“As you go through life, you’ve got to see the valleys as well as the peaks.” Neil Young.
Colour of Noise’s ‘Stark Reality’ tour has proved to be aptly-named, having been dogged by problems, which caused delay and even threatened the band’s survival, but it’s going ahead.
“We were beginning to suspect this tour was cursed!” guitarist Bruce John Dickinson explains, “At the start of 2016 (following the Toseland and Dead Daisies tours), we were on a high, but stark reality soon gave us a hefty kick in the nuts. CoN’s new-act novelty wore off, overnight. It seemed that, as a support band, we couldn’t even get arrested! We scraped together a few other shows through the Summer. Then, emboldened by a couple of one-off gigs with our friends Massive Waggons, we decided to set up a co-headline tour, intended to be on sale in early December.”
That’s when the problems really started! CoN lost two band members in swift succession. Also, songwriting slowed to a low ebb. Bruce and vocalist Matt Mitchell were disagreeing over material, so no new songs were on the horizon. Meanwhile, the few December shows proved erratic affairs (though with magic moments amidst the chaos). It was Matt’s turn to be mentally and physically fried during the tour, so offstage he wasn’t his usual self, which made communication harder and a new distance and unexpected darkness descended around the band.
What’s more, CoN had parted company from a legendary agent and long-time friend, back from the Little Angels days. Bruce felt guilty leaving “With hindsight, I realised that even one of the biggest agencies couldn’t work miracles,” admits Bruce, “We were just another new band looking for a gig. I kept hassling for shows. It felt undignified to be begging, but Colour of Noise live to play live, and not doing so was killing the band. What can you do?”
Matt adds, “It’s kind of arrogant to go out too early as a headline act, so we carefully planned a co-headline tour with our new agent, confident it would create a positive vibe. Band after band expressed interest, only to pull out for logistical reasons, but time ticked on, making it harder to fix not only co-headliners but venues, and importantly get the tour on sale and a positive vibe going out on social media to follow up our new excitement”
“God bless Planet Rock!” says bass player Ben Daniels, “They kept the flag flying and played our single Medicine Man through those hard weeks. That radio station is the lifeblood of new rock n roll, as well as keeping alive the best music of the past.”
With the long-awaited announcement of their Stark Reality Tour, CoN are taking their own leap of faith into new towns, not yet even knowing who’ll be sharing the stage with them, playing largely new material from the forthcoming album BONE. CoN will document the honest ups and downs of the tour in a series of mini-documentaries, shared with their fans on Facebook and Pledge.
Happily, CoN are now on a creative roll, writing their best-ever work. Galvanised by collaboration with Luke Potashnick (producer of Medicine Man), they are moving into deeper psychedelic and experimental regions, always using vintage analogue equipment, always with an eye for a killer chorus, and a lyric that speaks about the quest to live a life in rock n roll, on your own terms, in your own way, whatever the cost.
See you on the road!