Three Hour Tour
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Three Hour Tour

Urbana, IL | Established. Jan 01, 1989 | INDIE

Urbana, IL | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1989
Band Alternative Rock


This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Three Hour Tour @ The Accord

Illinois, United States

Illinois, United States

Three Hour Tour @ Brothers Bar & Grill

Champaign, Illinois, United States

Champaign, Illinois, United States



"John Borack's Power Pop Plus, Goldmine Magazine, April 2016"

After a much-too-long five year wait, Illinois power pop kings Three Hour Tour are back with
another honey of a record. Darren Cooper is the man in charge at THT headquarters, handling
all the vocals and instruments except for drums. His way with a melody has always been
unerring and that streak continues here at every turn, especially on the title track (great lead
vocal on this one), the ever-so-slightly country-inflected “Nowhere Bound,” and the Dwight-
Twilley-ish “No Guarantee.” It’s easy to take guys like Cooper for granted since he makes
things look so easy, but by the time you hit the final track, “Shifting Sands” (which features
some uber-cool drumming, courtesy of John Richardson, who’s also manned the kit for Shoes,
Tommy Keene and Gin Blossoms), you’ll be hoping it’s not another five years before Cooper
decides to gift us with a new record. Co-produced by Adam Schmitt, another dude who knows
his way around a killer popsong. Grade: A- - See more at: http://www.goldminemag.
com/blogs/dozen-new-reviews#sthash.hDEUZ26L.dpuf - Goldmine Magazine

"Action and Heroes - 10/29/15"

Has it really been nearly 5 years since we last heard from Darren Cooper (a/k/a Three Hour Tour)? Well, as we scribes like to say, it's been a long time coming (but well worth the wait), but he's back with his heavy friends (Brad Elvis - and his Keith Moon-like drumming which we love so much, Adam Schmitt - we miss you!, and John Richardson) in tow on another (typically) top-shelf collection of power pop! It's the kind of power pop records (stacked high with powerful crunchy guitars) that they just don't make like this very much anymore, folks. "Cooper's a song-smith crafting his tunes with passion and skill (and he's a great guitar player).Vintage power pop, old school style, done with punch and pride. Not to forget powerful melodies strutting with catchiness. No bullshit, no fake make-up, simply stripped elegance." - Looking for what should be ranked as the best pure "power pop" record of the year? Then look no further! This is fact, not hype. We'll take a new Three Hour Tour record anytime! Welcome back Darren! GREAT!!! - Kool Kat Musik - Ray Gianchetti

"Three Hour Tour, Action And Heroes"

Three Hour Tour “Action and Heroes”

It seems like forever since I last heard Darren Cooper’s band Three Hour Tour. Truth is it’s been 5 years and I’m thrilled we have some new music with Action and Heroes. Darren still has Adam Schmitt as his engineer and producer, and Brad Elvis covers the drums. The opener “March of The Fakers” is a heavy with fuzz guitar riffs, war drumming and blistering solos that wouldn’t be out of place on a Foo Fighters or GBV album. Darren crafts a personal statement that’s sure to resonate with music fans. It goes without saying that fans of The Grip Weeds, Myracle Brah or The Well Wishers should get this album immediately.

Overall, the music is high quality power pop, and nearly every track is a compelling listen. “Afterlife” is a classic rocker and the title track is a sing-along anthem, stating “we could use another hero in this world.” The late 70’s arena rock influence (specifically Boston) is strong on the brilliant “Room With A View” and “Tonight.” Darren does get a bit indulgent on the Zepplinesque “No Guarantee,” but my favorite track here is “Somewhere” with its goosebump inducing minor chord structure and hook in the chorus. Highly Recommended and it makes sense to add it to my top ten list for 2015. - Powerpobaholic

"The Top 25 Power Pop Albums of 2015"

1.Reno Bo “Lessons from a Shooting Star”
2.Michael Carpenter “The Big Radio”
3.Tommy Keene “Laugh In The Dark”
4.Three Hour Tour “Action and Heroes”
5.The Turnback “Are We There Yet?”
6.Nick Piunti “Beyond The Static”
7.Ryan Hamilton “Hell Of A Day”
8.The Orange Peels “Begin the Begone”
9. Mooner “Masterpiece”
10. Sam Vicari “Giving Up”
11. Kurt Baker “Play It Cool”
12. The Connection “Labor Of Love”
13. Pop4 “Summer”
14.Michael Sherwood & Christian Nesmith “Groovy Lemon Pie”
15. Ryan Allen & His Extra Arms “Heart String Soul”
16.The Lunar Laugh “Apollo”
17.Fireking “Double Trouble”
18.Adam Levy “Naubinway”
19.Ex-Norwegian “Pure Gold”
20.Elvyn “Valley Of The Kilowatt Hour”
21. Coke Belda “Nummer Zwei”
22. Greg Pope “Fanboy”
23. Love Axe “South Dakota”
24.Yorktown Lads “Songs About Girls and Other Disasters”
25. Late Cambrian “Golden Time” - Powerpopaholic

"Three Hour Tour - Looking For Tomorrow"

Serious powerpoppers will be familiar with the sporadic output of Three Hour Tour, AKA
Darren Cooper, over the last two decades. This, to my knowledge, is their fourth album (if you
count the two singles compilations B Side Oblivion and 1969) and the style and song quality
is just as strong as it ever was.
Ably assisted by fellow Champaign, Illinois pop legend Adam Schmitt, Cooper presents a
heavy but highly melodic powerpop album comprising nine originals and ending with a great
reading of The Who's "Heave And Hell". For those unfamiliar with Cooper's sound, think along
the lines of Dom Mariani's later material circa The Stone Age Hearts as a crude comparison.
"Pig In Disguise", "On Television" and "All Time Low" contain finely carved riffs with
mellifluous vocals and rhythmic melody. Paul Martin - Shindig! January-February 2011

"Not Lame Recordings"

THREE HOUR TOUR - Looking For Tomorrow

Amazing new album from one of the power pop genre`s finest acts, Three Hour Tour. This is classic modern power pop - think lots of Velvet Crush and Matthew Sweet. As great as "B Side Oblivion" was back in 2008, "Looking For Tomorrow" tops it in spades. Darren Cooper, leader of Three Hour Tour, delivers full-throttle. No doubt, Cooper is back and delivers the powerful statement power pop fans long for. You will hear refrains of Myracle Brah`s Andy Bopp, post-Beatles/Badfinger, Velvet Crush and just a insanely refreshing batch of songs all over the 10 tracks here.
Featuring the massive talents of Brad Elvis, Adam Schmitt, John Richardson(Tommy Keene, Gin Blossoms) and Paul Chastain(a band called Velvet Crush); these three names are, come to think of it, all you need to know that this CD ROCKS - huge. No question: One of 2010`s very, very best. Period. No more hyperbole needed, just a fact.

- Bruce Brodeen/Not Lame Recordings

"Jack Rabid Top Ten (see #4)"

14 November 2010
Jack Rabid’s Top Ten — November 14
by Jack Rabid4 Comments and 1 Reaction Share This 1.Bad Religion – TThe Dissent of Man (Epitaph)
They’re so exciting, with backing vocals so continuously thrilling, that one can’t comprehend how something so old (for them) can feel so vibrantly new and exhilarating; so straight from the oven instead of warmed-over microwaved. 2010’s surprise “album of the year,” Dissent is a start-to-finish knockout.
2.The Granite Shore – “Flood of Fortune” single (Occultation U.K.)
Imagine classic ‘60s baroque pop gems, like “Pretty Ballerina,” “Galveston,” and The Zombies “Hung Up on a Dream,” or 15 years later, the windswept romantic beauty of Echo & the Bunnymen’s “The Killing Moon.” “Flood” is flat out fantastic
3.Belle & Sebastian – Write About Love (Matador)
Though not as good as their last two albums, eventually, as weeks pass, one falls prey to the innumerable joys of this multi-instrumentalist baroque pop brigade, as always. I’d take another 10 like it.
4.Three Hour Tour – Looking for Tomorrow (Martian)
If this is power-pop the way it ought to be—meaty, crunchy, sharp, catchy, hard-digging, attacking—consider today’s personnel of Darren Cooper ’s longstanding Champaign-Urbana outfit. He reassembles his crack team, built around his guitars, bass from stalwart solo star/local legend/co-producer Adam Schmitt , and drums split equally between The Romantics ’ Brad Elvis and John Richardson plus another cameo from VVelvet Crush star bassist/frontman Paul Chastain .
5.Killing Joke – Absolute Dissent (UUniversal)
The “absolute” thunder of this original lineup, reunited in full for the first time since 1982’s Revelations , is a wall-plastering, hold-on-to-your-hat cleansing, full-throated beauty a writer can’t express. Absolute’s a stunner.
6.Darker My Love – Alive as You Are (Dangerbird)
Very different kettle of fish on this third LP for the L.A. band. The hard, melodic psych-pop has been traded in for a Buffalo Springfield/ later Action/late ’60s Byrds/Jefferson Airplane/latest ’60s Pretty Things vibe. Still incredible but a large adjustment indeed!
7.The Nils – The Title is the Secret Song (Real Big North CAN) CD + DVD
Though newcomers should start with this incredible Montreal band’s first three releases, 1982’s astounding five-song Now cassette EP, 1985’s Sell Out Young EP, and 1986’s Paisley EP, succinctly compiled on the indispensable 1997 retrospective Green Fields in Daylight (it was in 1986, in fact, The Nils graced our issue 21 cover), this collection of unreleased songs is a good companion piece—especially the early going in the vein of Green Fields ’ high-volume energy! And if that wasn’t enough, The DVD also brings back memories of how hot The Nils were live, on 16 well-filmed, super-intense selections.
8.Joy Formidable – “I Don’t Want to See You Like This” (Canvasback/Atlantic U.K.)
For a song with an atonal chorus of sorts—though its bridge is to die for—the song is an unconventional new classic, pushing pleasure buttons with Ritzy Bryan ’s elevated singing, her guitar’s cavalcade of post-dreampop tones, and the trio’s post-punk sharpness and spectacular drive. TBesides, the a-side can (and should!) be heard on YouTube at will—on a stimulating video to boot! Get ready for what should be a spectacular “Rabid in the Kennel” session upcoming!!!!!! Yes!!!!!!
9.Teenage Fanclub – Shadows (Merge)
These people write songs like McCartney did in his Beatles era. Just effortless magic.
10.Posies – Blood/Candy (Ryko) out Sept. 23!
This Seattle institution can do no wrong, as seen on this new 7th LP and first in five years.
- The Big Takeover

"Absolute Powerpop, Album of the Day Oct 27, 2010"

Absolute Powerpop, Album of the Day Oct 27, 2010
Category: Music
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
CD of the Day, 10/27/10: Three Hour Tour-Looking for Tomorrow

Darren Cooper's Three Hour Tour is back, and thankfully this time we didn't have to wait almost ten years like we did for 2008's B-Side Oblivion. Once again, Cooper enlists Adam Schmitt (who plays bass, co-produced, co-engineered and mastered) and Velvet Crush's Paul Chastain, and once again he's given us one of the year's best power pop albums.

