Living Colour’s Vernon Reid Rallies Fans to Raise Social Media Presence of Classic Guitarists
There are continually classic musicians that don't get the respect they deserve, but Living Colour's Vernon Reid has been doing something about it on social media of late. He's attempted to raise the profile of certain veteran musicians by rallying his fanbase to increase their follower totals on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter).
It all started last week when Reid spotted an announcement from guitar great Robin Trower teasing his new single "I'll Be Moving On." Reid replied on the post, "Excuse me, GUITAR LEGEND- how is it POSSIBLE that you have LESS THAN 10K Followers??!!! W. T. ACTUAL. F??!!!" Soon after, one of Reid's followers noted that they then followed Trower on socials, leading the Living Colour guitarist to remark, "ALL Y’ALL that Follow ME, that f*ck with frets (and those that go fretless) should FOLLOW JOHN’S EXAMPLE & FOLLOW @robintrower. I mean if you HAVE a soul…that is."
As the "follows" continued to roll in, Reid noted, "Thank You to everyone that is responding with a Follow for @robintrower, one of the foundational Guitar Heroes of my youth & beyond. Like SRV, Ernie Isley, Eddie Hazel, & Frank Marino, Robin transcended Jimi’s influence to forge his OWN unique musical context & tone Again?"
He later remarked on X, "Robin made you FEEL the narrative. Vibrato has been practically abandoned as expressive ornamentation in favor of scalar exotica. Trower didn’t HAVE to play fast to be interesting or emotionally affective." And to another follower, he added, "Robin did something that there was no name for back then. I would almost call it Proto-Shoe Gaze. Bands like Earth, MONO, & @EITS owe a debt to Bridge Of Sighs, & its Dark Blue Cinematic Drama. Bridge Of Sighs predicts dead slow Industrial Doom Rock too, in its windswept way." By Sept. 24, a day after Reid first started his campaign, Trower's follower total rose to over the 10,000 mark.
But Reid wasn't done yet. On Sept. 25, Reid started a new campaign to raise the social media presence of blues guitar great Robert Cray. "NEW CAMPAIGN. Mr Cray is in almost the EXACT SAME POSITION as Robin Trower. Just under 7K Followers. This situation is UNACCEPTABLE. We MADE IT HAPPEN FOR ROBIN. LETS MAKE IT HAPPEN FOR ROBERT. 10K. LET’S GO. Thanks in advance !" He accompanied the post with an admat announcing The Robert Cray Band's tour dates.
Speaking on Cray, Reid commented, "An INCREDIBLE TONE & VOICE IN THE BLUES. There’s NO GARY CLARK jr. W/O Mr ROBERT CRAY. His presence & sound are an ABSOLUTE INSPIRATION to MYSELF & MANY OTHERS." He was soon joined by another guitar great, Joe Bonamassa, in sharing his desire to amplify Cray's social media presence. Per Reid, Cray's followers jumped to over 10,000 in just over 12 hours. Cray then responded to Reid, noting, “Just saw all our new followers. My wife thought we’d been hacked LOL when we saw the numbers this morning! So very kind of you!”
From there, Reid decided to shout out another musician deserving of a bigger following, asking his fans to help propel the follower totals of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Elliott Easton of The Cars.
"JUST WHAT I NEEDED," asked Reid, adding, "I NEED A BUNCH OF Y’ALL TO FOLLOW @ElliotEastonEE OF THE CARS. Under 5K followers FOR ONE OF THE PREMIER POST PUNK GUITARISTS OF ALL TIME IS UNACCEPTABLE. WHERE MY LEFTIES AT?! LETS GO! (Ahem)." He then added, "CAN WE GET SOME 10K TO A MASTER OF THE GUITAR SOLO BREAK @ElliotEastonEE OF THE CARS?! HE SHOULD HAVE 10K FOR TOUCH & GO ALONE. LETS GO!!!"
Commenting on Easton at one point, Reid stated, "Eliot Easton & Greg Hawkes was one of the GREATEST Guitar/Keyboard matchups EVER!! The way their tones & parts entertwined was PERFECTION ITSELF. Tune after tune. Equal to YES’s Howe/Wakeman duo, imo. Different contexts, but SAME compatibility level."
And not waiting for another goal to be met, Reid then launched two more follower campaigns. "HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT LEGENDARY MILES DAVIS GUITARIST @mikesternguitar HAS LESS THAN 5K Followers?!
MY JAZZ/ROCK/PROG/ FOLLOWERS ALONE SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET MIKE THE AT LEAST 10K FOLLOWERS HE DESERVES ! LETS MAKE IT HAPPEN !" And then he turned his attention to Ernie Isley of the Isley Brothers.
With a little bigger goal to hit, Reid reiterated on his socials, "I WANT TO SEE THESE PLAYERS GET THEIR 10K FOLLOWERS FIRST @ElliotEastonEE @ErnieIsley & @mikesternguitar. AS I’VE STATED BEFORE- MY OWN FOLLOWERS ALONE CAN GET THIS DONE HALF MEASURES WON’T DO! LETS MAKE IT MOVE. THE NEXT GROUP CAN’T GET GOING UNTIL WE DO THIS LETS GO."
Of Eisley, he commented, "ABOVE & BEYOND @ErnieIsley‘s SOULFUL & FIERY GUITAR PLAYING, ERNIE PRODUCED & PLAYED DRUMS ON MOST OF THEIR MOST FAMOUS ROCK TRACKS TOO. HE WAS THE ONE WHO INSISTED HIS BROTHERS RE-RECORD WHO’S THAT LADY IN THE 70’S TO GREAT SUCCESS 10K LETS GO."
He went on to add, "THE REASON THAT @ErnieIsley BARELY HAS ANY FOLLOWERS NOW, IS THAT HE WAS MARGINALIZED IN THE 70’s BY THE GUITAR MEDIA & ROCK ESTABLISHMENT OF THAT TIME. THEY IGNORED HIM. RIGHT WHEN THE ISLEYS HAD A STRING OF HITS. NO COVER STORIES. NOT EVEN A MENTION. 10K NOW. LETS GO."
Later, explaining his reasoning behind being so adamant about raising the social media follower totals of these musicians, Reid commented, "Some may ask “Why am I expending my modest Social Media Capital on other guitarists who are mostly not in my direct circle?” As a fan of their work-this is something I can DO to BRING RESPECOGNITION TO UNDERRATED GUITAR INNOVATORS & VIRTUOSOS that I care about."
Easton chimed in on the campaign with a thank you to Reid noting, "Wow my dear sweet Vernon. Thank you so much for your kind words of praise. We were friends from the first time we met and I always love and enjoy your work."
At press time, Elliott Easton had eclipsed the 8,000 follower mark, Mike Stern was approaching 6,300 followers and Ernie Eisley was approaching the 4,000 follower mark.
Which other guitarists deserve a bigger following on X? You can drop your suggestions in the comments.