Will Calhoun of Living Colour: "There Are Still People Who Can't Accept the Fact That Black Musicians Play Rock and Roll"

Categories: Interviews

Living Colour
From the very beginning,Living Colour broke boundaries and erased stereotypes. If known only for their breakthrough single, "Cult of Personality," Living Colour's place in rock 'n' roll history would be secure, but the band's career is much deeper than that.

From a tour stop in Raleigh, North Carolina, and in anticipation of Saturday night's show at the Kessler Theater, drummer Will Calhoun talked with DC9 about the band's 25-year anniversary.

This is the 25th anniversary of the band. How has the music business changed since you first got together?

It has changed a lot. We don't have CD shops. We used to go out and look at albums, at sleeves. Now, you download songs for 99 cents. You can download songs for free. It can be a nightmare with all this technology. Luckily, with Living Colour, we have a very unique live show. It can be improvised in order to create a unique vibe. Music is very immediate now. You can record a show and then get back to your hotel room and the whole show is edited and up online. The people make comments and they judge you. Technology has made it easier to get information out to people and for an artist that is a beautiful thing.

Why do you think vinyl is making a comeback?

It's the same reason why people might want to drive a standard car over an automatic. Technology doesn't change the nation. It's a new way to do things, but not everybody chooses to cross the street. Some people don't like cell phones or laptops. There are people who don't use computers and still have answering machine. I have to say that we physiologically are pretty germane to the sound of vinyl. We both give off very similar vibrations. People react to the sound of vinyl. It's a whole different sound. It's a combination of things. My generation really enjoyed vinyl, purchasing it, taking a look at the covers. I am from the Bronx and from the whole generation of scratching. When I see people now scratching on a laptop, I know that is not the same art. I think there is an academic response to the vinyl and how it sounds.

You went to the Berklee College of Music. Is it better to be a trained musician or come at it organically like punk bands do?

My way is to be as skilled as possible. I love classical music. I love jazz. I like to read music. Punk was about feeling. They made a commotion. The music is created out of how you feel. To me, there is nothing wrong with that. It comes down to how you want to express yourself. I feel like you do whatever is best to do your job. I think a punk could be just as good of a musician as someone who is trained. Expression is the important thing.

You have played with an amazing array of artists. What was your impression of B.B. King?

I was honored to be in that session. B.B. is a genius. He was always very respectful. I was trying to make everything fit and B.B. said, "Young man, when I turn around and tell you it's not happening, then it's not happening." It was an amazing session and B.B. took it really easy with me.

What about Herb Albert?

Herb was fantastic. He allowed me to produce and write songs for him. I learned many things from Herb. He has a very interesting background. Herb really surprised me with all the techniques that he could play. There are a million things I learned from him. It was an absolute education to be around him.

What about Public Enemy?

That's one of my favorite bands in the world. They were friends of ours. I loved their music and their message. The production and sampling were amazing. They did some amazing things with sounds and samples. They are like the John Coltrane of rap to me.

Location Info


The Kessler Theater

1230 W. Davis St., Dallas, TX

Category: Music

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The kind of people who think black people have no place in Rock and Roll themselves have no place in it. I mean c'mon, is there really a color to music of any kind? Ever heard of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jimi Hendrix, Living Colour (obviously), Lenny Kravitz, etc? All excellent musicians in Rock and Roll. Some people are just dumb as hell, and you just have to over look them and walk right past them on your way to greatness.

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

"There Are Still People Who Can't Accept the Fact That Black Musicians Play Rock and Roll"

... sure ... like they Snowboard, Waterski, Skydive and Climb Mountains ...


I'm so thankful you approved of said comment.  Sometimes, word economy is needed.  You wrote the vacuous review of a very tired subject.  

Gosh, I never realized that there were Black musicians in Rock & Roll, particularly metal and/or hair bands from the 1980's.  I'm sorry if you suffered a narcissistic injury from my comment.  But, I can go on if you like. 

So, these blokes are having a comeback tour?  I don't know if Blabbermouth.net needs to know this.  I will see if they've covered such.

Lighten the fuck up.


@DeathBreath moron, my article wasn't about his quote. it's called a preview for a show. band is coming through on 25th anniversary tour, talk to one of them and write down what he says. magazines have done this every week for decades. 


@darrylrs @DeathBreath  Oh, my goodness, the narcissistic injury was more severe than I first realized.  Mr. DARRYLS comes back again because his fragile ego was threatened?You exemplify the phrase, "shallow brooks are noisy."  Would you like me to explain it to you?  I read your stupid fucking article.  In fact, I posted it in front of the toilet to elicit Peristalsis.  I still contend you wrote a shallow article concerning a very tired subject..  You know what?  Your mother should have swallowed!  Why don't you go to the show & orally service the band!


LC was kinda swallowed up by the Cotton Bowl opening for the Stones in 89. Must've been hard to move from clubs to stadiums so quickly. They were total pros and great players though. How rock n roll became politically incorrect for some black folk today is a mystery considering the timeless contributions of Bo, Chuck, Fats, Richard and untold others? Good topic for your next article Darryl?

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