What makes Looking for Tomorrow even better than B-Side Oblivion is Cooper's desire to punch things up a little more. The whole disc sounds loud, and leaps out of your speakers. "Pig in Disguise" is the clarion call here as Cooper "lays (his) cards on the table" with a high-energy rocker which recalls Guided by Voices. "For Now We Say Goodnight" cranks up the amps as well and features some excellent drumming from John Richardson, whose drumming resume reads like a who's who of power pop and Americana. We get a relative chance to catch our breath after that opening 1-2 with "On Television", a more midtempo track with a great chorus and fine guitar work from Cooper. And you won't want to escape from "Alcatraz", possibly the most Beatlesque track on the album, while "All Time Low" is another driving rocker.

Things don't fall off on the back end of the disc either. "All We Need" is a dense, Revolver-sounding winner, while the title track slows things a bit with acoustic guitars you can hear in service of a Badfingeresque anthemic melody. "Dead Reckoning" is outright jangle-rock with 12-string guitars and a Byrdsian melody, and "Gone" rocks as hard as anything else on the album. And in keeping with the spirit of the disc, Cooper closes the proceedings with a cover of the Who's "Heaven and Hell", and when put side-by-side with the rest of the album it could pass as an original for the unfamiliar. Brad Elvis channels Keith Moon on the drums here, and you can almost picture Cooper smashing his guitar at the end. Looking for Tomorrow is one of the year's best, and hopefully Cooper & Company will settle into a new album-every-2-or-3-years cycle, a tomorrow I'll be looking for.

Read more:
- Absolute Powerpop


THREE HOUR TOUR, B SIDE OBLIVION, MARTIAN (2008) It's been too damned long since we have heard new music from this semi-legendary Midwestern power pop outfit,~but Darren Cooper and the crew have arrived with the mighty B Side Oblivion, which is sure to stand tall as one of '08's finest pure pop efforts.~ Co-produced by Adam Schmitt and Cooper (and "inexpensively recorded and engineered by Adam Schmitt in his basement home studio," according to the sleeve notes), BSO is chock full of the sort of hyper-melodic wonderfulness that brings to mind such titans of the genre as Matthew Sweet, Velvet Crush and - reaching even further back - The Byrds. (The marvelous guitar breaks on the title track alone positively reek of McGuinn and Co., circa '66).~ Cooper's tunes are pensive and thoughtful,~but still have the proper instrumental kick (led by an array on spiky, thick guitar sounds, all played by Cooper) to avoid any hint of wimpiness.~ The glorious "Lady Named Caroline" is an immediate classic, but the aforementioned title track, the moody "Be There Soon" and the pretty, longing "A Girl That I Once Knew" ain't far behind.~ Bonus: BSO features the instrumental talents of Schmitt and Velvet Crush's Paul Chastain on bass and percussive assistance from two of the best in the biz: Brad Elvis and Ric Menck.

--John M. Borack [April 19, 2008]


"B Side Oblivion review"

A Very Big Deal For Indie Power Pop Fans!
For power pop fans who have been around awhile, seeing the name Three Hour Tour is probably both exciting and surprising to see here in 2008 as it’s been over 10 years since their last album, 1969, came out. Well, Darren Cooper is back and delivers the powerful statement power pop fans long for. Listen to the tracks and you’ll hear refrains of Myracle Brah’s Andy Bopp(Songs # 3 and 6 below, in particular), post-Beatles/Badfinger(Song #2), Velvet Crush and just a insanely refreshing batch of songs all over the 10 tracks on “B Side Oblivion”.

Featuring the talents of Adam Schmitt(playing and co-producing) and Brad Steakley(Elvis Brothers, Big Hello, Romantics, The Handcuffs) and Paul Chastain(Velvet Crush), the pedigree here is massive! Immaculately crafted and wickedly and blisteringly infectious, Three Hour Tour is something very, very special to start off 2008. EXTREMELY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

- Not Lame Recordings

"New Releases Three Hour Tour"

Three Hour Tour - "B Side Oblivion"
Another welcome return of another Darren (Darrin Robbins of Destroy The Heart is the other)! Originally formed in late 1989 by Darren Cooper, Brad Steakley and Brian Paul, they released two successful singles and two well received CDs on the Parasol label in the 90's. After a rather long hiatus, Darren's been bitten by the pop bug again and has delivered this brand new, brilliant 10-song effort! This time around he's even enlisted help from some upper echelon power poppers like Adam Schmitt on bass guitar. Brad Steakley (long-time THT partner in crime) on drums, Paul Chastain (Velvet Crush, et al) on bass and piano, and Ric Menck (Velvet Crush, et al) on drums! What we've heard so far is typical of the high quality, pure power pop output that THT have been known for in the past! Already a contender for a "Best Of 2008" slot in our opinion! Welcome back Darren! GREAT!!!!
- Kool Kat Music

