Kicking down doors
Just when you thought it was all about inarticulate moans of boredom and frustration, Craig McLean ﬁnds rock with something to say in the work of Living Colour and Naked Truth.
Darkness on the edge of frown . . . Clenched intensity. psychological blackspots. tormented worlds. seething angst — sheesh. this heavy metal is heavy shit. Both Living Colour’s new album and Naked Truth’s debut are. fighting examples of rock with a headache and rock with a point. The titles say it all: Stain. Living Colour's third. nods to the ‘taint’ that somehow. everytime. marks outcasts and outsiders. Fig/n is the end-product of Naked Truth's struggles to be heard in their hometown of Atlanta before making a creative and business shift to London. Most judiciously. they are about to tour together. In both cases that anger is an energy and stems in no small part from the — wow. how amazing — fact that Living Colour and Naked Truth happen to play hard rock and have the temerity to be black at the same time. Shocker. Kicking against the conservative crock of white rock has been no easy task. Less of which later. . .
Stain is the least obviously commercial record you’ve made. Corey.
‘Least obviously commercial‘." Corey Glover. Living Colour's vocalist. sounds puzzled. ‘1 think it's the most commercial record we‘ve made - it really
‘When I was growing up, the rock bands that did interest me seemed like there was a lot of soul in what they were saying. I was listening to led Zeppelin and even some of the Sabbath stuff seemed like Ronnie James nio had listened to a lot of r ’n’ b music. But that’s what’s always interested me about rock bands — the vibe that was coming off the music.’
depends on your point of view. It‘s talking about the issues that are going on. It talks about things that tick you off. It talks about things you didn‘t want to think about.‘
Commercial? If so. don't expect an easy listen. This is hard news set in hard rock. The world is one messed up rat-hole. Stain sweeps out the whole turdy stink — alienation. prejudice. rage. guilt. sin. death. ‘These songs have a directness in the groove of them and the heaviness of them.‘ reckons guitarist Vernon Reid. But then again. ‘the joy of life is in this recording. in the way the four of us are interacting.
living Colour’s Doug Wimbish, Vernon Reid, Corey Glover and William Calhoun
This record doesn‘t put you in a bag and tell you to L stay there. As writers. we’re trying to be less self- righteous. to come down off the soapbox.‘
‘lt was a kind of catharsis.’ says Glover of the recording of Slain. And not just personally. internally. ‘We're a brand new band now.‘ In late
1 1991 bass player Mun. Skillings. pan of the Living 5 Colour corps since their inception in New York in the mid-80s. left the group. In walked Doug Wimbish. he
. of the thunderbass that has underpinned the various.
i vigorous outpourings of 'l‘ackhead. Sugar Hill Gang
and (ieorge Clinton, amongst others. His breadth and depth of experience are perfect for a band pumping a stew of metal. funk and serrated hip-hop. ‘I think his
nods (ilover. ‘because we don't limit ourselves either.‘
This lire/ire has long been Living (‘olour‘s bedrock. Heavy rock was hardly the most progressive of forms f in the 80s. both musically and attitudinally. Living ' Colour. though. jemmied open the doors that were i slammed in their faces by the white. poodle-penned i and poodle-brained rock establishment. Or. more accurately. ‘hopefully we blew open a few doors. put nitroglycerine under the doorstops!‘ snickers (‘orey Glover.
‘As far as the industry goes. Living (‘olour smoothed out certain paths.‘ afﬁrms Naked Truth vocalist Doug Watts. liven with the bleak rock tundra broken up by the funk influx and by grunge beginning to bleed into the mainstream. Naked Truth still struggled to get gigs in Atlanta a couple of years back. Rock‘s multi-vista'd. multi-cultural evolution.
l i sensibilities lend themselves to what we're doing.‘ l
f it seemed. had escaped the pig-ignorant club runners of America's south.
But not Watts: ‘When I was growing up. the rock bands that did interest me seemed like there was a lot of soul in what they were saying. I was listening to
Led Zeppelin and even some of the Sabbath stuff seemed like Ronnie James Dio had listened to a lot of r‘n’b music. But that's what‘s always interested me
about rock bands ~ the vibe that was coming off the
(IN FOLLOWING PAGES: THE JAYHAWKS O DAVE O’HIGGINS 0 BACK TO THE PLANET
‘I think it’s the most commercial record we’ve made - it really depends on your point of view. it’s talking about the issues that are going on. It talks about things that tick you off. It talks about things you did’t want to think about.’
When ex-(Tlash manager Bernard Rhodes caught the
i band at the hardcore club that Watts ran in Atlanta.
he offered his services. Naked Truth followed him to London. ‘There are lots of different cultural crossroads here.‘ says Doug. ‘whereas the first chance Atlanta will have in the international ﬁeld will be the Olympics. It‘s gonna really fuck them up ‘cos they‘re not used to it!‘
Naked Truth return to America this summer to tour. ‘There‘s still a long way to go.‘ muses Doug Watts. ‘We‘re always gonna be up against it.‘ says Corey Glover. Neither band would have it any other way. Living Colour and Naked Trth play Glasgow Barrow/and on Sunday 28 March.
The List 26.March—8 April I993 25