Watch “Cult of Personality” Live at Rock In Rio here:
On the heels of their incredible performance at Rock In Rio with Steve Vai, the band decided to recreate that energy with a re-recorded version of their classic “Cult of Personality.”
“Cult of Personality” featuring Steve Vai is out now and is available everywhere you buy and stream music. The song was their finale of their Rock In Rio set where over 100,000 were in attendance and the entire crowd fixated on the bands performance and sang every word to the bands most iconic song.
Guitarist and co-founder of Living Colour, Vernon Reid, states “In celebration of 30th anniversary of Living Colour’s first appearance in BRAZIL, which also was Doug Wimbish’s first live appearance with the band, we are releasing a special edition version of “Cult Of Personality” featuring our special guest in Rio de Janeiro our dear friend, the extraordinary Mr. Steve Vai on additional guitar. Engineered & mixed by the original producer of the song Mr. Ed Stasium.”
“Cult of Personality” was the opening track and second single from their debut album Vivid (1988). The song was released on July 14, 1988, and reached No. 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and No. 9 on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart. It won the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance at the 32nd Annual Grammy Awards. Its music video won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Group Video and MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist.
About Living Colour:
Living Colour is an American rock band from New York City, formed in 1984. Led by guitarist Vernon Reid, the bands lineup solidified in the mid-80’s w/ Corey Glover (vocals), Will Calhoun (drums) and Muzz Skillings (bass). Stylistically, the band’s music is a creative fusion influenced by free jazz, funk, hard rock and heavy metal. Their lyrics range from the personal to the political, in some of the latter cases attacking Eurocentrism and racism in America.
The band’s debut album, “Vivid”, was released in 1988 on Epic Records. The album reached #6 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and was later certified double platinum by the RIAA. It featured “Cult of Personality,” a #13 hit on the Billboard 200 Singles chart as well as the Top 40 hit, “Glamour Boys.” “Cult of Personality” went on to earn the band their first Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance.
In 1990 the band’s second full-length album, “Time’s Up”, was released and reached #13 on the Billboard 200 while certifying gold, with strong singles “Type”, “Love Rears Its Ugly Head”, “Elvis Is Dead” and “Solace of You”, and featured guest appearances by Queen Latifah, Little Richard, Doug E. Fresh, and Maceo Parker. It also won the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Album.
In 1991, Living Colour released the 6-song EP “Biscuits”, which coincided with the inaugural Lollapalooza tour. Skillings left the band in the summer of 1992 and was replaced by session veteran and Sugarhill Records bass player Doug Wimbish.
“Stain”, their third LP, was released in 1993 by Epic. Reaching #26 on the Billboard 200, the album had a much heavier and aggressive sound, containing elements of thrash metal and industrial music while receiving a Grammy nomination for ‘Leave It Alone’.
After a split in 1995, Living Colour returned in December 2000 and began recording “Collideøscope”. Released in 2003, the album featured aggressive lyrics, with many of the songs about the September 11 attacks. It also contained cover versions of AC/DC’s “Back in Black” and The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.”
Their first release on Megaforce Records, “The Chair in the Doorway” was issued in 2009 and reached #159 on the Billboard 200 charged by the single “Behind The Sun.”
The impetus for Living Colour’s next album came from a performance of Robert Johnson’s “Preachin’ Blues” at the 100th Anniversary Birthday celebration at the legendary Apollo Theatre in New York City. Released on September 8, 2017, “Shade” is the sound of a band coming to terms with its shadows and light,” says founder Vernon Reid. “From the blue pulpit of Robert Johnson to the mean red streets of Brooklyn… “Shade” is the next chapter of a unique American journey” and peaked on Billboard’s Hard Rock Albums at #12 with the help from singles “Who Shot Ya”, “Come On”, and “Program”.
About Steve Vai:
More than three decades, over 15 million in album sales, and three GRAMMY Awards later, Vai has proven himself, in his own right, to be one of music’s true originals. A virtuoso guitarist, visionary composer, and consummate producer who sculpts musical sound with infinite creativity and technical mastery.
Vai has dedicated his talents to creatively advance the language of music. While many artists fit easily into a single category, Steve Vai remains unclassifiable. He is a musical alchemist of the highest order, leaving fans in awe with his exceptional guitar skills and musicianship. At age 12, he started taking guitar lessons from Joe Satriani. At 18, he began his professional music career transcribing for, and then playing with, the legendary Frank Zappa. For Vai, virtuosity and versatility are not mutually exclusive. He has created music for blockbuster films, bestselling video games, national sports franchises, and corporate brand initiatives.
Vai’s work has been recognized with a long list of awards and honors, including over 15 from Guitar Player magazine alone. His career accomplishments have earned him honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music and Musicians Institute. The 2016 Long Island Music Hall of Fame inductee was voted the 10th “Greatest Guitarist” by Guitar World magazine and consistently lands among the best in various lists of the top guitarists of all time.