"Review of "Valentines Day""

THREE HOUR TOUR: "Valentines Day"
By Deborah Orr
Even for a bunch of Midwestern power-pop fanatics, Three Hour Tour are astonishingly retro-accurate, down to the sketch of an old Jaguar XKE on the 45 sleeve. Darren Cooper's vocals zoom up to reedy and plaintive heights which could make Pete Ham of Badfinger rise from his grave and contribute a backing harmony. Along with its almost syrupy, lovesick melody, "Valentines Day" could be an outtake from Badfinger's Straight Up, with a little Cheap Trick balladry, Dream Police-era, tossed in for good measure.

"Song of the Day, "Valentines Day""

Sunday, February 13, 2005
Song Of the Day: February 14, 2005

Three Hour Tour-Valentine's Day

Parasol Records 45, 1991

I couldn't pass up a chance to be timely AND present you with a favorite 45 from the talented Darren Cooper at the same time, so here's the Parasol Records debut of Three Hour Tour, a nice blend of the Beatles and Cheap Trick that was very popular with the other guys in my old band, the Wilmas. Another 7", two full length CDs, and several compilation appearances followed. Mr. Cooper has recently been spotted helping out his friends The Velvet Crush. By the way, I'm not sure about the date on this; it's a guess based on who I was hanging out with and what other records came out at about the same time. For some reason there is no date on many of the early Parasol singles.

posted by Jon Harrison at 7:33 PM

- Little Hits

"Three Hour Tour "Next Time""

Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Three Hour Tour "Next Time"

One of the earlier Parasol signings alluded to in yesterday’s post who got quite a bit of stereo-time over the weekend was Darren Cooper’s Three Hour Tour, who put out a couple of singles and albums for Parasol in the early 90s. The usual array of 60s pop influences and Rasberries/Cheap Trick-isms found along with contemporary comparisons to Velvet Crush and the Posies make just about everything this band committed to disc worth owning.

This was their second single that showed up shortly after the debut 45”, "Valentines Day," a song that actually was being considered for use in tomorrow’s post but I think I like this one just a little bit better. This one later showed - Poor Ditching Boy

"Three Hour Tour 1969"

Album: 1969
Artist: Three Hour Tour
Genre: Rock/Pop

Three Hour Tour is an Champaign, IL-based power pop band led by the multi-talented Darren Cooper, a veteran of many pop bands including the '80s power pop group Choo Choo Train (which featured Ric Menck (drums, vocals) and Paul Chastain (guitar, bass, vocals), who later were members of Velvet... [+] Expand

4 1/2 Stars,

Three Hour Tour is an Champaign, IL-based power pop band led by the multi-talented Darren Cooper, a veteran of many pop bands including the '80s power pop group Choo Choo Train (which featured Ric Menck (drums, vocals) and Paul Chastain (guitar, bass, vocals), who later were members of Velvet Crush). Brad Steakley (aka Brad Elvis, from the Elvis Brothers) played drums for the band; he's now a member of the Chicago-based Big Hello. Like all of the aforementioned groups, Three Hour Tour heavily emphasized and pretty much stuck to the three-minute jangle rock format, emulating the familiar punch of '60s and '70s bands like Badfinger, the Beatles, and the Raspberries, as well as more recent bands like the Posies. In 1996, Parasol compiled 1969, a nine-song collection gathering two Parasol singles, a rare Christmas track (the unlisted tenth track), and "Love Sick Trip," which appeared on Yellow Pills, Vol. 1: The Best of American Pop. Velvet Crush member Chastain also co-wrote one of the songs featured here. ~ Bryan Thomas, All Music Guide [-] Collapse

- All Music Guide

"CD of the day 2/14/08, 2008"

Thursday, February 14, 2008
CD of the Day, 2/14/08: Three Hour Tour-B Side Oblivion

Now here's a blast from the past. Darren Cooper and Three Hour Tour have actually been around since 1989, but have been dormant for the last 10 years (stuck on Gilligan's Island, perhaps?). So it was a nice treat to see them release B Side Oblivion early this year. Despite the title, this isn't a collection of B-sides, rarities, etc. - it's 10 new power-poppin' tracks.

Cooper really enlisted the help here - Adam Schmitt plays bass, and Velvet Crush's Paul Chastain and Ric Menck add bass and drums, respectively. If you're a fan of Schmitt or Velvet Crush (or a fan of quality power pop at all), this one's a must-get. "I Wanted You Around" has just the right measure of guitar crunch and melody that reminds me you why power pop is your favorite genre; "A Girl That I Once Knew" is the kind of midtempo track you'd get if you combined Badfinger and Eric Carmen; the slide guitar that propels "Lonely Place" along is worth the price of admission; the title track recalls Tom Petty's Wilbury-era stuff; and "Easter Basket Grass", while likely being the first song ever to mention the product, is also a great rocker. It continues to get easier and easier to come up with an early Best-of-2008 list.

