— photograph by dave.hogerty
Will Calhoun, across the street from Tipitina’s in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana.
Ever since Doug joined LIVING COLOUR in 1992, the musical bond between Will and Doug has been unbreakable. Not only are they the kick-ass rhythm section in what’s still one of the finest Rock N Roll bands playing today, but they’ve also worked together as JUNGLE>>FUNK (with VINX), and as a bass/drum wall-of-sound duo called THE HEAD>>FAKE SOUND SYSTEM. In nearly 20 years, they have become one of the most sought after-rhythm sections by popular artists in all musical genres.
In 1996, they wrote, played, and produced on HERB ALPERT’s Grammy-nominated COLOURS album.
In 2000, as MOS DEF’s BLACK JACK JOHNSON band, they were together with keyboardist BERNIE WORRELL and BAD BRAINS guitarist DR. KNOW for MOS’ albums BLACK ON BOTH SIDES and THE NEW DANGER.
And today, although in the middle of a tour with LAURYN HILL, they’ll take a break to play the WIMBASH, doing both a JUNGLE>>FUNK set with VINX, and another as HEAD>>FAKE.
— video by dave.hogerty
Will taking a WaveDrum solo at a Head>>Fake performance with Doug and Bernie Worrell at WIMBASH WEST 2008 at the NAMM convention in Anaheim, California.
— photograph by dave.hogerty
High-profile artists Will has worked with include: B.B. KING, MICK JAGGER, JACO PASTORIUS, HARRY BELAFONTE, PHAROAH SANDERS, JACK DEJOHNETTE, PAUL SIMON, LOU REED, THE ALLMAN BROTHERS, LAURYN HILL, MARCUS MILLER, DR. JOHN, CARLY SIMON, RON WOODS, WAYNE SHORTER (on the Grammy-winning album HIGH LIFE), RUN-DMC, and PUBLIC ENEMY.
Of course most of Will’s growth as a solo artist came in the years between LIVING COLOUR’s dissolution in 1993 (less than a year after Doug had joined) and the band’s reformation in 2001. Having written, produced, and played on LIVING COLOUR’s STAIN, Doug had already connected with Will as a rhythm section partner, so it made sense for them to continue to collaborate outside of LIVING COLOUR. This was the most productive time of Will and Doug’s musical partnership … the time of JUNGLE>>FUNK and HEAD>>FAKE.
It was also the time when Will found his voice as a solo artist and band leader. Soon after working (writing, playing, production) with Doug on HERB ALPERT’s Grammy-nominated COLORS in 1996, and again on a (live), self-titled JUNGLE>>FUNK album in 1999, Will released his critically acclaimed, straight-ahead jazz album, THE WILL CALHOUN QUINTET: LIVE AT THE BLUE NOTE, featuring BOBBY WATSON (saxophone), TERRELL STAFFORD (trumpet), JOHN BENITEZ (bass), and ORRIN EVANS (piano), and DrumWave, an (all-drum) record, featuring his virtuosity on the WaveDrum, an unusual computerized electronic instrument invented in the 1980s.
Ironically, almost immediately after Will officially introduced himself as a band leader and solo artist, there was a surprising LIVING COLOUR reunion at CBGB’s in New York City. HEAD>>FAKE (Doug and Will) had invited COREY GLOVER (Living Colour vocalist) to play the show with them just before Christmas (2000). Then, halfway through the set, audience member VERNON REID (Living Colour guitarist) was coaxed onstage to (appropriately) play the TALKING HEADS’ “MEMORIES CAN’T WAIT.” So positive was the crowd’s response, that after the show, the band discussed getting back together for a SUMMER 2001 TOUR.
— video (YouTube)
AN UNEXPECTED GET TOGETHER — An audience recording of the momentous LIVING COLOUR REUNION that evolved during a HEAD>>FAKE show at CBGB’s in NYC. (December 2000).
Despite the attack on the Twin Towers interrupting the 2001 REUNION TOUR, and threatening LIVING COLOUR’s future, the band made up the cancelled shows later that year, the last on New Year’s Eve, in NYC’s Central Park in front of 50,000 hometown fans.
Finishing on such a high note, the reformation was complete, and LIVING COLOUR has been together ever since … touring, recording two albums (COLLIDEOSCOPE and THE CHAIR IN THE DOORWAY), and anchoring the popular EXPERIENCE HENDRIX TOUR with JOE SATRIANI and STEVE VAI.
Devoting so much time to the reformation of LIVING COLOUR, Will (and Doug) might have let HEAD>>FAKE and their solo projects take a back seat, but that was hardly the case. Will had played on Doug’s first solo record, 1999’s TRIPPY NOTES FOR BASS, and together, they released HEAD>>FAKE: IN THE AREA OF PRAGUE, a live DVD in 2003.
— video by Petr Tomaides (tomato22)
“CYCLES” — opening tune on HEAD>>FAKE: LIVE IN THE AREA OF PRAGUE (DVD)
On his own, Will was travelling the globe (Mali, Morocco, Brazil, Australia, Japan), establishing musical and personal relationships wherever he went.
In 2005 he released NATIVE LANDS, something of his tour de force. A Fusion of World, Jazz, and Urban music that takes a listener on a global adventure, one moment feeling as if he or she were in the Middleast, sitting in a moon-lit tent, under a clear, cool desert sky, and later in a humid Amazonian jungle, or in a small, dark, smoky club in Manhattan.
Among the NATIVE LANDS contributors are: PHAROAH SANDERS, MOS DEF, BUSTER WILLIAMS, STANLEY JORDAN, KEVIN EUBANKS, MARCUS MILLER, and WALLACE RONEY, as well as Brazilian NANA VASCONCELOS, and CHEICK TIDIANE SECK from Mali.
NATIVE LANDS includes a DVD with more than ninety minutes of music videos and documentary material, which serves as an entertaining travelouge chronicling Will’s exciting musical journey of the last ten years.