A line from the new Living Colour song Behind the Sun, on the forthcoming album, The Chair in the Doorway, pretty much sums up the band's current status with its fans:
We're still here. You're still there.
It seems that folks have been turning up in droves lately for performances by the Grammy-winning New York funk-metal band thatwas all over MTV and progressive rock radio in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and whose song Cult of Personality is inspiring a generation of young video gamers to play along on Guitar Hero III.
Lead singer Corey Glover insists that Living Colour hasn't really been in hiding. Rather, he and bandmates Vernon Reid, Doug Wimbish and Will Calhoun have spent the last four years re-engaging their quest to create thoughtful, emotive sounds that will connect with fans old and young.
The band's tour stop Wednesday at the Bourbon Street Concert Club in New Port Richey marks its first return to the Tampa Bay area in more than 15 years.
"It has been a long time and a lot of water under the bridge," Glover said by phone this week. "But we're ready to get back to it. It's more fun than it's ever been."
Glover describes The Chair in the Doorway, due to be released Tuesday, as a compilation of musical ideas that the band members separately and collectively assembled over the past few years. The record was finally completed late last year during a break in the band's European tour.
"We had never done a record like that before," Glover said. "It worked well. No stress, nothing negative."
For Glover, being able to simply go into a studio without high-pressure expectations is a luxury that wasn't often afforded the group in its early days, when it was being touted as hard rock's saviors.
Formed in 1983 by guitarist Reid, Living Colour existed for several years as an outlet for Reid's complex jazz/punk experimentations, with members coming and going at will. With the arrival of Glover, the band began to focus more on songwriting and creating a more marketable sound.
The band's debut album, Vivid, released in 1988, proved to be a powerful calling card, yielding hits such as Cult of Personality, Glamour Boys and Funny Vibe. The album reached No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and earned the group its first Grammy for best hard rock performance.
Tours with headliners such as the Rolling Stones and Guns N' Roses during the early 1990s pushed Living Colour further into the spotlight. But by 1995, Reid and Glover felt the band had run its course and they disbanded the group to pursue solo projects.
Since reuniting in 2000, Glover said, the quartet has a deeper, more pliable working relationship. Things like recording and touring "are less of a chore now."
For Glover, who was an aspiring actor when he joined Living Colour, the looser reins have allowed him to take advantage of some cherished opportunities. In 2006, he began a two-year stint in the role of Judas in the touring production of Jesus Christ Superstar opposite legendary musical stage actor Ted Neely.
Glover admits that performing the role night after night had its challenges for a rock singer who was used to being spontaneous onstage.
"Act is limiting, to a degree. But, like everything, you can find ways to inject something or your own," he said. "I found ways to change things up a bit."
For now, Glover has turned his full attention to Living Colour and its current tour, which will wind through small venues throughout the United States before heading to South America and Europe.
While Glover won't predict the future of Living Colour, he says the chemistry of the band almost ensures that it will stick around awhile.
"I feel there's plenty left for us to say, a few more chapters to write," he said. "In a lot of ways, it's better than it's ever been."
Logan Neill can be reached at email@example.com or (352) 848-1435.
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If you go
A concert with Living Colour, with supporting acts Earl Brown's Triple Threat and Phantasm, starts at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Bourbon Street Concert Club, 4331 U.S. 19, New Port Richey. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Minors must be accompanied by an adult. Call (727) 843-0686 for information.