Dear Guitar Hero: Vernon Reid
Regarding the new Living Colour album, The Chair in the Doorway: at what point did you guys start talking about writing a new album together, and what gear did you use on it? —Matt Reeves
The Chair in the Doorway really began with the title, which comes from something our lead singer, Corey Glover, would say whenever he was frustrated. He’d say, “Well, the problem is the chair is in the doorway.” I asked him what that meant, because it was intriguing to me. The recording process started with demos in a small American studio, and we wound up recording the bulk of the record in the Czech Republic.
For gear, I used Bugera and Recto amps, but I made the majority of the record with the Bugeras and some combos. I discovered Bugera amps when we played the Rocklahoma Festival a few years ago. I use a 333XL head with two 4x12 bottoms, as well as a 333XL combo. I incorporate a hex pickup into my sound, so I use a VG99 guitar synth setup, and I also use Guitar Rig 3, plus a Peavey ReValver. I also used an Eventide ModFactor and a PitchFactor, a Pefftronics Rand- O-Matic, a DigiTech Space Station, a Line 6 Filter Modeler, an SP300 to control the VG99, a GI-20 guitar synth, and an Axon 50 interface to control soft synths on an Apple laptop. You can hear the soft synths on the song “Method” on the new album. I used the UVI Workstation to activate eight-bit samples for the noisy/glitchy stuff at the end of that song.
I like to use a combination of new high-tech stuff and the old-fashioned straight-jacked method. On “That’s What You Taught Me,” for example, I played my Hamer straight into a Krank, a Marshall and a vintage Fender Deluxe Reverb.
Tell us about your Parker Dragonfly DF824VR signature guitar: what you like about it, and what was the idea behind it? —Dennis Feck
I became a Parker endorser, and this new record really represents my transition to the signature Parker. I had been relying on a Hamer custom Chaparral sunburst, which I called “the Trout,” but I brought the prototype of the signature Parker with me to the sessions, and I ended up making a full-time switch to the Parker.
I originally met Ken Parker back in the Nineties, and I had an early prototype that I always liked. I like the fact that the neck is slightly wider, which helps to facilitate tapping and some other techniques. The thing that smoothed my transition from Hamer to Parker is that the same luthier that made my Hamers, Terry Atkins, is also the head of production for Parker. He knew my neck profile, because I like a “V”-shaped neck, and he was able to get my neck profile back on track, which I’m so happy about. It’s a very comfortable guitar for me.
During all the years Living Colour was not active, you participated in tons of different projects, such as film scores, producing, solo albums, and so on. Now that LC is back in action, do you plan to curtail your extra-curricular activities? —Clarissa Skye
Yes, somewhat. We do have a touring schedule that’s coming up, and that’s going to be pretty challenging. The other things have to slow down a little bit, because, number one, I’m determined to make this record successful and to do everything I can to make that happen. But I also want to make a new Masque record [Masque features Leon Gruenbaum on keyboards, Hank Schroy on bass and Marlon Browden on drums. The band released the instrumental Known Unknown in 2004 and Other True Self in 2006, both on Favored Nations] and another Yohimbe Brothers record [Reid with DJ Logic; they released Front End Lifter in 2002]. And I definitely want to do more work with the Free Form Funky Freqs [Jamaaladeen Tacuma, bass and G. Calvin Weston, drums].