|3 Colours Red|
3 Colours Red, 1997. L-R: Chris McCormack, Pete Vuckovic, Keith Baxter and Ben Harding.
|Genres||Hard rock, punk rock, Indie, Britrock|
|1995-1999 / 2002-2005|
|Labels||Creation, Mighty Atom, Epic (US), Sanctuary|
|Website||Official 'myspace' page|
3 Colours Red were an English rock band, formed in 1995 in London. They achieved their biggest chart success at the end of the 1990s, along with other Britrock bands such as Ash and Feeder. The band was named by sticking a pin in a London listings magazine, Time Out. It landed randomly on an advertisement for the concluding part of the Polish film director Krzysztof Kie?lowski's, Three Colors, trilogy. They went on to record two UK Top 20 albums, and six Top 40 singles.
In 1995, it was suggested by a mutual friend that bass player/singer Pete Vuckovic should contact guitarist Chris McCormack (ex-Forgodsake/Gunslinger) to start a band. Both had recently left their previous bands and were looking for something new. Vuckovic made the call. At first he was told that McCormack was not available as he was busy with Honeycrack. A few weeks later, after McCormack didn't get the gig with Honeycrack, they decided to work on some songs together. Due to location they spent the following months trading four track recordings and developing song ideas via post, until they had enough material to record a demo. The demo, a three-song effort featuring the newly acquired drummer Keith Baxter was sniffed at but didn't click. Vuckovic left the early incarnation of the band.
In the meantime, and undeterred, McCormack liaising with Gina Walters, herself working at Warner Chappell Music is put onto a producer/manager called Terry Thomas.
It is this inclusion of Terry Thomas that convinces Pete Vuckovic to change his mind and do another demo, after a 30-minute phone call from McCormack begging him to come back to London.
Terry Thomas eventually manage them as well as produce the demos (the first to feature guitarist Ben Harding) that secured their recording contract.
McCormack is the younger brother of Danny McCormack, ex-bassist in The Wildhearts, another British rock band who had already achieved commercial success, and with whom 3 Colours Red would play some of their first concerts. Ben Harding had been a founder member of Senseless Things, whilst Vu?kovi?'s stint with Diamond Head had galvanised his songwriting, and Keith Baxter's drumming with Skyclad provided the band with backbone.
Fierce Panda Records released their first single, "This Is My Hollywood" published by Warner Chappell Music. The band signed to Creation Records, after Alan McGee, Creation's founder and discoverer of Oasis, said that 3CR were the "most exciting band since the Sex Pistols".
While with Creation, the band recorded two albums. The first, Pure (1997) was produced by Terry Thomas. There was controversy over the resulting single "Sixty Mile Smile", the lyrical content of which referred to frontman Vu?kovi?'s overnight hospitalisation after taking the drug ecstasy. Unfortunately, Thomas was eventually fired by 3 members of the band on the advice of someone at the label, technically an illegal act, prior to the recording of the second album, which is the entire reason of the early demise of the band. Frontman bassist and main songwriter Pete Vuckovic was outvoted by 3 to 1, and actually didn't want to lose the manager. It would cause a rift that would never heal. The manager sued the band successfully, for unfair dismissal. The deal that was signed by 3 colours red was a two album firm deal which meant Pete Vuckovic was also legally bound to stay in the band even though he wanted to leave after the first album.
Revolt (1999) was produced by Dave Eringa. At the peak of their success, following the band's biggest hit, the Vuckovic penned "Beautiful Day", they embarked upon US tours with Marilyn Manson, Aerosmith and Silverchair. However, after completely running out of money as it had all been spent sacking managers, the group disbanded after the Reading and Leeds Festivals in 1999, citing musical and personal differences in a press release that frontman Vuckovic did not even attend the compiling of, disgusted at being sold down the river by 3 bandmates. Of course, the validity of musical differences must be at least questioned when taking into account the fact the band would reform in only a couple of years, playing the same songs.
Vu?kovi? was signed to Sony Records and Sanctuary Management and spent two years writing an album for his new project Elevation, which was never released and he was dropped by the label. McCormack joined Rich Battersby and EMF producer Ralph Jezzard for a stint in Grand Theft Audio, who spent considerable time touring America before also being dropped.
Vu?kovi? and McCormack reconciled their differences and reformed the band with original drummer Keith Baxter. Ben Harding had by this time, forged a career in public relations and was replaced by Paul Grant (ex-Pornstar).
The new line-up signed to Mighty Atom Records and Sanctuary Management and recorded The Union of Souls album with producer Joe Gibb (Funeral for a Friend/ Million Dead) in 2004 to critical acclaim but little commercial success. "Repeat To Fade" and "The World is Yours", taken from the album, were released as singles and the band toured Europe and Japan with German bands Die Toten Hosen and The Donots as well as a handful of UK tours and festival slots including the first Download festival.
In mid 2005, a double album, If You Ain't Got a Weapon..., made up of the band's singles and b-sides from the Creation period was released by Sanctuary Records, with accompanying sleeve notes penned by Vu?kovi?. A live DVD recorded at the Islington Academy in 2004 was also released, followed by a live album, Nuclear Holiday from the same show. The band split again in September 2005 after a UK farewell tour with The Yo-Yos, having been dropped by Sanctuary and disappointing sales of the third album, and continuing personal differences between Vu?kovi? and McCormack.
As a youngster, Vu?kovi? was a keen hard rock/heavy metal fan and played in bands with his older brother throughout his teens in his hometown of Tiverton in Devon. His first notable success came in 1993 after leaving his own band, Blackout, and moving to Birmingham to join reformed N.W.O.B.H.M./Heavy metal band Diamond Head as their bassist. He recorded on the 'Death and Progress' and 'Evil Live' albums but they split again soon after.
McCormack's first success was as a member of Newcastle upon Tyne heavy metal outfit Forgodsake, who released an album on Bleeding Heart Records before McCormack eventually left. He originally moved to London to join Honeycrack with C.J. from The Wildhearts but ended up forming 3 Colours Red with Vuckovic instead. Afterwards, he joined electro rockers Grand Theft Audio with Rich Battersby from The Wildhearts, and spent several months touring the U.S. with them before they were eventually dropped by the record label, forcing them to return home. He also tours as the guitarist in Gary Numan's live band and co-wrote several songs with Adam Ant for Ant's 2013 album Adam Ant Is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner's Daughter.
Harding embarked upon a career in public and media relations following the first split of 3 Colours Red in 1999.
As a teenager, Baxter became a founder member of folk metal pioneers Skyclad, recording five seminal albums with them before leaving in 1995 to move to London and join 3 Colours Red. Following the split of the band in 1999 he formed the band Elevation with former bandmate from 3 Colours Red, Vuckovic. The pair signed with Sony but were dropped a year later. He moved back to his hometown of Lancaster and briefly played with the Northern Irish band, Therapy? in 2002.
Baxter went on to play with the Lancaster-based band Baby Judas, but died on 4 January 2008 at the age of 36, from a gastrointestinal haemorage.
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|2004||The Union of Souls
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions||Album|
|1996||"This Is My Hollywood"||162||Pure|
|"Sixty Mile Smile"||20|
|"This Is My Hollywood" (re-release)||48|
|1998||Paralyse EP (Non-eligible for UK Chart)||--|
|"This Is My Time"||36|
|2003||"Repeat To Fade"||97||The Union of Souls|
|2004||"The World Is Yours"||--|