TOKYO (TR) – Along with bands like the Rain Parade and The Dream Syndicate, The Three O’Clock was lumped into the “Paisley Underground” rock scene in Los Angeles in the early 1980s.
Mixing psychedelia and pop, The Three O’Clock released four albums and toured with the likes of R.E.M. before breaking up in 1988. But the four-piece band reformed last year, playing two sets at the Coachella Festival in California.
Chances to reunite had previously presented themselves, but, says drummer Danny Benair, there was always something missing.
“It just seemed right,” says Benair by phone from Los Angeles about the reunion for Coachella. “It seemed like the right event, the right opportunity.”
Next up is this month’s Fuji Rock Festival at the Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata Prefecture — a chance for the band to showcase its sound during one of the top events on Japan’s festival circuit.
“This best way I can explain this is that it’s a do-over,” says Benair “The majority of the things we have been doing are things we never did before. We played big events but we never played festivals. So many of these things have been completely different to how our past career was. So it has made it, I guess, a little bit more exciting in a way because of that.”
Extending between July 25 to 27, Fuji Rock will feature headliners Franz Ferdinand and the Arcade Fire on its first two days, while Jack Johnson closes out the festivities on Sunday night. But as in previous years, the extensive lineup — more than 200 artists on 16 stages — spans numerous genres and eras.
The Three O’Clock will hit the Red Marquee stage on Saturday, slotted between The Novembers and The Band Apart. The show will mark the band’s debut in Japan.
“The relationship part seems very much like it was, it doesn’t seem uncomfortable, it doesn’t seem particularly weird,” says Benair of the reunion. “After we got going, it became much easier, we all seemed to be on the same page as far as how we wanted to be as a band.”
After the Coachella shows, The Three O’Clock released the compilation “The Hidden World Revealed,” which focuses on the band’s early material on Frontier Records and includes its most recognizable track, “Her Head’s Revolving.”
The guitar-driven pop tune, highlighted by the high-pitched voice of lead singer Michael Quercio, opens the 1985 album “Arrive Without Travelling.” Three years later, the band released “Vermillion” on Prince’s Paisley Park Records before calling it quits.
“It was just time,” Benair says. “We had done what we needed to do. We made a record we weren’t happy with, and I think it was just easy to walk away.”
For its appearance at Fuji Rock, the band will likely focus on earlier material but with a twist. “Over the (past) year, we’ve sort of been developing the set, working with some samples that we wanted to put in sonically that were things from various records that we weren’t doing live,” says Benair.
But, the drummer assures, the band is taking nothing for granted.
“It is a very big deal for us to try to get it right — being the band we were in ’85, and not forgetting that, and maybe updating it a little bit,” he says.