Vernon Reid announces he’s joined forces with Laney Amps and talks through his playing past and present

Vernon Reid with his Laney amps
(Image credit: Laney)

Laney has announced a new endorsement deal with Living Colour legend Vernon Reid.

Alongside the announcement, the guitar brand has shared a new longform video interview with Reid, intercut with footage of him performing with his custom Hamer electric guitar

The discussion winds through all sorts of fascinating guitar-territory, encompassing Reid’s influences – from Carlos Santana, to Hendrix and The Isley Brothers – through to Black Sabbath.

Interestingly, he notes his love of Tony Iommi and Sabbath was a key factor in his decision to try Laney’s amps, discussing the early political appeal of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs and the band’s role as the foundation of, both metal and, as Reid has it, industrial music.

In the conversation Reid’s interviewer points out that Black Sabbath’s self-titled debut was recorded with Laney amps. “And it’s crushing,” responds Reid.

Reid is reportedly now using Laney’s IRT120H amp head and IRT-SLS compact amplifier, GS212 IE cabinets, GS112IE cabinet and the BCC-TDE The Difference Engine Delay Pedal, in his setup. 

It seems there’s something of a theme in terms of the brand’s crossover appeal, both geographically and technically, that strikes a chord with the Living Colour legend.

“I still like an amplifier to move,” says Reid. “I like the feeling of air moving, I still dig that. But how does that work, so… the amp doesn't fight against the tech? With these Ironhearts, I've been really thrilled with the way it's reacted – and it also it sounds great just plugging straight in.“

The British connection, also apparently appeals to the guitarist, who notes he was born in Paddington, in North London. 

“I just find it interesting, as an American that was born in Britain, working with a British amp company – there’s something cool about that,” observes Reid. “Laney is a family-owned company from its inception in Birmingham… There's something very powerful about that because it's a sense of responsibility that's built into each of these amplifiers.”

Vernon Reid recently teamed-up with another guitar icon – Steve Vai – for a guitar-heavy re-recording of Living Colour’s monster hit Cult Of Personality

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Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk (opens in new tab), which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.