Written By: David Carr
Photos By: Hali McGrath
New York based rockers Living Colour are back with a vengeance. They have a new disc out (The Chair In The Doorway) on a new label (Megaforce) and they are in the middle of their first US tour in nearly six years. The band is fronted by the dynamic vocalist Corey Glover. Glover not only sings but he is an accomplished actor and recently stared in the musical/touring production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” I had the opportunity to chat with Corey Glover before he and his bandmates put on a jaw dropping live show in Hollywood CA. Corey gave his insights on the band, their new disc, fatherhood and on how he deals with “the chair in the doorway” and life” behind the sun.”
David Carr: Corey how’s the tour been so far? What has it been like to reintroduce the band to the music public?
Corey Glover: The tour is going really well. We knew we had to start over again, but the shows have been good. The people who are coming out to the shows are the die hards. These are the folks who have been with us from day one. Those folks are the ones who are actually bringing the new fans who have never seen or heard us. The old school fans are bringing the new ones along.
DC: I know that a lot went into recording this latest disc. How has the new material translated in a live setting? Did you always keep that thought in the back of your mind, the fact that you wanted these tunes to be able to connect live?
CG: The new songs have worked really well on stage! We absolutely thought about how these songs would work live. We based a lot of what we did in the studio around the idea of playing these songs live and really connecting with the audience.
DC: The single off the new disc is “Behind the Sun”. The song itself is about the tragedy that was, Hurricane Katrina and the government’s slow/botched response. How did the tragedy affect you?
CG: The whole thing was just sad…the fact is people, human beings and history has been eradicated by what some have called a “near miss”…near miss?!!? That was not a near miss! For me it really hit hard because New Orleans is the birthplace for the music I do, it’s the place that created the music I do in order to have a livelihood and now it looks like a third world country!
DC: You and your wife have been very active in the rebuilding of New Orleans. Tell me a little about what you are doing?
CG: The New York to New Orleans Coalition – NY2NO was founded and is led by NYC high school students. They’re a consensus-based organization working to create a network of young people who are interested in organizing and mobilizing across NYC. NY2NO works in solidarity with those most affected by the social, racial, and economic inequalities in both New York and New Orleans.
The Primary goals are organizing trips of NYC high school students to New Orleans, bottom-up organizing NOLA residents, rebuilding, clearing lots, and setting up sustainable gardens to help provide healthy food to folks in the Lower Ninth Ward. NY2NO was also involved with the inception of Our School at Blair Grocery, a freedom school and the only high school in the Lower Ninth. Another goal is keeping the NYC high school students involved after they come back home with organization efforts in NYC.
DC: Sounds like you are doing a lot to help with all of the issues still affecting the Lower Ninth Ward.
CG: We want to rebuild, we want people to come back home…we just want folks to understand that things are still not back to normal in New Orleans.
DC: During the last few recording sessions of your latest disc your mother passed away. I am very sorry for your loss. I believe your father had passed away years ago, during the early years of the band. Were your parents supportive of what you were doing?
CG: Yeah, they really were supportive. I mean, like any other set of parents they were a bit surprised but me doing this wasn’t a shock to them. I have been singing since I was six years old! They just wanted to make sure I would be able to make a living at this. They were supportive and when things started to work out for the band…they were proud.
DC: You are now married with children. How has fatherhood been for you?
CG: Well, I do miss my family and my kids have started school so I can’t take them on tour with me. They have come to gigs before and my oldest has told me that he likes Living Colour, HA!
DC: Corey you are one of the few vocalists from your era that still has a very strong voice! You have not slowed down at all when it comes to your vocal ability. What’s your secret?
CG: SLEEP! HA! I sleep a lot. My throat is a muscle. It has to rest so it can get strong and rebuild itself after it gets used. I try to get as much sleep as I possibly can.
DC: In getting to know Living Colour over the years is it safe to say that when you all are on the same page it’s sort of an “us against the world” attitude but when there is disagreement it can get pretty ugly? Is that the dynamic of the band?
CG: Well when families have real knock down, drag out fights are they really fighting about the issue at hand or is there something else that the person needs to deal with? Is there something else going on that the person is not dealing with? That’s what we have been through and that’s what the title of the disc is all about.
You can walk around the “chair”. You can walk around the issues but in the end you have to confront them head on or you won’t get anywhere, you won’t grow. That’s what this band has had to do in order to create this music and record this disc.
DC: I saw your performance on the Jimmy Fallon show. There is no doubt you all are playing with a renewed sense of purpose and passion. What’s next after this US tour?
CG: We go to Europe and then South America. After that we are ready to tour with anyone here in the states!
Living Colour North American 2009 Tour Dates (remainder)
Sept 30 – Fine Line Music Cafe – Minneapolis, MN – Ticketmaster
Oct 2 – The Magic Bag – Detroit, MI – Ticketmaster
Oct 3 – Lee’s Palace – Toronto, ONT – Ticketmaster
Oct 4 – Double Door – Chicago, IL – Ticketmaster
Oct 5 – The Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH – Ticketmaster
Oct 30 – Highline Ballroom – New York, NY – TicketWeb