......These Colours Don't Run by Interview Jasmine Mowgood (1999)
When 3 Colours Red, their management and record company found out that several of the biggest radio stations in the U.S. had been playing the first single off their new album, "Revolt," they hauled over to the U.S. to play their first tour. Headlining smaller venues, and opening up for Silverchair and others. The band consisting of Pete Vuckovic (singer/bassist), Chris McCormack (guitars), Ben Harding (guitars) and Keith Baxter (drums), are unabashedly thrilled to be playing the U.S., and hope that continued success will lead them back in the near future.
Although everything's been on the up for the London-based band, one bump in the road was their stint opening up for Marilyn Manson on his European tour. They weren't allowed soundchecks and were asked to cut their set down to under 45 minutes several times. Instead of giving up on the tour, they finished it, and are proud of the fact they didn't back down from the rather intimidating Mr. Manson.
Despite a crazy bus driver, rush hour traffic and a delayed sound check guitarists Ben Harding and Chris McCormack managed to speak with me in the dressing room of Hollywood's House of Blues.
ROL: Alright, how have the shows been so far?
Ben: The shows have been fine. They've varied alot from like, in terms of the amount of people being there, from like 30 up to 200, or more with the Silverchair shows, obviously. They've been great.
ROL: Has the silverchair audience been good to you?
Ben: They've been fine.
Chris: We've done two with them. Yeah, yeah. Great.
Ben: We've only done two shows with them, because we didn't get to Las Vegas. [laughs]
ROL: Better than the Marilyn Manson shows?
Chris: No, no. The Marilyn Manson fans, they were great. They were great, it was just him that was awful. As you see, maybe 100 or 200 people in the front that are total Marilyn Manson fans, look identical to Marilyn Manson, but you're playing for 1,000 people, and there are alot of poeple really getting into it in the back. Even if half the people like it, there's a couple thousand people that are going to be in your van.
Chris: Or 5,000 people depending on the size of the venue, but it was great. It was a great tour to do, it was just it was annoying touring with him, because he was such an asshole.
Ben: Such a jerk.
Chris: Yeah. Treated us like shit really, just no respect.
ROL: No dropping off the tour like Hole?
Ben: You see the difference between us and Hole is we didn't walk off and drop off of the tour, instead we put a sign up on the door saying, "These colours don't run."
Chris: He did try to intimidate us.
Ben: Yeah, we weren't going to be intimidated.
Chris: He's a bit of a twat.
Chris: Put a long story short...[interruption]
ROL: Is it important to break America?
Chris: It's important to break everywhere. You know we want to be .[slightly sarcastically] "globally accepted."
Ben: [smiles] We want to be the best that we can be!
Chris: Yeah, we want to sell records. You know we want people to hear our music. We want everyone to be aware of us. So America is the place to crack. Isn't it?
ROL: Obviously its so much bigger, so much harder.
Chris: Alot harder.
Ben: And because the American media is all pervasive, its a really good way to get to the rest of the world. I mean you make it here, and you go back home, and its all of a sudden you've kinda gone up another level too. So, besides we like it here, don't we?
Chris: [in agreement] Hmm..
Ben: We really love it here.
Chris: We might be coming back in May, I think. May or June.
ROL: Are you doing any festivals?
Chris: We're doing Reading they're all coming through at the moment. I think maybe T in the Park, and you know other in Europe that are coming through that we're talking about, but at the moment we're concentrating on America. So we're just waiting to get back, and then we'll have a conversation about it, and plan it all out. You know it's got to fit in with America really as well as we got Europe planned. I know we're doing Japan and Australia in September. So we're just getting the plan together at the moment, our schedules and stuff, its kinda like fitting in real good at the moment.
Ben: We're also angling for some of the big one-off shows of the summer as well. Like Aerosmith are playing at Wembley Stadium in London, and we're hoping to get on the bill for that.
ROL: Where was the video for "Beautiful Day" shot?
Ben: It was show in a studio, mostly in a studio in East London, around where I live, but the time lapse, was shot in the southwest coast of England, in Devon.
ROL: Who came up with the concept? You or the director?
Ben: It was a bit of both actually. The director came up with the main bulk of it and we helped him fine tune it.
Chris: It just fit in with the song and the band.
Chris: We have a little bit of something about ourselves on it. But this guy, the thing is, the guy that we used, we've really trusted, cause he's done three of our videos now, and we know he's not going to make a really bad video. So you kind of let your guard down a little bit, knowing that he' s done a good job, and that's the thing if you get somebody that you like you stick with them, unless it becomes like all the videos seem like the same kind of thing and you want to do someting different. But he's done a good job, so it's fine.
Ben: Yeah, we've just shot the video for "This is My Time," with him as well.
