Vernon Reid

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Vernon Reid
Vernon Reid



Vernon Reid born August 22, 1958.

Vernon is an English guitarist, songwriter, composer and bandleader. Best known as the founder and primary songwriter of the heavy metal band Living Colour.
Reid was named #66 on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

Early Life and Career.

Reid was born in London, England but grew up in New York City, USA.

Reid first came to prominence in the 1980s in the band of drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson. 1984's "Smash & Scatteration" was a duo record with guitarist Bill Frisell.

In 1985, Reid co-founded the Black Rock Coalition with journalist Greg Tate and producer Konda Mason. Through the BRC, Reid hoped to counter the pigeonholing and marginalization of black musicians.

Living Colour

Reid is probably best known for leading Living Colour.
Early versions of the group formed in New York City in 1983, but the personnel solidified in 1985-86, and Reid led the group for about another decade.

Among the highlights: a double platinum-selling debut album Vivid, released in 1988; its gold-certified successor, Time's Up, released 1990; two consecutive Grammy Awards in the category of Best Hard Rock Performance; opening for the Rolling Stones' 1989 "Steel Wheels" tour; and appearing on the first Lollapalooza tour in the summer of 1991.

Living Colour released CollideĆøscope in October of 2003 on Sanctuary Records.


In recent years he has used custom Hamer guitars. Though, he also has a relationship with Parker guitars (owned by U. S. Music Corp.), and is waiting for his custom Parker Fly. He is also well known for his abundant use of Effects, as shown in the Picture below!!!


Solo Career

In addition to his work with Living Colour, Reid has been engaged in a number of other projects. He released "Mistaken Identity", his first solo album in 1996 and has collaborated with the choreographers Bill T. Jones on "Still/Here" and Donald Byrd on "Jazztrain". He performed "Party 'Til The End of Time" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) with The Roots, an end of the millennium tribute featuring the music of Prince's album "1999". He also composed and performed "Bring Your Beats" a children's program for BAM.

Reid has also produced records by Resorte (a Mexican hard rock group) and two Grammy-nominated albums: "Papa" by the great African singer Salif Keita and "Memphis Blood: The Sun Studio Sessions" by James "Blood" Ulmer. Blood's most recent album, released in September of 2003, "No Escape From the Blues", was also produced by Reid. Reid also appears on "Guitar Oblique" (Knitting Factory Records) with guitarists David Torn and Elliot Sharp. Reid was also featured in the program presented by BAM and the Experience Music Project in Seattle entitled "Magic Science", which includes Medeski Martin & Wood and the Gil Evans Orchestra performing Gil Evans' arrangements of songs by Jimi Hendrix.

Reid composed the score for the film Paid In Full, directed by Charles Stone III (well known for creating the "Wasssup!" series of commercials for Budweiser as well as directing three videos for Living Colour) and released by Miramax in the fall of 2002. Reid also composed the score for the celebrated documentary "Ghosts of Attica" (directed by Brad Lichtenstein) which aired on Court TV in the fall of 2001 and has been featured at several film festivals. He composed the score for another documentary directed by Lichtenstein, "Almost Home," which aired in 2006 on the PBS series, Independent Lens.

Reid and DJ Logic, calling themselves "Yohimbe Brothers", released an album in September, 2002 called "Front End Lifter". The Yohimbe Brothers have been touring on and off since the release of the album. Reid is also the music supervisor for the film "Mr. 3000" starring Bernie Mac and directed by Charles Stone III; "Mr. 3000" is scheduled for release in the fall of 2004. Vernon's album with Masque (Leon Gruenbaum - keyboards, Hank Schroy - bass and Marlon Browden - drums), an instrumental album entitled "Known Unknown", was released in April 2004, and On April 18th, 2006 Vernon Reid and Masque released "Other True Self", both on Favored Nations records, owned by another guitarist, Steve Vai].

Reid has a prolific session output in a variety of contexts. He has played live or on record with the Roots, Eye & I, Mick Jagger, Rollins Band, Spearhead, Public Enemy, Mariah Carey, Tracey Chapman, Ronald Shannon Jackson, Don Byron, Defunkt, Santana, Bernie Worrell, MC 900 Foot Jesus, B.B. King, Madalyne Peyroux, Meridiem, Jack Bruce, Terry Bozzio, and DJ Spooky among many others.

In March 2007, Reid played with Jamaaladeen Tacuma, and G. Calvin Weston at Tonic in NYC, and Tritone in Philadelphia, which led them to record as Free Form Funky Freqs with the title of the recording called Urban Mythology Volume 1. European Tour in November and a soon to be released CD.

In July 2008 Vernon Reid assembled a one-off solo band for his appearance at the G-TARanaki Guitar Festival in Taranaki, New Zealand, with keyboard player Jonathan Crayford, bassist Crete Haami and drummer Magesh Magesh. Notably, at the Puke Ariki "Midnight Session" concert, Vernon performed an all star jam with Uli Jon Roth, Gilby Clarke and Alex Skolnick.


1984 Smash & Scatteration (with Bill Frisell)
1996 Mistaken Identity
1998 GTR OBLQ (with Elliott Sharp and David Torn)
2000 This little room (unreleased)
2002 Front End Lifter - Yohimbe Brothers
2004 Known Unknown
2004 The Tao Of Yo - Yohimbe Brothers
2006 Other True Self
2007Urban Mythology Volume 1 - Free Form Funky Freqs

Critic Steve Huey wrote of Vernon:-
"Reid's rampant eclecticism encompasses everything from heavy metal and punk to funk, R&B and avant-garde jazz, and his anarchic, lightning-fast solos have become something of a hallmark as well."


Lesson Links

Whammy Bar Tricks by Pavel Denisjuk.
Artificial and Natural harmonics by Pavel Denisjuk.
Alternate Picking 16th Note Exercises by Jose Mena
Speedpicking and Alternate picking by Kristofer Dahl

--Sensible Jones 13:07, 6 February 2009 (CET)