Kool Kat | Not Lame | MySpace

Posted by Steve at 12:06 PM
Labels: Three Hour Tour
- Absolute Powerpop

"Skinny Tie Heaven! RBP Power Pop Top 100"

Tarnished Silver Screen - Three Hour Tour, from Three Hour Tour (Parasol, 1994)
Formed from the ashes of almost-PP band the Choo Choo Trains, Illinois Three Hour Tour write nice loose, songs. Here, for instance, there's some cool Ringo-drumming, buzzsaw guitars just the right side of Punk Pop, and a melodic vocal sung with throaty passion. Probably the best PP song about a girl's descent into porn since J Geils Band's Centerfold: "Your mother and your father live in shame cos of you/But at least you didn't use the name they gave you". They also had the impeccable taste to include a cover of another PP classic, Slade's When The Lights Are Out.
- Rock Backpages, Aug 2001

"Three Hour Tour Live at The Highdive, Champaign"

Notes from the Candy Aisle: Three Hour Tour and The Redwalls
Posted to Music / Reviews by William Gillespie and C.D. Scoggins
Monday, April 21, 2008 10:00 AM

[The Highdive, Saturday, April 19]

Cristy: Power pop—the candy aisle of rock. You got your classic Hershey’s chocolate (Big Star); tangy Smarties (Weezer); and sparkly gold Werthers caramel (Matthew Sweet). If you're a power pop fan, Three Hour Tour and The Redwalls are pure sugary confections.

William: Three Hour Tour, in a spirited bullshit-free performance, delivered catchy songs with brevity, precision, harmonies and unexpected changes, including but not dominated by guitar solos.

C: They reminded me of every power pop band I love: Material Issue. Sloan. The Plimsouls. That was just dandy with me. What the hell's not to like about saccharine lyrics about love, crunchy rhythm guitars, sing-along melodies, and crisp solos? I mean, just before the show I read an interview with the frontman of an “alternative drone” band. He declared that he hated The Beatles — that they'd basically ruined music for everybody. These are the same jealous people who hate puppies and the sun.

Three Hour Tour's lead singer and songwriter, Darren Cooper, reminded me of Guided by Voices' Robert Pollard. He and the rest of the band — bassist Paul Chastain, guitarist Kent Whitesell and drummer John Richardson — looked like they were having a blast onstage.

W: They did, but not in an indulgent way. The song structures seemed to challenge them but be satisfying to pull off. After 20 minutes the claws came out, and the rock became more fierce and uncomfortable.

C: The mostly minor-key "What Made You Change" opens with bombastic drums reminiscent of the "Strawberry Fields Forever" fadeout and continues with the best of minor-key Beatles moments: "I Want You (She's So Heavy)," "Dig a Pony," and the Lennon solo song "(I Know) I'm Losing You." Good stuff.

The sixth song stood out; I think it contained the words "the devil you know." It reminded me of a hot summer day circa 1981, riding in a Ford Granada with the windows down.

W: It’s too true. The music was well-composed, but I couldn’t tell what the songs were about. Though I recognize that songs don't always have to be "about," it is a writerly preoccupation of mine. Simple fragments disconnected from any overall vector of meaning drifted out of the P.A. It seemed that only obvious phrases were intelligible (“There’s so much more”), and that more interesting lyrics would be absorbed by the sound that propelled them. I suppose this will always be a problem with amplified rock shows.

C: The biggest treat was Three Hour Tour's last song. You’d think a power pop band would pay homage to their forefathers — maybe a Cheap Trick b-side — but the band veered into early '70s glam rock with a kick-ass rendition of Brian Eno's "Needles in the Camel's Eye." I was thrilled.

W: This ultimate, explosive show-stopping cover did indeed kick my ass. Through the lens of this tune I saw clearly the contours of the Three Hour Tour. Power-pop: virtuosity without sheen, accessible but not servile. A rock solid foundation upon which to build a body of work.

- Music/Reviews by William Gillespie and C.D. Scoggins

"Check Out Three Hour Tour's Action And Heroes"

Three Hour Tour is one of those rare bands that manages to both mine a particular moment in cultural memory as well as make new and individual statements with their music. Pirating the high seas under a power pop flag, and fending off same-name trespassers (trademark your band name, kids) they’ve put out some fresh and individual music with killer hooks and an irresistible guitar-forward sound. Previous albums like Looking For Tomorrow and B Side Oblivion have presented some of the most solid pop rock tracks from any band, at any time, and they’ve managed to stay true to their core identity on Action And Heroes – all of which is admirable.

Action And Heroes sees Darren, Brad and the boys in a more relaxed and patient space, perhaps because it’s been five years since their last album came out. The focus here is on the jam and the rhyme, and their signature poppy take on music has mellowed a bit. The pressure and the energy of past albums has been stretched out, allowing for a more thorough examination of ideas and phrases. With time comes wisdom and the pacing of Action And Heroes allows for each chord and idea to resonate and really seep in, while the band keeps the same vibe and personality as their other albums. If you’re looking for a retro-fresh pop band with skills and style, Three Hour Tour is it.

Here at RUST Magazine we’ve been fans of Three Hour Tour since day one and they’re one of those bands that succeeds through hard-earned talent and individuality. If you don’t know about Three Hour Tour yet, Action And Heroes will make for a great introduction, check it out!

