Vernon Reid is the founding member, guitarist and primary songwriter of the metal-funk-rock-jazz outfit Living Colour. We caught up with Vernon to talk about his inspirations, integrating the hardware and software elements of his rig, and a bit about what he’s been listening to lately.
For starters, can you tell us who you are and what you do?
My name is Vernon Reid and I’m a guitarist, songwriter, multimedia artist and producer. I’m most associated with the rock band I started in the 80’s, Living Colour. I’ve recorded and performed with a wide range of artists including Mariah Cary, Santana, Jack Bruce, Tracey Chapman, Bill T. Jones, David Torn, Oliver Lake, Steve Vai, Bill Frissell and Chocolate Genius.
You’re known for having a large pedalboard and making it look easy, how did you get started exploring that aspect of guitar playing?
I guess my attraction to electronics started from hearing guitarists like Hendrix & Fripp exploring the outer reaches of what is possible with the sound of guitar. I certainly also credit innovative players like Tommy Bolin, Ernie Isley, Adrian Belew, Tom Morello, The Edge, Mahavishnu, David Torn & Allan Holdsworth, who are remarkably creative with regards to creating unique sounds that also furthered guitar culture’s range of expression.
How do you integrate your hardware and computer-based effects when you play live?
I love my Focusrite iTrack iPad dock-It gives me access to all the cool stuff being done on IOS like Audiobus & the excellent Bias Amp by Positive Grid.
Do you have any tour essentials? What do you make sure to bring when you’re out on the road?
I love my Focusrite iTrack iPad dock-It gives me access to all the cool stuff being done on IOS like Audiobus & the excellent Bias Amp by Positive Grid
What music have you been listening to lately?
Van Hunt’s The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets. Tony William’s Believe It. Art Brut vs Satan. Soundgarden King Animal. Julia Brown Strange Scars. D’Angelo Black Messiah. Lou Reed Perfect Day. Lots of Ornette Coleman.
Anything else you’d like to talk about?
I hope that the explosion of music technology leads to breakthroughs in the way we live ergonomically. That’s one of the things that makes KMI products truly great-how sturdy, light and easy to transport they are, as well as how incredibly versatile they are.
Check out this awesome performance of Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality” from The Arsenio Hall Show: