Rising phoenix-like from the remnants of a disbanded version, a new and improved FORCE 3 are raring to go. The heavy rockers spoke to Matt Anderson.
With the demise of a highly successful heavy rock band of the early 80s -100% Proof - Charlie Wilson set out on a new course with a new band called Force 3. In 1988 Force 3 signed a three-year contract with America's Pure Metal Records then recorded their debut album called 'Warrior Of Light' which sold 30,000 copies largely in America's burgeoning white metal underground. Sadly, it didn't ring fame or fortune for Force 3. The group split and reformed several times, played support for top metal bands like Leviticus and Bloodgood but never got the break. Now, third time round and Force 3 claim to have the 'best ever' line up to date - and few who've heard their new tape 'On The Right Track' would argue.
I spoke to original members Charlie Wilson (guitars) and Andy Jackson (drums) to get an idea what's happening in the revival of one of the biggest British hard rock bands ever.
My first impression and response to the things I saw going on now with Force 3 (and specifically the things Charlie murmured through a mouth full of Kellogs Frosties) was the sheer size and magnitude of Force 3's set up as a band. In the words of Charlie, "We stress the points of pure professionalism in Force 3 now. Presentation, music and performance are very important for us". To say Force 3 are back in Force 3 would be both very corny (yes it would. Editor) and an understatement. The band move around with them a full road crew including lighting, smoke machines, pyrotechnics, PA systems, rigged up drum kit on a platform, etc... Force 3 concentrate on being a live band and deliver a highly professional, hard rock set.
In listening to the band's material, I was struck by the change of musical direction. The sound borders on powerful commercial rock and hard AOR. The new songs show the introduction of acoustic guitars along with the heavy rock. In asking the band members about the musical change it basically boiled down to musical maturity and the vast span of input from each member. Through the band the musical tastes and influences vary, this giving the band its original ingredients of sound. The correct wording for the sound was summed up by Charlie himself, "Modern rock - still with a slight 80s edge." My sum up statement would be, "Take a normal rock sound. Throw in a little Petra vibe, then a little 77s edge. Mix this with some good old fashioned heavy rock Gun and you have - the new Force 3."
Another topic strong on the hearts of the band is the need for ministry and the spreading of the gospel. Charlie stressed this point strongly when expressing the three main directions of the band. "1. Professional, challenging rock that's exciting to listen to. 2. Presentation and performance, e.g., lights, good sound, smoke, pyrotechnics, etc... 3. And most important the gospel of Jesus Christ... for and most importantly the uplifting of Christ." Another direction for the band in their ministry is to penetrate the clubs and pubs, and to the secular market. "An area not really covered by Force 3 in the past," Charlie adds. "The focus is very much going out and getting the gospel to people. There's a tremendous fire for this, it's a burden even, within the band to go out and spread the word," confirms Andy.
In closing I asked Andy just to sum up Force 3 and the stage they're at. "The new band is the most comfortable I've every been in. Musically, as a unit this is the best I've ever worked with. I've been in many over the years, and this is definitely the best."The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.