In 2012, the TEC Foundation honored him with the prestigious Les Paul Award, created in 1991 to salute those who have set the highest standard of excellence in the creative application of technology. Past winners of the Les Paul Award include Paul McCartneyamong other greats..
Vai has toured the world as a solo artist, as a member of G3, and with Frank Zappa, David Lee Roth (just after Roth left Van Halen), Alcatrazz, and Whitesnake—at the peak of its popularity. Vai’s full discography encompasses more than 60 albums, including many with Zappa, others from stints with Roth and Whitesnake, as well as live releases, collaborations, compilations, and orchestral works.
Highlights include 1990’s groundbreaking Passion and Warfare, and 2007’s Sound Theories Vol. 1 & 2, performed with the Netherlands’ Metropole Orkest. Vai’s other orchestral compositions include “The Middle of Everywhere,” which had its world premiere in 2011 with the Noord Nederlands Orkest. The orchestra’s director, Marcel Mandos, said of Vai’s work, “Steve Vai’s music can easily compete with that of famous contemporary composers.”
As an accomplished audio producer, Vai has written, produced, and engineered all solo albums, and released many via Favored Nations Entertainment, his own independent record label that has released over 70 albums by legendary musicians (Tommy Emmanuel, Steve Lukather, Eric Johnson, Billy Sheehan, Larry Carlton).
In 2012, Vai embarked on an epic three-year tour with 253 engagements (including shows, concerts with various orchestras, & master classes) in 52 countries in support of his 16th solo album release, the critically acclaimed The Story of Light. Upon signing a multi-recording agreement with SONY Music Entertainment and Legacy Recordings in 2015, Vai released Stillness In Motion – Vai Live in L.A., a 2-CD set and 2-DVD set, internationally. The multi-album deal marked an SME homecoming for Vai, who set the gold and platinum standard for instrumental rock music across a series of albums released through Relativity and Epic Records from 1990’s game-changing Passion and Warfare (his second album and first major label release) through 2007’s orchestral Sound Theories, Vol. I & II.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of his landmark album, Passion and Warfare —regarded as one of the greatest instrumental rock guitar recordings ever— Vai released Modern Primitive/ Passion and Warfare 25th Anniversary Edition in 2016, which included previously unreleased material and was celebrated by a very special 100+ date world tour. Conquering Europe and the U.S., on the third leg of the Passion and Warfare 25th Anniversary Tour – ending in South America, Mexico, and Puerto Rico in Summer 2017.
In addition to his solo tour work, Vai is known for his creative live performances with orchestras around the world and for projects such as Vai Academy (his yearly guitar camp), Alien Guitar Secrets master classes, and Generation Axe — a unique combination of five fiercely talented guitar players in which he currently tours internationally with Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt, and Tosin Abasi.
In the film realm, Vai has credits including Executive Producer for the acclaimed 2008 Hank Garland biopic Crazy, in which he also appears as Hank Williams. In the 1986 movie Crossroads, inspired by the legend of blues icon Robert Johnson, Vai appears as Jack Butler—“the devil’s guitarist”—and collaborated with Ry Cooder on the music scenes.
In 1998, Vai established (with Ruta Sepetys) the Make a Noise Foundation to provide instruments and music education to young musicians without means. “Music educates the whole person as an integrated individual. It educates the mind, the senses, and the emotions,” says Vai. “Those interested in music should not have to sacrifice their ability to develop important skills and express emotions due to limited financial resources.”
Steve Vai is dedicated to sharing his knowledge on musical and non-musical subjects. In 2019 Steve released his first book, Vaideology – Basic music theory for guitar players, which proved to be an overwhelming success. Steve organizes an almost yearly ‘camp’, VaiAcademy, where he and other industry professionals share their knowledge.
In 2020, during the Corona Pandemic, Steve hosted a webcast series called “Alien Guitar Secrets” where he delves into various aspects of guitar playing. Along with these, a second series called “Under It All” was launched where Steve explores the more esoteric concepts.
Also launched in 2020 was Steve’s own Patreon channel, where a true potpourri of subjects are discussed: Musical lessons, Guitar techniques, Stories from the past, Riffs, Naked Tracks and more.
Vai’s signature instruments include the Ibanez JEM guitar, which he designed in 1985 with first-of-its- kind features including the floating tremolo and the monkey grip. The JEM is now one of the longest running, most successful signature series guitars in history, and for over a decade its sister model—the RG—is second in worldwide sales only to the Fender Stratocaster. Also for Ibanez, Vai designed “The Universe,” the first commercial 7-string electric guitar. This instrument inspired a revolutionary metal subculture that started in the mid ’90s. Among his many other innovative collaborations with equipment manufacturers, he designed the Steve Vai Legacy V3 series of all-tube amplifiers with Carvin Corporation.