Following the recent release of the Creation Anthology we caught up with Chris McCormack from 3 Colours Red to talk about his time on the label. In the interview he talks of how they first came to sign to the label, the initial rush of success they had in the 90’s, splitting up and getting back together again.
You released your first single on Fierce Panda and immediately gained loads of attention. Did 3CR feel like a winner from the start?
I knew we were a good band, once we started playing live things seemed to pick up fast. I remember that time being really exciting… we were on the brink of getting a record deal but still being fucked around by the likes of EMI and East West.
Ben had previously been hugely successful with Senseless Things. Had you played in many bands prior to 3 Colours Red?
I was in a band called Gunslinger when I was 14 and then in a band called Forgodsake before I moved to London to form 3 colours Red
You then moved onto Creation, were you being courted by many labels at that time?
As I’ve already mentioned, EMI & East west both offered us deals and we were days away from signing…. No idea what happened, the reason they give you is usually bullshit anyway. There were other labels we went to see but I can’t remember… the copious amounts of drugs ensure my memory is very selective!
How did Creation compare to Fierce Panda?
The Fierce Panda deal was just a one off single. It was a cool way to put something out and move the band forward and maybe get heard. It definitely helped us get the creation deal. Fierce Panda is still the coolest label around, the amount of great bands Simon has released is fantastic…. A couple of shit ones too though.
I couldn’t even afford a pint the week before we signed to Creation, so when it finally happened and we were given 4, £50 notes each and ordered to go to the pub…. Which we did until Camden was covered in vomit.
Creation felt proper, people with job titles n stuff. They had money, oasis were selling 10,000,000 a day or something!
Were you fans of many Creation acts before signing to the label?
Yeah, I liked a few bands…. Sugar, Teenage Fanclub & Oasis
You were on the label the same time as Oasis fever was sweeping the nation. This must have had massive advantages and disadvantages. What’s your view of that era?
I guess the advantages were that creation had money to spend on a band like us and every one was waiting on what was coming next. With that though there’s always people waiting, ready, with their knives out. Wanting McGee to fail… it’s the English way, isn’t it.
I had a read through your bio recently and looking back I was shocked at how many big gigs you played supporting the likes of the Sex Pistols, Iggy Pop, Metallica and even Aerosmith at Wembley Stadium. It must have been quite a roller coaster ride then. Are there any memories that really stick in your mind?
Yeah, loads. I loved it most of the time. Pete and I obviously had our ups and downs but the good always outweighed the bad. Playing with the pistols was a dream… still my favorite moment… that and Wembley stadium.
Which tracks are your favourites on the Compilation album?
It’s nice having everything all on 1 CD. The b-sides early on were always quality and playing them all back to back makes your realize that. It’s a shame we couldn’t have put some more previously unreleased radio sessions but there wasn’t the budget. Wouldn’t have been good for fans that have bought all the singles in every format.
God shaped Hole, Human Factory and Yellow Hair Carraige are great and also some of the slow stuff Pete wrote like If and inside.
You played your final gigs at Reading and Leeds which seemed to be a high point, can you remember how you were feeling at that time?
Confused I guess, I didn’t really want the band to end as we’d worked so hard getting there. But Pete had made his decision and to be honest it was hard work for both if us. Small things became big things.
After the split you were in Grand Theft Audio for a while, how did that compare to 3CR?
It was luxury looking back… everyone got on. The touring was fun too…. Fuck, that band liked a drink, I’m surprised no one died! But I preferred the music of 3 Colours Red so I suffered for the music and reformed! Hahahaha
Then in 2004 there was the news that you were reforming 3CR, how has it been this time around compared to the 90’s?
I think the 1st time around, we were naive so we didn’t think too deeply about stuff. I miss that. You have to learn fast in this business and that quickly strips you of your naiveté. Shame, I love not giving a fuck.
How did the reunion come about?
Jim Morewood, our booking agent called me. I think he’d spoken to Pete after his solo deal had fallen apart and suggested it then wanted to see what my reaction was. We met in a pub in Maida Vale and it was cool… afew lines later and we were cuddling! Drugs eh?
You’ve just finished a European tour, how did that go?
I enjoyed it, I always do.
When can we expect to see you live again? Any plans to tour the Creation Anthology?
Fuck knows, one day at a time… sweet jesus.
Interview May 2005
Cheers to Scott and Terry for their help.