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Rocks Answer To John McEnroe - You Cannot Be Serious!

(Chris McCormack Interview - Taken From Black Velvet 19 - Feb 1999)

By Shari Black Velvet

It's been a whole year since we last attended a 3 COLOURS RED gig (actually a Bush gig where 3CR supported) and boy oh boy, we've missed them tremendously. So much so that we couldn't just go to the Wolverhampton gig of their November tour. Oh no, we made sure we popped up to Sheffield the very next day for a second slice of sheer delight.





Above: Chris McCormack (3 Colours Red) With Black Velvet 18


And it was in Sheffield that the always amicable Chris McCormack allowed Black Velvet to ask him a few questions. Actually, probably too many questions! We had with us one velvet bag bulging with strips of paper with queries on all sorts of subjects ranging from his school days to the band's crew. We offered Chris the bag and he pulled questions out one by one...

Black Velvet: What was the last gig you went to?
Chris: The Llama Farmers last night. Last gig before that was in London - Bob Mould's last ever gig. Brilliant. F**kin' love him. He was almost in tears halfway through the set. He's not finishing making music but he's finishing heavy guitar stuff - he's just doing solo acoustic stuff.

BV: When was the last time you cried?
C: Last time my mam came to stay with me. I cried quite a lot last year. I didn't cry for years and years, seriously, and then last year I had a lot of family s**t going on. Family problems. I actually cried at the Riverside the other night - my mam was there.

BV: When was the last time you were really scared?
C: Last night. I had a conversation with Ben, our guitar player, which scared the hell out of me. Let's just say I slept with my back to the wall! No, I'm just joking - that was a wind up!

BV: Jeff Hall from Colorado wants to know if you are planning on releasing Revolt in America.
C: Oh yeah, totally. Top of our priority list at the moment. America, Japan, Europe...

BV: What label does it come out on over there?
C: Sony... But we might be changing all that 'cause we f**ked it up last time. We might be staying with Sony but a different subsidiary of Sony. We've got to stay with the Sony group, but just a different division of it. Last year we were promised the world - we didn't get past New York. We have to change things. We've changed our management, we've changed everything this time. No more bulls**t.

BV: What are you going to be doing on New Year's Eve, 1999?
C: Probably spend it with my family, actually. Last year I went to the Bahamas and this year I'm going to the Bahamas. So I won't have had a holiday in Sunny South Shields for a long time. To see my parents - I'd like to spend it with them, really. Just get everyone together, the whole lot of us.

BV: So you wouldn't like to do a gig? A lot of bands seem to be arranging gigs to see in the new millennium.
C: You can do a gig any time of the year. We always think Christmas is for families, really. We never see our families 'cause it's not like we live at home. It's just once or twice a year for me.

BV: Is that hard?
C: You don't think about it. You just get used to it. You speak to them as much as you can. Half the time I'm so busy and two or three weeks have passed and I haven't called anyone. It's a bit bad really. I'm going to see them tonight actually. We're going to drive to Newcastle and have a day off.

BV: If you wrote a fanzine, who would you like to include? Who would you most like to interview?
C: I would like to interview bands that totally love the touring side of it and just enjoy themselves. I don't like miserable, whinging bands. People like Rocket From The Crypt who've got a good sense of humour. People who get on with it and love it and have stories to tell. Fun to be had, that's what it's all about.

BV: What's happened to Limited Records?
C: Because I've been doing this album, I've got to give 100% to 3 Colours Red. When we've finished the album and tour I might start releasing stuff again. I might do King Prawn's next single. I might begin work on that soon. I'm definitely still going to do it all. I just needed a break from it to do this album. There was a lot of stress and pressure to come back with a new album. We didn't just want to come back with the same album as we did last time. We wanted to come back with new music. A leap rather than a step on.

BV: Tell me about some of the songs.
C: Every song is different. There isn't one song that represents the whole album. 'Paralyse' doesn't, 'Beautiful Day' doesn't, none of them do. It's the whole thing. The last album had a couple of songs representing the whole album. This time they are really different and varied, which is important to us.

BV: What was your favourite toy as a child?
C: Batman stuff, with the rockets. Firing rockets off their back, that's what I really remember.

