sold out stadium and I go, “Excuse me, What song are you guys on?” Quietly the radio jockey goes “We can’t play your record,” well then what are we doing here then?
If you’re not going to be on a radio station then how do you create it for yourself? Unlocking the Truth needs to look at us and not get stuck. They have to be able to see us and go, “That door didn’t work for them but they went in through that door.”
That needs to be challenged at the same time. What changes things for us to do what we want to do? There’s no reason to complain about Oscars or Grammys or who’s doing what. We know what we have and what we can create.