Eric Petersen - Rust Magazine

"Three Hour Tour: Action And Heroes"

Three Hour Tour
Action and Heroes
(Martian Records)

Holy Moly, this is the album I’ve wanted to hear for quite some time. The internationally acclaimed power popsters Three Hour Tour (THT)

Fronted by mastermind Darren Cooper, ‘Action and Heroes’ once again pulls together his partnership with Adam Schmitt and drummers Brad Elvis and John Richardson. Cooper, the primary songwriter, also tackles the vocals, guitars, bass, percussion, piano and organ. He also co-produced the album with Schmitt.

There’s a lot going on with this album, all good. The 11 tracks are all fairly new, written since the last release, with the exception of “Somewhere,” which dates back to 1986 when Cooper was in the Housepets. Still, all flow nicely and cohesively. There seems to be a thread of jaded optimism running through the lyrics, and it couples nicely with the minor-ish/mid-tempo music … almost as if the protagonist is fed up with the current state of affairs and looking back to a comfort zone just knowing that there’s still capacity to bring it all back. And I wondered, am I even close to being on base? So I asked.

“I think you may have something there,” Coop said. “Adam and I were discussing how much bad music, or non-music there is these days. Kids just grabbing samples from garage band and throwing them together. Instant song!”

Amen to that, brother.

Whereas THT are known for delivering the power pop goods, ‘Actions and Heroes’ seemingly has more of a classic rock influence, which is completely fine by me. The performances are phenomenal and Cooper’s guitar playing remains top notch. In this day and age of processed pop it is refreshing to hear honest to goodness rock music recorded by someone who’s well versed in his craft.

“This album probably reflects my early influences more accurately than my earlier albums,” Coop acknowledged, pulling from a personal playlist of everyone from the Beatles to Badfinger to The Who to The Kinks to early Blue Oyster Cult to The Dictators to original Alice Cooper to Bowie to Mott the Hoople and more. “I ripped a lick or two from most of my heroes on this one. The album may be more personal to me than the previous ones mostly due to the fact that I tracked all of the guitars at home, alone. The performances were ‘in the moment.’ Looking back, it all seems like a blur. I listened back to some of the solos and thought, ‘how the hell did I do that?’ I need to figure out what I played on some of those lead parts, etc.”

Paul Barrel - Innocent Words

"Three Hour Tour - Action And Heroes"

The first release from power pop band Three Hour Tour since 2010's Looking For Tomorrow finds vocalist-guitarist Darren Cooper once again doing just about everything, with help from three highly regarded Illinois-based musicians. Adam Schmitt co-produced Action And Heroes with Cooper, and plays keyboards; drummer Brad Elvis appears on nine tracks; and John L. Richardson drums on the other two. Cooper continues his penchant for setting cryptic lyrics to fetching melodies; bouncing from songs about relationships to ones exploring social issues.

The satirical title track skewers the marketing behind modern heroes and trends ("We could use a little vision in this life"), while on the hard-hitting "March Of The Fakers," Cooper notes, "We long to know but we're never told the truth." Brad Elvis channels his own hero Keith Moon on the energetic "Afterlife," and Cooper adds some hard rock guitar toward the end of the otherwise 1960s flavored "No Guarantee." The slower "Somewhere" has a hint of glam, and there's a nod to Revolver era Beatles on "Alameda." The best track here is "Nowhere Bound," a wistful look back at a relationship that employs an irresistible melody along with an appealing blend of electric and acoustic guitars. - Broken Hearted Toy

"Jack Rabid's Best of 2015 list: Top 100 LPs (new recordings), Top 50 Retrospective/Reissue releases, and Top 30 stand alone singles and EPs"

Hi folks!
Since I have now completed my two countdown radio shows for the Top 50 albums of 2015 — see the Big Takeover “Radio” button above to hear one song from each — here is my complete list of the 100 best albums, 50 best archive/retrospective/reissue releases, and 30 best stand alone singles and EPs of this previous year. My best bets on another great year for music, old and new. (Never mind the cranks, here’s the good stuff as ever.) Plus several “honorable mentions” that barely missed out. Hope this little list inspires you to find, or give a second look too, a few cool releases you might miss otherwise that you end up truly loving. Otherwise, lists are for time-wasting. Not my bag. But as I listened to all of these a great deal this year, perhaps you might like some of them, or will be glad to see them recognized if you are already enjoying them.

Cheers to you all and happy new year.

Jack Rabid’s picks, 2015’s 100 Best Albums (new recordings)

1 Royal Headache – High (What’s Your Rupture?)
2 Swervedriver – I Wasn’t Born to Lose You (Cobraside)
3 Don McGlashan – Lucky Stars (Don McGlashan)
4 The Chills – Silver Bullets (Fire)
5 Wire – Wire (Pink Flag)
6 The Decemberists – What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World (Capitol)
7 Robert Pollard – Faulty Superheroes (GBV Inc./Fire)
8 The Granite Shore – Once More From the Top (Occultation U.K.)
9 The Shifting Sands – Cosmic Radio Station (Fishrider NZ/Occultation U.K.
10 Whitehorse – Leave No Bridge Unturned (Six Shooter)
11 Sam Vicari – Giving Up (Sip City)
12 Lou Barlow – Brace the Wave (Joyful Noise)
13 Three Hour Tour – Action and Heroes (Martian)
14 Cheatahs – Mythologies (Witchita)
15 Triptides – Azur (Croque Macadam/Requiem Pour Un Twister)
16 Paul Smith & The Imitations – Contradictions (Billingham U.K.)
17 The Black Watch – Highs & Lows (Pop Culture Press)
18 The Urinals – Next Year at Marienbad (Happy Squid)
19 Martin Newell – Teatime Assortment (Captured Tracks)
20 The Twerps – Range Anxiety (Merge)
21 Belle & Sebastian – Girls In Peacetime Want to Dance (Matador)
22 Robert Forster – Songs to Play (Tapete)
23 Whyte Horses – Pop or Not (Not On Label)
24 The Popguns – Pop Fiction (Matinee)
25 Killing Joke – Pylon (Spinefarm)
26 Roger Lion – Roger Lion (Team Love)
27 La Luz – Weirdo Shrine (Hardly Art)
28 EZTV – Calling Out (Captured Tracks)
29 Donovan’s Brain – Heirloom Varieties (Career)
30 D.O.A. – Hard Rain Falling (Sudden Death CAN)
31 Ron Sexsmith – Carousel One (Cooking Vinyl)
32 Astrid Williamson – We Go to Dream (One Little Indian UK)
33 Co-Pilgrim – Slows to Go (Battle Worldwide U.K.)
34 Nada Surf – Live at the Neptune Theater, Seattle, March 24, 2012 (Mardev)
35 Death Cab For Cutie – Kintsugi (Atlantic)
36 Idlewild – Everything Ever Written (Empty Words U.K.)
37 The Shondikes – Psychotic Make Out Music (The Shondikes)
38 Salad Boys – Metalmania (Trouble In Mind)
39 No Joy – More Faithful (Mexican Summer)
40 Ultimate Painting – Green Lanes (Trouble In Mind)
41 Dråpe – Relax/Relapse (Riot Factory)
42 Totally Mild – Down Time (Bedroom Suck/Fire)
43 John Howard & The Night Mail – John Howard & the Night Mail (Tapete GER)
44 Christopher Paul Stelling – Labor Against Waste (Anti-)
45 Pointed Sticks – Pointed Sticks (Northern Electric/Sudden Death CAN)
46 Pins – Wild Nights (Bella Union)
47 The Monochrome Set – Spaces Everywhere (Tapete GER)
48 The Nils – Shadows and Ghosts (Cobraside)
49 Dot Dash – Earthquakes & Tidal Waves (The Beautiful Music CAN)
50 Day Ravies – Liminal Zones (Strange Pursuits/Sonic Masala)
51 Miranda Lee Richards – Echoes of the Dreamtime (Invisible Hands U.K.)
52 Novella – Land (Sinderlyn)
53 Pugwash – Play This Intimately (As If Among Friends) (Omnivore)
54 Nap Eyes – Whine of the Mystic (Paradise Of Bachelors)
55 Chatham Rise And Thelightshines – We Are the Sun (Split Album) (Picture In My Ear)
56 The Furious Seasons – My Love Is Strong (Stonegarden)
57 Beach House – Depression Cherry (Sub Pop)
58 Adolescents – La Vendetta… e un Piatto Va Servitor Freddo (Frontier)
59 Wilco – Star Wars (Dbpm)
60 The Lovely Intangibles – Tomorrow Is Never (The Lovely Intangibles)
61 Daniel Wylie’s Cosmic Rough Riders – Chrome Cassettes (Daniel Wylie)
62 Stay – The Mean Solar Times (Picture In My Ear)
63 Jello Biafra & The New Orleans Raunch and Soul All-Stars – Walk On Jindal’s Splinters (Live) (Alternative Tentacles)
64 Ash – Kablammo! (Earmusic)
65 Tim Lee 3 – 33 1/3 (Cool Dog Sound)
66 Strawberry Whiplash –Stuck In The Never Ending Now (Matinee)
67 The New Dylans – Meta (Caveat Emptor/Morphius)
68 N. Lannon – Falling Inside (Badman)
69 The Junior League – Also Rans (Greenleaves Sound)
70 Mike Gale – Finger Bone From Swan Wing (Battle Worldwide U.K.)
71 17 Pygmies – Isabel Ii (Abaddon Rising) (Trakwerx)
72 Pete Astor – Spilt Milk (Slumberland)
73 Low – Ones and Sixes (Sub Pop)
74 Penetration – Resolution (Polestar U.K.)
75 Inventions – Maze Of Woods / Blanket Waves (Temporary Residence)
76 Mercury Rev – The Light in You (Bella Union / PIAS)
77 Girls Names – Arms Around a Vision (Tough Love)
78 Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Style (Matador)
79 The Soulphonics – Heart Full Of Soulphonics (Scratched)
80 Latvian Radio – Until Tomorrow Gets in the Way (Bellpid)
81 Various Artists – Static Waves 4 (Saint Marie)
82 Ransom & The Subset – No Time to Lose (Ransom & The Subset)
83 Andrew Wasylyk – Soroky (Empty Words U.K.)
84 New Candys – New Candys As Medicine (Picture In My Ear)
85 Sad Magazine – Sad Magazine (Sad Magazine)
86 Mammoth Penguins – Hide and Seek (Fortuna Pop!)
87 Tamaryn – Cranekiss (Mexican Summer)
88 Neil Young + Promise Of The Real – The Monsanto Years (Reprise/WEA)
89 Promised Land Sound – For Use and Delight (Paradise Of Bachelors)
90 Static Daydream – Static Daydream (Saint Marie)
91 Lanterna – Backyards (Jemez Mountain / Badman / Independent Project)
92 Red-Sided Garter Snakes – Endless Sea (Blue Apple U.K.)
93 Great Northern – Tremors (Great Northern)
94 Kurt Vile – B’lieve I’m Going’ Down (Matador)
95 Johnny Marr – Playland (Warners/ADA)
96 Tommy Keene – Laugh in the Dark (Second Motion)
97 Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard – Django And Jimmie (Sony/Legacy)
98 Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty)
99 Joanna Gruesome – Peanut Butter (Slumberland)
100 The Orange Peels – Begin the Begone (Mystery Lawn/Minty Fresh) - Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover


2015 Oct 29th:  Action And Heroes, Martian

1. March of the Fakers, D. Cooper

2. Afterlife, D. Cooper

3. No Guarantee, D. Cooper

4. Action And Heroes, D. Cooper

5. Room With A View, D. Cooper

6. Tonight, D. Cooper K. Glosser

7. Nowhere Bound, D. Cooper

8. Somewhere, D. Cooper

9. Alameda, D. Cooper

10. Gypsy Girl, D. Cooper

11. Shifting Sands, D. Cooper

2010 Oct 21st: Looking For Tomorrow, Martian

1. Pig In Disguise, D. Cooper

2. For Now We Say Goodnight, D. Cooper

3. On Television, D. Cooper K. Glosser A. Schmitt

4. Alcatraz, D. Cooper

5. All Time Low, D. Cooper

6. All We Need, D. Cooper

7. Looking For Tomorrow, D. Cooper

8. Dead Reckoning, D. Cooper

9. Gone, D. Cooper

10. Heaven And Hell, J. Entwistle

2006 (download) 2008:  B Side Oblivion, Martian

1. I Wanted You Around, D. Cooper

2. A Girl That I Once Knew, D. Cooper

3. Lonely Place, D. Cooper

4. Lady Named Caroline, D. Cooper

5. Be There Soon, D. Cooper

6. B Side Oblivion, D. Cooper

7. Road Less Traveled, D. Cooper

8. Easter Basket Grass, D. Cooper

9. Her Shadow, D. Cooper

10. What Made You Change, D. Cooper

1996, "1969 Revisited" Parasol (CD) Martian (download)

1. Next Time, D. Cooper

2. Valentines Day, D. Cooper K. Glosser

3. What Kind of Kiss, D. Cooper K. Glosser

4. Turn Down, D. Cooper

5. If You Were Here, D. Cooper

6. Love Sick Trip, D. Cooper K. Glosser

7. King of the Mountain, D. Cooper

8. Prancing Horse Farms, D. Cooper

9. Devil You Know, D. Cooper

10. Peace On You, D. Cooper

1994, Three Hour Tour: Parasol (CD) Martian (download)

1. Tarnished Silver Screen, D. Cooper

2. So Much More, D. Cooper

3. Obvious Oblivious, D. Cooper

4. So Tonight, D. Cooper

5. Easy Come Easy Go, B. Elvis

6. Why Do We Fall, B. Sindler

7. Today Will Be Yesterday, B. Elvis.

9. Home Again, D. Cooper

1991: Single, Next Time: Parasol

Side One

Next Time, D. Cooper

Side Two

Prancing Horse Farms, D. Cooper

King of the Mountain, D. Cooper

1990: Single, Parasol

Side One

Valentines Day, D. Cooper K. Glosser

Side Two

Turn Down, D. Cooper

If You Were Here, D. Cooper



Three Hour Tour is a Midwestern Power-Pop/Rock group, from the Champaign/Urbana IL area.  They were formed in late 89, by Darren Cooper, drummer Brad "Elvis" Steakley and Chicago artist/bass player/singer Brian Paul.  In 1990, Cooper was approached by Parasol Records. With the help of Parasol and the late, great, BBC-1 Broadcaster, John Peel, they made a splash with their infectious singles, "Valentines Day" and "Next Time". Two well received full length CDs, again on the Parasol label, followed. Their last Parasol release, "1969" earned a number four spot in a Mojo Magazine, Virgin Megastore compiled list, of the "10 Best Pop CDs released in 1996"!

 In the years that followed, personal issues kept Three Hour Tour on the back burner, but Cooper was still writing songs. (More than enough for the next three or four CDs) 

2008 saw the rebirth of Three Hour Tour with the release of "B Side Oblivion" on Martian Records. Followed by 2010's "Looking For Tomorrow" and 2015's "Action And Heroes".  All Three full length albums received high critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic.  Shindig, The Big Take-Over, Goldmine, Dig This Real, Powerpopaholic, Kool Kat Musik, Innocent Words, All Music, Absolute Powerpop, Not Lame, Yellow Pills and many more, all gave Three Hour Tour's Martian releases rave reviews, as well as many "top ten" and "best of" lists. See "Press".

Now THT is back with a great new line up and great new music.  

With a new album in the works, THT is happy to announce their new, yet not so new lineup, with Kent Whitesell on guitar and backing vocals (Kent has been involved with Three Hour Tour since he first recorded Valentines Day in 1990), Chris Courtney on bass and Terry Wathen on drums. You may remember Terry as Ralph Covert's, Bad Examples, excellent drummer.  

Band Members