ROL: For the "This Is My Time" video you had an open call for fans for the video right?
Ben: That's right.
ROL: You did that for another video as well, right?
Chris: We did it for "This is My Hollywood."
Ben: Yeah, "This is my Hollywood." [laughs] It was two slightly different set ups, actually the "Hollywood" one was a very small budget and we basically got everyone to get crazy in a pub for a day.
Chris: We invited 100 poeple down, and I think there was 450 people. It's like 3 or 4 times as many people..
Ben: ..as the place could hold..
Chris: ...So we had to like, do a take, then get them all out, get the other ones in, then do another take, then get the other ones in...
Ben: Just rotating in and out..utter chaos that was.
ROL: It's nice so many people came right?
Chris: Yeah, yeah
Chris: We've got a good fan base.
Ben: We were really excited about that, and this time around it was much more controlled we just had 100 or so people, and it came across really, really well.
ROL: Okay, if you weren't in a band, what do you think you'd be doing by now?
Ben: Its hard to say because there's all sort of cliche answers to that question, but in all honestly I think I'd probably be working in a record shop. [laughs]
Chris: [still thinking] I wouldn't be doing anything. I'd be sitting and trying to write songs, and make it work because I never give up. The thing is once, you make a decision at like 14, 15, 16 or whatever that you're going to be in a band, and that's your life. You've got nowhere to go back because you've already f***ed all your exams up, and your qualifications, and you've sold your life away to music. I mean, so there's no goi ng back, unless you want to work at McDonald's, which isn't my thing at all. I'd rather....
Chris & Ben: [in unison] ..DIE!!
ROL: You were in several bands before this?
Chris: I was in a couple, yeah.
Ben: We all were
Chris: We all were, yeah.
ROL: How long did the album take to record?
Ben: It was..
Chris: ..It was..God..it was probably from start to finishing it, it was probably about 7 to 8 months, but we actually recorded in about 3 weeks. If you put all the time together, it's just 3 or 4 weeks to record and a week to mix, and we mixed in one week with Chris Sheldon. It was all just split up because of availabilities of studios and we started by, we only had written three songs, and then we wrote other songs and stuff, and built t he album like that. We didn't just have an album written and then go to do it. We got half the songs, let's go and record three, of the most different ones and see how we're getting on.
Chris: Try to be a little more adventurous, and it works. You know, it did work and the first three songs wer wrote were, "Beautiful Day," "This is my Time," and "Song on the Radio." Which are all very different from the last album. So, it was good. Y'know. It's good to start...then go on and jus t fit the album around it, and jell it togheter.
ROL: You just did an online chat? Do you like those sorts of things?
Ben: That sort of forum? Yeah it was great. I really enjoyed it. I'm kind of..we're all kind of starting, to develop a little bit of interest in that kind of thing, it's nice to kinda answer questions then and there. It's one removed from meeting people face-to-face but that can also be chaotic, and by its nature the Internet, is controlled, a controlled environment, so its nice to be kind of intimate with out being so intimate.
ROL: The name of the band came from a movie?
Chris: Yeah, we didn't realize it at the time.
Ben: It's one of those French arthouse movies about the "nature of being," isn't it? That's what Kievslovski's about isn't it? It's about exploring human nature, nature of relationships. Well basically it was a case that we needed a name really really quick so our then manager, kind of..to cut a long a story short, basically stuck a pin in TimeOut. [laughs] that's what happened.
ROL: Have you met alot of people after the shows? fans?
Ben: Yeah, well we've made a point of going out as soon as we can, after playing to kind of find out who's coming to our shows. Alot of the time it's been English people, who've flown over. I mean, we've been, incredibly flattered by the fact that people have taken time, trouble, and money to com e over from the UK...
Chris: ..and Japan.
Ben: and Japan, to see us, but meeting the American audience has been a revelations. You know what I mean?
ROL: Have you done any radio shows here?
Ben: Been doing bits and pieces. Pete came over to do some radio promotion before this tour, he spent about a week over here, flying all around the country doing acoustic versions of songs, and interviews.
Chris: ..he's done Los Angeles, and New York..
ROL: Does your record company put much of an emphasis on the charts?
Chris: Yes I think so, I mean it's very important isn't it? If you want to sell records and want to be percieved as doing well you've got to be in the charts, really.
Ben: We're lucky enough to have a good enought fanbase, as it were, for it almost to be a formality. You know. In terms, we leave that to the record company, if you see what i mean. That's their job.
Chris: But at the end of the day, that's not why we play our songs...music.
Ben: That's not the point.
Chris: We don't do that..I didn't get into this..You know, from our point of view, we just do it.
[June 11th 1999]