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Hear Steve Vai and Vernon Reid trade volcanic, high-wire shred licks in new studio remake of Living Colour's Cult of Personality

Steve Vai (left) and Vernon Reid perform onstage
(Image credit: Mariano Regidor/Redferns, Gary Miller/Getty Images)

Earlier this month, Living Colour invited electric guitar hero Steve Vai onstage with them at the 2022 Rock In Rio festival. With Vai, the band closed out their set with blistering versions of Jimi Hendrix’s Crosstown Traffic and Led Zeppelin’s Rock and Roll, and a couple of their own tunes – This Is the Life and their breakthrough hit, Cult of Personality.

Partially in celebration of the successful onstage collaboration, and of the 30th anniversary of Living Colour's first appearance in Brazil, the band have released a re-recorded version of Cult of Personality with Vai on guitar. You can check it out below.

The 2022 Cult of Personality more than makes up for a lack of crowd noise by featuring an astonishing shred-off between Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid and Steve Vai. Both dance effortlessly around the fretboard, and stay generally within the confines of the aggro-funk classic, but it's a blast hearing when and where each of their stylistic quirks shines through.

"In celebration of [the] 30th anniversary of Living Colour's first appearance in Brazil, which also was [Living Colour bass guitar player] 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," Reid said in a press release.

The new Cult of Personality and Rock in Rio jams aren't the first times that Living Colour and Vai have joined forces. The two were both part of (opens in new tab) the 2010 Experience Hendrix tour, and jammed frequently (opens in new tab) together (opens in new tab) throughout the trek.

Vai, for his part, is currently gearing up for the start of the American leg of his massive Inviolate tour. 

He also recently hosted the 6th edition of his annual, all-star Vai Academy workshop – at which he wowed attendees with electrifying jams with Yvette Young and Tommy Emmanuel – and made a guest appearance on the forthcoming album by Polyphia.

For more info on the virtuoso's comings and goings, and tickets to his shows, visit Vai's website (opens in new tab).

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Jackson is an Associate Editor at He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player (opens in new tab). Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder (opens in new tab) and Unrecorded (opens in new tab). Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.