#19: VERNON REID (LIVING COLOUR)
MetalSucks recently polled its staff to determine who are The Top 25 Modern Metal Guitarists, and after an incredible amount of arguing, name calling, and physical violence, we have finalized that list! The only requirements to be eligible for the list were that the musician in question had to a) play metal (duh), b) play guitar (double-duh), and c) have recorded something in the past five years. Today we continue our countdown with Living Colour’s Vernon Reid…
If ever I was told that a certain guitar icon has been living a secret life as a crazed face-eating killer, my first guess at that guitarist’s identity: Vernon Reid. Don’t take that wrong. I know that, in reality, he’s wonderful, an ambassador, an explorer, and a cross-genre samplee (on Public Enemy’s “Sophisticated Bitch”). He’s a higher-consciousness dude, a high-concept artiste (what’s a Marcel Duchamp?), and a high-impact collaborator with outer-ring weirdos John Zorn, Bernie Worrell, DJ Spooky, and Mariah Carey. And he’s handsome, in good shape, nice hats, all that.
So, no, Vernon Reid is not a bad person. That’s not what I mean by these 100% hypothetical accusations of purely imagined murderous nose-chewings. All I’m saying is that if we consider his quiet exterior vs. the “Cult of Personality” solo — a three-act brow-singer that announced Reid as a major talent back in 1988 — we’d all be like, “Ah, that makes sense,” once confronted with evidence of his human face collection.
Right? That solo is a freaking assault! And that’s but a taste: consider also the mini-”Kashmir” on “Leave It Alone,” the rollicking verse riff on “Type,” and the sinister skronk of “This Little Pig.” And about a billion other riffs, blasts, and licks. Killer!
But we need not fear nighttime strolls or shared elevators with Reid, ‘cuz frenzied serial eye-gulping and ear-noshing is borne of unfulfilled urges; Reid is a fulfilled guitar player. Foremost, Living Colour is awesome again, riding a sturdy new album (more here), and playing May dates with the tasty Experience Hendrix tour. Also keeping him sane are challenging solo albums and collaborations, and the occasional all-star jam with The Roots or Uli Jon Roth (!), Alex Skolnick (!!), and Gilby Clarke (??). He’s busy, so we’re all safe… for now.
THE LIST SO FAR
#20 — Misha Mansoor (Periphery)
#21 — Alex Skolnick (Testament)
#22 – Ivar Bjørnson (Enslaved)
#23 — Synyster Gates (Avenged Sevenfold)
#24 — Chris Letchford (Scale the Summit)