3 Colours Red
Pete Vuckovic - Lead vocals, bass
Chris McCormack - Guitar, backing vocals
Ben Harding - Guitar, backing vocals
Keith Baxter- Drums

"I see the smoke clear/But I ain't watching the screen/I get the joke/And yes, I know what it means..."
("Paralyse")

All parties must come to an end, they have to.  The last bottle is drained and you're left with a mouthful of ashes.  The bathroom sink is blocked and overflowing, a warm morning breeze blowing in through the broken window.  The honeymoon is over and the salad days are no longer green.  So what do you do?  Where do you go?  You get off your arse and charge into the future.  That is what you do.

3 Colours Red exploded into '96 with their independently released single "This Is My Hollywood", a song containing a form of pent-up rage, frustration, nihilism and self-loathing only ever touched upon by Nirvana since the anger-is-an-energy exponents of the late 70s.  A song hinged around the poignant scream of "Is this success?/tuesday night and penniless".  Deftly snapped-up by Creation, 3 Colours Red gate-crashed the rock 'n' roll party clad in regulation black like that oft-referred to Last Gang In Town (only this time, it was true), took command of the stereo and cornered the generic so-called guitar stars.

"As a band we've all established our roles, we're stronger than ever and we know exactly what we want to do.  3 Colours Red have landed".  (Pete)

Assembled from the four corners of this fair isle and from various shady backgrounds...oh, go on then, since you ask.  Ben spent his time cultivating a palette for fine wine and playing in Senseless Things, Keith mastered his art in various northern bands.  Pete, recovering from a stint in metallers Diamond Head (career highlight: being covered by Metallica), holed himself up in his Midlands bedroom crafting songs which stretched from AC/DC to Nick Drake whilst Chris - the hardest lad in his school by the age of fourteen - slept off his hangovers in a guitar shop, released records in his teens and galavanted around his native South Shields dreaming big, big dreams.

Unlike most though, the crop-topped Geordie grabbed his chance and re-located to London to writ songs via post with Pete who soon followed.  Even before they'd met, a classic songwriting parnership was being cemented.  This was Lennon/McCartney, Strummer/Jones, yin and yang stuff.  Pete, the introspective thinker, the semi-reclusive rock poet ("I have panic attacks about music, when I hear mediocre bands who arn't pushing themselves I despair") a perfect fiol for Chris, the wild-eyed and wired speed-kid gobshite.  Fire and water, yes, but both equally angry and ambitious.

The band cut their first single immediately and, seconds later, supported the like of Sex Pistols and Iggy.  The party was swining.  The venues filled as "nuclear Holiday" hit the charts with its sturdy, grinding, aggro-pop in early '97.  "Sixty Mile Smile" followed as tours became savage joy-rides around the country.  Front covers, TV and endless supplies of booze ensued.  The punk ethic met with metal dynamics and a pop sensibility.  The album "Pure" went Top 20 and 3 Colours Red were on fire.

Every night was a party, every party at least a night long. 3 Colours Red were everywherer buying doubles. A sell-out tour with Bush and numerous festivals appearances fuelled the madnees.

"We're into finding new textures, not just relying on fat chords."  (Chris)

But then the quartet woke up, bleary-eyed and ready to go again.  The party was put on hold, the revelling minimalised whilst new songs were written in a deluge which reflect on this new post-dole world, a sound which masks layered emotions married to dark and personal feelings.  3 Colours Red fled to the studio with Chris Sheldon (Foo Fighters, Therapy?) and Dave Eringa (Manics).  Everything was deeper, more thoughtful, more dimensional, Pete drawing inwards further than he had ever been before, Chris fuelled by the desire to make the most confrontational music around:

"Paralyse is about the idea of being stuck to the spot in desbelief when it all becomes too much.  It's more about the image of mental paralysis, about not beimg heard.  My front room features heavily in the lyric : the blinds, the chairs, the four walls..."  (Pete)

"Paralyse": A sonic, electric hurricane swirling with slabs of driving schizo guitars and soul-twisting lyrics.  The single precedes 3 Colours Red's second album and the sweeping, string-laden landscape of "Beautiful Day", a song which provides a marked departure to the bombastic bluster of the early singles.

And so the party starts again with a Molotov single, a low-key tour and then..?  And then the world. It has, as they say, only just begun.  Roll out the barrels.

Ben Myers - September 1998.


