Sorted magAZine discusses success, the music biz, drugs and plain old rock n' roll with the band known as Three Colours Red.
"I'm ready for anything".
Chris McCormack's eyes are wide with excitement as he contemplates worldwide fame. Three Colours Red have scored a huge crossover hit with 'Beautiful Day', a love song far removed from their usual sub-punk offerings. Gallagher-esque mega-stardom? Come in, Chris has been expecting you.
As he relaxes with a pint of plain in a Dublin pub, Chris is eager and talkative, high on the knowledge that TCR have ridden the backlash spurred by the glut of guitar bands when Brit-rock was at its most ludicrous peak. Their new album "Revolt" has received decent reviews and, with the radio-friendliness of their latest offering opening up a whole new audience, could 'Beautiful Day' be the turning point in the band's career?
"Well, it's just crossed over a little bit, you know, changed some perceptions".
Those perceptions being that TCR were another sub-Oasis crowd of chancers coasting along on coattails of Alan McGee, the head of Creation Records. Mr. McGee even went as far as saying that the band were the closest he'd seen to the Clash in '77, a lofty claim which left them as an easy target for the music press.
"He did set us up too high, like. He gets excited, he speaks his mind, you can't knock him for it. It probably did have an adverse effect, but that's all forgotten about now, we're just getting on with making the music and standing up on our own two feet".
Chris, along with Pete Vuckovic (lead vocals, attitude, cheekbones), Ben Harding (bass, affability, ex-Senseless Things) and Keith Baxter (drums, er ... quiet) burst onto the scene in 1996 with their independently released single 'This is my Hollywood'. It was a thundering four minutes of cynicism which saw them snapped up by Creation Records and led to the release of "Pure", their debut album.
"Pure" debuted in the Top 20, but did not do as well as expected as the fickle finger of fate decreed that guitar music was now deeply unfashionable, a trend that Chris now believes is coming full circle.
"I don't think you'll ever get rid of rock music, it just goes through spells of being popular or not. This year's started really well, it's nice to see bands in the charts that have guitars and can play live".
TCR play live, and plan to do so very often in the near future. After their current British and Irish tour, they're off to America to have a go at cracking the big one. The fact that a multitude of horror stories have haunted every band considering touring the States doesn't appear to daunt Chris.
"It's gonna be hard work but we're never shy of hard work. We're a hard working band. The song ['Beautiful Day'] is spreading like wildfire so hopefully we'll get out there, capitalise on that and build on it".
At their gig tonight in Dublin the band fire off three-minute bursts of raucous guitar thrashes for little over forty minutes before the obligatory "slowie" in the encore. The tunes are definitely there; they're just caught by the fuzz, so to speak. A little less bluster and a little more content and TCR might just save themselves from becoming the next Bush.
But somehow that doesn't seem to be the point. The one impression you leave with after meeting TCR is that they are a ROCK band. They really don't seem to mind the fact that they seem to get more features in Kerrang than in NME. They have a lead singer with the necessary attitude and a guitarist with a guitar so low-slung that he has to stand on the edge of the stage to play it.
Chris McCormack, however, does appear to have his feet firmly on the ground for the moment. He's set up his own record label, Unlimited Records, home to Irish band Sic, a situation which has led to him being pelted with demo tapes at punk gigs rather than the obligatory spit.
"I'm quite energetic, I like to be doing things all the time. I'm always looking for new bands; I realise how important it is to get your own stuff out. Hopefully I can do the same for other bands that was done for us. I'm gonna lose money, but it's a case of putting something back in. I'm really pleased with it."
Chris has also been in the press lately because of his brother Danny (formerly of The Wildhearts, now with the Yo-yos) who, when speaking recently of his heroin addiction, cited Chris as his main help in getting off the drug.
"Yeah, it was horrible. Seeing someone that you love, your own brother falling apart at the seams and making a right cunt of himself. It's beyond belief, beyond words what you go through. I brought him everywhere, went cold turkey with him, wouldn't let him out of me sight. I never want to see anyone go through that kind of shit, ever."
So what of the band's general attitude towards drugs?
"Take as many as you can, ha ha. No, I mean we all like to dabble but not in that league. If anyone in this band starts shooting heroin, then I'm out, but the best thing about this band is that nobody's that stupid".
But, has he ever been tempted himself?
"Actually, I always wanted to try it and experience it but after seeing what Danny went through - no, I've learnt a lot from Danny in a way".
So, a busy time for the Newcastle lad who Alan McGee once described as one of the two best guitarists in Britain (along with Noel Gallagher). And with America calling and the band's new direction indicating a depth previously unseen in Three Colours Red, the future looks bright. Chris remains confident, but cautious.
"We're good enough to be right up there, that's all I know and if we get the right breaks and the right people working for us, it'll happen."
And off he goes, to tell the rest of the band the news that three members of the original Sex Pistols are going to play with them at their London gig. For a few minutes he looks like one of the over-excited 16-year-old's at his own gig, all wide-eyed and hyper and in awe of one thing: ROCK.
by Pat Horan