published biography when they released their major U.S. debut album
in the spring of 2002.
PAUL COLMAN TRIO (PC3) - BIOGRAPHY
»When we look out over a crowd, whether they call themselves
Christians, atheists, Hindus, Buddhists, nothings, whatever, they are
people God has given us to love and music is the vehicle weve
chosen.« ~ pc3
Sometimes, try as you might, you just cant find the right word.
Other times, as is the case with the music and members of the Paul Colman
Trio, too many words come to mind. Words like direct, honest, fun, energetic,
no-nonsense, electric and open.
Those adjectives come into play thanks to the commitment the members
of the Paul Colman Trio (guitarist/songwriter Paul Colman, bassist Grant
Norsworthy and drummer Phil Gaudion) made to each other long ago as
friends and brothers in Christ first, and musicians second; a commitment
clearly reflected on their Essential Records debut, New Map Of The
The Paul Colman Trio got its start in 1998 when Colman, who had already
released two well-received solo albums in his native Australia, recruited
drummer Gaudion for a trip to the United States. Upon returning home,
the duo decided to add a bass player, turning to longtime friend Norsworthy,
and the affectionately dubbed pc3 was born. The band went on to become
the most successful independent artist in Australias history,
dominating radio and garnering the title of Artist of the Year in 2000
and 2001, as determined by The Rock Across Australia charts.
There was this chemistry from the word
go when we started playing together. No one was fighting
anybody else musically, and there were already 30 or 40 songs that Id
written that worked well with this setting, Colman says.
The collaboration that happened when we
came together, that to me was what made the magic.
Our first gig was in front of 3,000 people
at the Melbourne Zoo, and it started to take off from there,
Gaudion recalls. People seemed to really
enjoy the performances and the interaction with the audience, and it
just sort of exploded. Paul had a lot of gigs lined up already, so we
just started to play them as the Trio rather than just Paul alone. We
launched a CD in the middle of 99, and from there its continued
to go up.
It was one of pc3s self-released CDs that made it into the hands
of two different people who would have an impact on the bands
rapidly changing future. Completely independent of each other, the music
found its way to both Third Days Mac Powell, who invited the band
to open for them on an Australian tour, and veteran producer Monroe
Jones, who immediately took up the bands flag and arranged for
pc3 to record its U.S. debut.
I got an e-mail from Monroe when I was
in Africa, a message which had nothing to do with either record companies
or other bands, and he got the music before he knew there was any connection,
Colman recalls. I think the thing with Monroe
is that its another thing where Gods timing was there. Monroe
was ready to do something different, and we were ready to have a great
producer and a great sounding record.
The music on New Map Of The World does, indeed, sound great:
a no-nonsense pop/rock, lean (and in appropriate cases, mean) and littered
with sonic hooks that only amplify the bands straightforward message.
Its great art, great storytelling and great funall wrapped
up in one package.
When youre looking at making music
that wants to say something in three-and-a-half minutes, but not to
the point of ramming it down somebodys throat, the goal is to
have songs with not a lot of fat on the bone, Colman explains.
There are other bands out there that are
more arty in their little finger than I am in my whole body, but do
they really connect with the audience? Thats the question we ask
ourselves all the time
are we connecting?
That question is easily answered by the albums standout track
Turn, with its timeless message to look inward before criticizing
outward, nestled neatly within a driving musical track. When
I started writing the lyric, it was directly at the church,
Colman says. I think a lot of people in
the church pray for revival in the land, but tend to forget the fact
that God has to do it in us first.
And although Turn wasnt necessarily intended to be
an audience participation song, it seems to have turned out that way.
Kids in Australia have spontaneously started
to do this thing when it gets to the chorus where they put their hands
up in the air, jump up and down, and turn around as they do it,
Norsworthy comments. We never told them
to do it or asked them to do it, it started happening spontaneously.
Its been great.
While the Paul Colman Trio certainly has its share of rock moments,
the instrumental prowess and heart for God also combine to create some
very worshipful moments on New Map Of The World, such as the
song Fill My Cup. That songs
about somebody being so empty in life, they just surrender themselves.
Its a cry out; theres nothing more I can do in my own strength
but ask God to fill my cup. Gaudion says. Its
become more of a worship song, and people kind of rejoice in the chorus.
Its something where they put their hands in the air and really
invite God into their hearts.
As Colman notes, The verses and chorus
are really a cry and a prayer; its more like a Psalm. I think
a lot of contemporary worship songs focus so much on the praise, praise,
praise that it sometimes takes some confessing and agony to get there.
Its an interesting juxtaposition between the verses and the chorus
in that theres first this disconnection and then this release,
and the music does that as well.
As a songwriter, Colman sits unafraid to peel back the curtain on what
touches his heart, such as the origins of the song Africa.
That song was written in Nairobi in February
2001 on a trip with a child development organization. My wife and I
were in Kenya for 10 days, and my heart was just broken. The first morning
I got up to sing in front of these beautiful, gorgeous African people
who were singing old Baptist hymns that wed thrown out for being
silly and old, they were singing with such gusto, Colman
reflects. I stood up to sing, and I couldnt
because I was crying. I couldnt even speak because I was so moved."
Africa is special for
us because its got a great feel around it. Monroe did a great
job on the strings in that theyre very bizarrely wonderful. I
think you get that image of the old-school, patronizing, western British
invasion feeling versus the chanting, droning, African indigenous music
This year finds many challenges and opportunities on the Paul Colman
Trios horizon. Along with the release of New Map Of The World
(as well as a wholesale relocation to the U.S.), the band will open
on a 50-plus-date Third Day Come Together tour, a jaunt
that will put it in front of a brand new, yet very accepting audience.
But while the band members are poised on the verge of taking the States
by storm, they know thats not their ultimate goal.
Coming to America is just the next phase
for us. Its not necessarily just our dream, Colman
remarks. Our main dream has always been
to follow God and to love others. Americas just the next venue
for us to keep doing what weve always done."
A lot of things Jesus said about working
out your issues before the sun goes down we take literally and seriously.
Therefore, we dont consider our music our ministry; we consider
our lives our ministry, he continues. The
tour bus, backstage, the day off, the sound check, the gig, we feel
all these things are just as important as the others in terms of what
Gods saying and what were saying with each other."
When Jesus was asked in Matthew 22 what
the most important thing was, He said to love God and love one another.
The day we realize that music isnt the tool we want to use anymore,
well do something else. But until then, we feel very called to
come to America. Everybody looks to America as the leaders of the world
in culture, in economics and everything else, and we want to be here
at a time of change and challenge and serve the people of America.