By: Amy Keyishian
February 21, 2024

One in a series of 25 enthusiastic posts, contributed by 25 HILOBROW friends and regulars, on the topic of metal records from the Eighties (1984–1993, in our periodization schema). Series edited by Heather Quinlan. Also check out our MÖSH YOUR ENTHUSIASM playlist at Spotify.



It was the early ’90s. I unironically wore a baseball cap encrusted with tiny round mirrors and booty-shorts with a built-in flower buckle. I was reinventing myself in Park Slope, Brooklyn, which hadn’t yet become a cliché. And I was still struggling to slough off the nearly baked-in biases of my suburban upbringing.

Growing up, I was exposed to an endless variety of rock deities on a wide spectrum that, in my older sisters’ two crates of vinyl, ran the gamut from the Beatles and the Stones to… Loggins and Messina and Poco. (Oy.) At school, the same band names were carved into the ersatz-denim three-ring binders that burnouts preferred (Trapper Keepers? Dude, are you serious?) And in all those pale faces there was one brown one: Jimi Hendrix. Dead too young, worshipped by guitar aficionados, the single breakthrough Black musician accepted by even the whitest Eddie Mumfords in my burg.

Never mind that Black people invented rock and roll. Never mind that Jimi was only alone in this pantheon by dint of the same bias Jann Wenner just admitted to. This was the impression with which I was sent out into the wide, wide world.

Then, one day, clomping the streets of my new borough in black Timberlands worn with a ten-dollar dress I bought outside Tower Records from a guy who played flute in Giant Step, I heard it. The sound that would become a Gen-X mating call.


My ears pricked up. I stood stock still, sniffing the air. Then it sounded again. This time, with drums.


What was this call? Why did my blood suddenly pound? Who was playing that guitar riff?

Boodoo-noodoo-noodoo-boodoo-nana-dunt … KACKA-kaka-boot-boot-boot

And we were off to the races. It was Vernon Reid. Vernon Fucking Reid, with his top-hat of dreads, his semi-formal symbol-emblazoned jacket, his nonchalant stare. Vernon Reid, with fingers apparently made of steel and powered by angels unsure if they were falling or flying. “Cult of Personality” told me so much in that one riff, and continued the pounding lesson for the rest of the song.

It took a minute to sink in that Vernon was the gift here, because dear God, who was that? The only man who could make a neon green wetsuit look at home on stage. Corey Glover, braided and mohawked, as if his head embodied the hair-band / punk amalgamation at play in this kablammo new (to me) sound. If “lead singer” were a person. If “lustful thoughts” could walk around and eat sandwiches. A voice and a body in perfect alignment.

Here was head-banging informed by a wider variety of influences than I had ever heard before. Here was, finally, the link back through time to Chuck Berry, through Jimi, making a pass around Coltrane, Jimmy Page, Miles Davis and maybe a dash of Eddie Van Halen. Muzz Skillings and Will Calhoun (bass and drums) rounded out that shit with the tightest grooves, providing the rhythmic backbone that fused those rock, funk, and jazz elements with the precision of a surgeon bearing a welder. They occupied the impossible venn-diagram overlap of raw and refined. Boundaries? Genres? Never heard of them

The rest of Vivid was a raucous party filled with hooks and confusing time signatures and shower-singable rock arias — waggling my vocal cords at you, “Open Letter (to a Landlord).” “Funny Vibe,” in a nod to my particular brand of neurodivergence, sent me into a deep-calm trance. “Glamour Boys” was a catchy, underrated B-side. There was something for all the everybodies I embodied in those perpetually sunny early days of adulthood.

I didn’t even know I was looking for it when it showed up, and it was worth smashing my frontal lobe against my skull again and again. I wore this CD out, and then wore out its successor, Time’s Up, with its paean to furious heartbreak “Love Rears Its Ugly Head.” Listening to it now is like slipping into a diner booth across from that one ex who still tickles your fancy. Here’s to you, Living Colour. Hit me up. You know where I’ll be.


MÖSH YOUR ENTHUSIASM: INTRODUCTION by Heather Quinlan | Crockett Doob on Metallica’s ENTER SANDMAN | Dean Haspiel on Mötley Crüe’s HOME SWEET HOME | Jack Silbert on Poison’s TALK DIRTY TO ME | Adam McGovern on Dio’s INVISIBLE | Mariane Cara on Faith No More’s EPIC | Heather Quinlan on Blue Öyster Cult’s SHOOTING SHARK | Steve Schneider on UFO’s DIESEL IN THE DUST | Carlo Rotella on Primus’ JERRY WAS A RACE CAR DRIVER | Erik Davis on St. Vitus’ BORN TOO LATE | Greg Rowland on Motörhead’s ACE OF SPADES (remix) | Kathy Biehl on Twisted Sister’s WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT | Nikhil Singh on G.I.S.M.’s GAS BURNER PANIC | Erin M. Routson on Metallica’s ESCAPE | Holly Interlandi on Helmet’s MILQUETOAST | Marc Weidenbaum on Celtic Frost’s I WON’T DANCE (THE ELDERS’ ORIENT) | Amy Keyishian on Living Colour’s CULT OF PERSONALITY | Josh Glenn on Scorpions’ STILL LOVING YOU | Alycia Chillemi on Danzig’s SOUL ON FIRE | James Parker on Godflesh’s CHRISTBAIT RISING | Miranda Mellis on The Afflicted’s HERE COME THE COPS | Rene Rosa on Type O Negative’s BLACK NO. 1 | Tony Leone on Slayer’s SOUTH OF HEAVEN | Christopher Cannon on Neurosis’s LOST | Brian Berger on Black Sabbath’s HEADLESS CROSS | MÖSH CONTEST-WINNING ENTRY: Tony Pacitti on Metallica’s THE CALL OF KTULU. PLUS: CONTEST RUNNER-UP: James Scott Maloy on Accept’s MIDNIGHT MOVER.




Enthusiasms, Music