BV: How many 'A' levels or GCSEs did you get when you were at school and what were your best and worst memories of schooldays?
C: English and Maths I passed. Maths I was brilliant at. I was always in top class for English and Maths. Maths was my favourite subject - I actually loved it. I hated school, hated homework. I never did any homework. I was in a band when I was 13. I didn't give a s**t about school at all. I was really bright up until the last couple of years and then I blew it. I didn't used to go to school. I had a brilliant tutor, the guy who does your register. He loved music. He loved The Clash and he loved me. We used to get on great like mates. I didn't go to school but he used to tick me in and I'd go in at about 3 o' clock in the afternoon every single day. I must've gone to school about 40 times that year - the last year. And at the end of the year we all had to go in to assembly and whoever got 100% attendance went up and got a certificate, and when they called out my name everyone was going 'f**kin' hell' and I got my award and went 'yes!' with my black spiky hair and studs on. Honest to God, nobody had seen me at school for a year and I got my award!

BV: When did you get into rock and punk?
C: When I was about 11.

BV: What was it then? Did you and your brother just discover it?
C: The Pistols. He had tapes but I was the first one to buy the stuff. He had a few tapes of Crass and Conflict and those horrible smelly bands. But then I bought 'Never Mind The B*llocks' and he had an acoustic guitar and snapped the top two strings and played bass. So that's why the year after, I got his acoustic and he got a bass. I was a year behind him in playing. I bought an extra two strings and then I played guitar. We used to argue. We never ever used to play together or jam as we used to fight like f**k. I'd be like "no, no, it should be this chord" and we used to battle and have fist fights over A minor or something. But I passed my Maths. I didn't take Maths in the last year. That's why I didn't really go to school. I only went for Maths 'cause I lived it. But I passed it a year before 'cause we were guinea pigs. We had to take our GCSEs in 4th year and I passed it and I didn't wanna go on 'cause I didn't wanna go to school. I just wanted to play music so instead of going to Maths classes I went to music. I just sat and played guitar in the music room.

BV: Did you have loads of friends? Were you popular at school?
C: Yeah. I was the hard nut at school. When I was really young, before I got into music, I used to beat people up for their dinner money. I was a tw*t. Until I realised 'what's the point of fighting?', y'know. But me and Danny were crazy, we used to run the school!

BV: What were you like at sport?
C: Brilliant. I was a total sports fanatic as a kid. I was captain of the football, rugby, cricket, badminton... everything. I was the quickest runner, best athlete - everything. As a kid I used to have a six-pack - well, I still have up to there, until it gets to the beer bit! It's still rock hard. If I wasn't mad on sports as a kid, the lifestyle I've got now, I'd be like Ben! I used to love it. Highest goal scorer, best everything. And 'cause I was the best fighter, I used to make myself captain of everything as well. "I'm f**kin' captain!" I was like. I was a tw*t, honest to God. I look back and I was a spoilt kid. Other kids' moms used to watch us play football at the matches and I used to be effing and blinding... and punch them and all sorts and the parents used to complain about me. I just had a loud mouth. I was like John McEnroe or something.

BV: Did you ever get suspended?
C: Yeah, yeah. Got suspended for causing a riot. Danny got arrested and put in a cell when we were 12/13. We went on a school dinners rampage. The school dinners got changed to prison food so we went mental. Me and Danny got 120 of us and we went to the town hall and trashed it. Then we went to the corner shop for some sweets or something and everyone came in and the shop was rammed, and then when we left the shop was bare. The whole shop was as empty as f**k. And the police came with their riot shield and started beating the hell out of us. I got away. One of the policeman whacked me in the head with his truncheon. I was only about 13, y'know. I started jumping over gardens and got away but our Danny got caught and loads of others did and everyone's name was written down on the front page of the Gazette and we all got suspended from school.

BV: Have you ever received any weird gifts from fans?
C: I had a weird alarm clock thing with people headbanging from Japan. I haven't been to Japan and I get things from Japan sent to me...

BV: Do you get a lot of fan mail from the UK?
Yeah, quite a lot.

BV: Do you ever reply?
C: I used to when I first started but there's just too much going on. Especially for me. I'm the one who keeps in touch with the fans. I used to write letters to every one of them, spend days on it. But because there's so much going on now with the record company, publishing, touring, writing... I never have a minute. The odd letter that gets sent to me might mean a hell of a lot and I'll think 'f**kin' hell, I've got to write back' but you can't write to everyone. I'd like to have a fan club set up soon. We've got mailing lists and things like that but... Maybe when the next album comes out.

BV: What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up this morning?
C: I actually woke up to the sound of Keith going "aagh, aagh, aagh, it's been used!" and I remember putting it in his arse and I woke up and just laughed my tits off about it. I was giggling with Ben. Then Keith came in and said "you b*stard" and started hitting me!
(Shari - Before this interview started Chris told us about how he filled a condom with milk for a joke and decided to put it in Keith's bed for him to wake up to!)