Although Three Colours Red have been together for about a two years, vocalist Pete Vuckovic and guitarist Chris McCormack actually wrote songs together for two months before they met! Pete lived in Birmingham while Chris had relocated from his native North East to London and this geographical gap forced the two, who had been put in touch with each other by a mutual friend, to send tapes and ideas to each other by post. Eventually they met face to face and the rapport between them was so good they decided to form a band. They got Keith Baxter in on drums and started to rehearse.  They were very quickly ready to gig but felt that they needed a second guitarist to augment their sound and add to the harmonies which have become such a distinctive feature of the band's individual style. Ben Harding, ex: Senseless Things, was the man for the job and the line up was complete. Before the band's first gig a demo was recorded (Ben and Pete actually met for the first time at this session!) featuring the tracks "Pure", "This Is My Hollywood" and "Sunny In England" which have since surfaced on the band's first release, on Fierce Panda.


"You're not/I am/Is this too much to understand?" - 'This Is My Hollywood', 1996.
A simple statement, but one which perfectly sums up the 3 Colours Red credo. You can : (a) play in a band and do your best; or (b) play in the band and be the best. Needless to say, (a) was never even fleetingly an option. They want to be huge, so they will be huge, and the rest of us can only watch helplessly as they spiral dizzyingly towards worldwide acceptance, right across the board. Not that we won't have the time of our lives doing so.  'This Is My Hollywood', released as a limited-edition independent single in early 1996, was the first blast of fresh-headed ambition from a band determined to do it the only way : their own way.  "Hollywood is a fuckin' slum," shrugs McCormack, the fast-talking, speak-as-he-finds, hyperhead Geordie who could persuade The Pope to renounce Catholicism. "But it's always seen as glamorous and where you go to 'make it'. Well, I don't need that. I've got this."  Before securing that vital, elusive chemistry, the members walked various paths. Vuckovic, disillusioned by shoddy treatment at the hands of Diamond Head, and still deeply traumatised by the memory of singer Sean Harris dressed as the Grim Reaper before thousands, spent three years cooped up in his Stourbridge flat, watching tv and strumming a guitar.  "He's come out of his shell a lot since then," vouches McCormack. "At first, he wouldn't speak, because he was so skint and pissed off. So it probably didn't help when I told him his songs were shite...".  Naturally, McCormack jests. The duo wrote some songs together, and they were amazing. Ex-Senseless Thing Ben Harding and drummer Keith Baxter leapt on board like some kind of superheroes of rock, and the manifesto was quickly decided. It has always been pure enough. "We want this band to crossover to any person anywhere," buzzes McCormack. "A lot of bands say that, but they don't follow it through. We'll be coming out with some great songs in all sorts of different styles.  "Curious? Who wouldn't be? This indefinable 3 Colours Red noise is characterised by great snot-streaked volleys of punk, pop, rock, metal and anything that sounds good at the time. It was honed to a fine edge during a frighteningly purposeful '96. There have been countless sweat-splattered, gut-punching live shows, and this is only the beginning. Even before prestigiously signing to the Creation label, the four-piece knew what they wanted and they knew how to get it.  Opening for The Sex Pistols at London's Finsbury Park reunion on June 23 came about primarily because McCormack had played guitar on Glen Matlock's solo album. Other unsigned bands might have mumbled about "connections" from behind their jumper sleeves, but 3 Colours Red unequivocally proved themselves superior on the day. Hordes of early afternoon sunbathers had their mohicans/executive fringes blown back by an arrogant barrage of instant gems.  Mopping fevered brows, Creation topped a noisy bidding war to usher the Red boys into their care. Incidentally, while 3 Colours Red operate in a different sphere to Oasis, there is a certain similarity in terms of attitude and rock 'n' roll behaviour. Certainly, put Pete and Chris in a pub with the Gallagher brothers, and it's hard to say who would be spouting the most cocky shite, come closing time.  August saw 3 Colours Red attempt to drink their first bars dry in America, when they hit the Big Apple for a Creation showcase with Super Furry Animals and Heavy Stereo. Many a Manhattan-ite swaggered away impressed, many a beer was sunk, and many a road sign was pronounced as "Divven't wark" by McCormack.  Not ones for procrastination, the band had already captured their debut LP on a master tape, where it waits and seethes, and knows the days are numbered before it rules this miserable microbe of a planet. It is, quite simply, biding its time. "Nuclear Holiday" is the first shard to escape the big picture, and if this glorious explosion of mutated, sneering punk-pop can't raise your spirits, then neither will winning the Lottery. The expression "I need a holiday" may not immediately strike you as a likely shower-anthem, but press "play". In two minutes and fifty-nine seconds, it will. Oh yes.  "I'm in the best band in the world," grins McCormack, never a man to hedge his bets. "And if that sounds arrogant, then I'm fuckin' arrogant! All the bands happening in America are like us, but not as good. Simple as that. They haven't got our songs and the way we are."  Let 3 Colours Red's fat-free vision uplift you, inspire you, and maybe even cheekily tweak your moustache if you own one. Join a growing army of insiders. They're going to be massive. Better Red than.... anything, in fact.

3 Colours Red : the debut album : "Pure" is released on 28 April 1997.

05/20/1997 03:27 -by- DG

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