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Living Colour is Chair men of the board 

After being more or less discovered by Mick Jagger in the late ’80s, Living Colour’s flurry of colored braids and screeching guitars quickly became part of the American musical consciousness. The group’s double-platinum 1988 debut Vivid, which featured hits such as “Cult of Personality” and “Glamour Boys,” mixed funk metal, hard rock and socio-political lyrics and made it one of the era’s most popular black rock bands. Many fans felt the group saved its strongest work for 1990’s Time’s Up, but neither it nor 1993’s Stain lived up to commercial expectations. Frustrated with poor album sales and ferocious infighting between band members, Epic dropped the group and its members retreated into hibernation.

A decade later, Living Colour returned with the uneven Collideøscope, and recently reunited again to rerecord “Cult of Personality” for Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. Harnessing the inter-group aggressions they’d wrestled with over the years, Corey Glover, Vernon Reid, Doug Wimbish and Will Calhoun bore down and recorded the metal-tinged The Chair in the Doorway, due out Sept. 15. The title comes from a Yogi Berra-ism spouted by lead singer Glover, says guitarist Reid. “We were having a low-level conflict about the songs, where we were going, and he said, ‘You know, the problem is that there’s a chair in the doorway,’” Reid remembers. “The chair in the doorway is why we can’t get out of the room.”

On Chair, the band switches off between angry tirades and nostalgic reflections. Opening track “Burned Bridges” is a self-loathing rumination on a lifetime of personal missteps (“Close my eyes so I don’t see things as they are/Stumbling in the darkness, here my life seems less bizarre”), while “Taught Me” traces the group’s up-and-down professional trajectory (“Incrimination and adoration, disappointment to adulation”). The latter track also features one of Living Colour’s most instantly hummable melodies in years. “It is the first thing I think we’ve done that has a [Rolling] Stones-ish influence,” notes Reid. “That’s a funny thing because we’ve been associated with them for so long, and toured with them.”

Living Colour plays to smaller venues these days, and may never return to the worldwide popularity and trailblazing influence of its earlier years. Still, the group’s fiery intensity is something to be witnessed up close.

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