BV: Do you sleep OK on the tour bus? Or do you have hotels?
C: I can't stand it. I go to bed about 8 or 9 o' clock. We have hotels in the daytime and hotels on the days off. We have hotels in the day for a shower and stuff. I haven't had a shower in three days! I haven't even washed or brushed my teeth yet. I'm a scumbag. I'm actually very clean but on tour, I get a bit bad now and again.

BV: Ann-Mari Rasmus in Finland asks: What do you think of Finland and the gig you did there last June. Are you coming back and if so, when?
C: Finland? It was brilliant, f**king excellent actually. Brilliant festival. We got paid loads of money as well. Yeah, I'd love to go back, it was great. We went down brilliantly, everyone loved it. We'll go back next year I would imagine.

BV: What makes you smile?
C: The people on this bus. Everyone on this bus is great. It's the best tour we've ever done and the best crew we've ever had. I love 'em, they're brilliant. Every night's just a scream. I just sit with a big grin on my face all the time. Everyone's as funny as f**k. It's like being on tour with a bunch of comedians or something.

BV: Tell us about the crew. Where did you get them from?
C: Bottom of a barrel! Duncan I've known for years. I used to sell him plectrums.

BV: Have you got any new guys working?
C: Yeah, John, who 's Rocket From The Crypt and Jesus Lizard's tour manager. Sven who's Bentley Rhythm Ace's lighting guy. And they all know each other. John and Sven always worked together, and they all know Sean. Everyone was already best mates before we all got on the bus. Everyone gets on great. And there's Harry, the drum tech. He's lovely. Everyone's so easy-going. It's great. But we have a job to do, although it's the most fun I've ever had on tour.

BV: Adele from Essex asks: Do you worry how new material will be received by fans?
C: I suppose so, but we always write for ourselves anyway. And if some fans don't like it then there might be a hell of a lot of new people that would. We're making music for us and for as many people to can get into it, the better, but at the end of the day we've got to be pleased with it. It's gotta make us excited, keep us happy. We've gotta get up and do it every night. If we're bored of it, how are we supposed to project it onto other people.

BV: Do you ever get bored of old material that you've played gig after gig?
C: No. I might do when we're doing the next album and still playing stuff off the first album, that would be four years on, but at the moment I still enjoy playing everything.

BV: How big would you like 3 Colours Red to become? Would you like to become the biggest band in the world and if so, could you cope with all the negative aspects such as loss of privacy etc.?
C: Ooh, six inches! Nah, I'd love to be the biggest band in the world. Totally. I want as many people to hear what we do as possible, and to do that you've got to be totally massive.

BV: So you'd like to be like Michael Jackson?
C: I wouldn't like to be like Michael Jackson! What are you trying to say!? Not at all! No, I wouldn't like to be like him but I'd like to have that much money and have that much respect and be a legend.

BV: How did you enjoy The Slags' gig that you appeared at and which song did you jam with them on?
C: 'New Rose' by The Damned and I got a f**kin' big lump on my head; a big bruise. I got my mate, the guitar player from Tricky to get up and do a song at the end he turned around with his guitar and went boom... And had a big lump on my head, there. I had to do a TV show, Jack Docherty, with something that looked like a big boil on my head! But it was good fun. I wouldn't do it again. I don't really do that kind of thing. I did it for a laugh. I was pissed and Billy asked me and I said yes. They're good blokes. It was a fun load of people getting pissed and having a laugh.

BV: The Cradle Of Filth Documentary - 'Living With The Enemy' that was on BBC2. Would you like to be the subject of a documentary like that?
C: Yeah, because I think I could take the piss out of them totally and make them look stupid. Everybody who has a go at me for doing what I do, I could rip them to shreds. Who can tell me what to do with my life? If people enjoy it and get off on it then fantastic, and that's what I'm doing. I am providing a service, in a way. And entertaining, hopefully. Kids like it. It's their choice. I'm not forcing it upon them. If they like what they see and they like what they hear and buy it then their mothers should shut their mouths. I wouldn't let my mom stop me listening to the Sex Pistols. I would do that and I'd win.

Well, we at Black Velvet like what we see and what we hear when it comes to 3 Colours Red. Hope you do too.

Visit www.3coloursred.co.uk for more info.





Copyright: Black Velvet Magazine. All Rights Reserved.

Please note that all articles, photos and other items on this Black Velvet website are owned and copyrighted by Shari Black Velvet/Black Velvet Magazine unless otherwise stated and must not be used elsewhere under any circumstance. Articles in Black Velvet Magazine should not be put online without the express permission of the editor.


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