Interviews

Published on August 22nd, 2018 | by Darren Paltrowitz

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Living Colour’s Vernon Reid On The “Judgment Night” Soundtrack & Working With Run-DMC

Simply put, few artists can hard rock and funk like Living Colour. Songs like “Cult Of Personality,” “Love Rears Its Ugly Head,” “Open Letter (To A Landlord)” and “Glamour Boys” show a band that can play any genre to virtuosic levels. The New York-based, Grammy Award-winning quartet remains fully active all these years later, most recently releasing a studio album last year, 2017’s Shade.

I had the pleasure of speaking with founding guitarist Vernon Reid by phone and below are some of the highlights from that chat. More on Living Colour — which also includes frontman Corey Glover, bassist Doug Wimbish and drummer Will Calhoun — can be found at www.livingcolour.com.

How did it come together that you and Run-DMC would be working together on the Judgment Night soundtrack? Did you choose them? Did they choose you?

Vernon Reid: It was presented to us by the producers of the soundtrack. They approached our management about the concept and we just went, “Hey, that’s great.” There were all these different pairings. I think we had talked about Run-DMC. There were a bunch of people already paired off, and that’s pretty much how it came about.

The song that you did sort of sampled an older Run-DMC song. Was that part of the original concept?

Vernon Reid: Yeah, we came up with our part of it, and we kind of came up with the groove. It’s funny because we kind of did our parts separately. We had maybe 1 meet-up with them, which was very cool. We did our thing separately, we did our groove, and we did a certain mode and sent it out. They made it work, and when we heard it, we were blown away… I think a lot of it was Jam Master Jay.

The song itself, though, did you know that it was going to be sampling Run-DMC? Or did you do your part and they added their part?

Vernon Reid: We didn’t know how they were going to do their thing, because we did our thing and then they combined it. Somehow with between the 2 production teams, we managed to combine the 2 vibes and it turned out great. It’s actually 1 of my favorite tracks on the Judgment Night soundtrack.

I heard a rumor that you almost worked with Run-DMC a few years earlier by playing on “Kings Of Rock.” Is that true?

Vernon Reid: Well, no… That production family got me to play on the first Public Enemy album. But Eddie Martinez was already in the mix, because he had been playing with Labelle. He’s great, kind of a prodigy. They had already done “Rock Box” with him. That was the first rock-hip-hop thing they did, then they did “Kings Of Rock” after that. “Rock Box” was kind of a hit too.

The rumor out there was that they wanted you for the song but didn’t have your phone number. So that’s not true?

Vernon Reid: That is classic… I wouldn’t doubt it. (laughs) Things like that happened. That was in the days of landline telephones, right? You weren’t there for the call, or your sister picked up the call, or whatever. You could very easily have missed the date.


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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident (and Long Island native) with over 15 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his favorite band Superdrag. In the years following, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer.Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, Format Magazine, Businessweek, The Improper, the L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. He is a member of the SATW and the IFWTWA organizations as a food and travel writer.Darren is also the host the recently-launched "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" podcast, as co-produced with PureGrainAudio.


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