Colleen Ann Fitzpatrick (her friends call her “C”) was born on the 20th July 1972, in Old Bridge, New Jersey. Colleen is the youngest of three children, Her father is a communications-executive and her mother is a legal secretary. For those of you wondering, “My natural hair colour is blondish, brownish, reddish. I have always been dying my hair as long as I have lived. I have been every single colour. Hair is a good accessory. It will always grow back, you can't screw it up too badly” ;-) When she was just 7 years old she started dance lessons to correct her feet because she had “pigeon toes”. She ended up loving dancing, and by the age of 13 she was dancing professionally. She began to write songs and poetry at the age of 16, saying “I actually wanted to write songs more than I wanted to sing because I felt like I had something to say. I used to get all these pent up emotions and I didn't know what to do with them, so I wrote poems. Music was really important to me, like when I had crushes on guys or was doing bad in school, and music meant so much to me that I wanted to express myself through music.” She learned how to play the guitar and the piano. Her first song was written when she was annoyed at her parents for punishing her unfairly. Today, she can play a bit of the bass, the drums, guitar and piano, although she says it’s just “enough to write”.She joined a lot of rock bands, but none of them lasted. “It’s funny, but I always found no matter what band I was in, even if it had a slightly more frayed edge to it, I was drawn to the more tongue in cheek elements, but it always had to have that edge." Colleen appeared in John Waters highly acclaimed film, Hairspray. They wanted a dancer, and Colleen was happy to oblige! Funnily enough, Colleen’s mother in the film is Deborah Harry who fronts the band Blondie. And who, later on, Colleen is most compared to!
In 1991, Colleen was studying at NYU. She happened to share a class with Michael Kotch. “He knew who I was, but I didn’t know him. I sat two rows in front of him. He cheated off me”. Several months later, Michael and his twin brother, Ben, put an ad in the Village Voice in search of a female vocalist and a bass player for their band. Michael was a bit put out when Colleen showed up at the audition, “He didn’t like me” she says, “but, Ben, he liked me”. So, she was in the band. She became not only the singer, but also the main lyricist. They decided to call themselves Eve’s Plum… maybe after the Brady Bunch actress, Eve Plum! After ages of searching, they found a bass player, Christopher Giammalvo. They started writing material, and toured the East Coast of America for a year. They then got a recording contract with Sony Records. In 1993, the band released their first single, Blue. Blue appeared on an episode of Beavis and Butthead, and although it was mocked by the stupid tv show :-P it opened Eve’s Plum up to a lot of people. They then released their debut [and very excellent!] album, Envy. At this point Christopher left the band. The band went on tour with Eleven, to support the release of the album. They went on touring America. They then released two singles from Envy [though not at the same time, obviously], I Want It All and Die Like Someone. I Want It All went into heavy rotation on a lot of radio stations. All the singles had videos, that were shown on MTV. [yes, back then MTV played music that people wanted, not what record company bosses wanted L].
While playing a few shows in New York city, they met Theo Mack. Theo played the bass, and within 6 months he had joined the band! They then went back on tour with Dig and tripping Daisy. In April 1994, they appeared in the film Higher Learning. They performed a song called Eye, when the band leaves the stage in the film the crowd get violent! Eye appeared on the soundtrack to Higher Learning. Around this time, the band record a live EP, called I want it all ALIVE. It featured a hard and fast version of Gloria Gaynor’s hit “I Will Survive”. The EP was released by the record company as a promo cd. Their cover of I Will Survive became quite famous! They also recorded another cover of another huge disco hit: If I Can’t Have You, that’s right… the one Yvonne Elliman sang on Saturday Night Fever! It appears on Spirit Of ’73, Rock For Choice compilation album.
In 1995, they headed off to New York’s infamous Studio 54… to record their second album, Cherry Alive. After two months the band had recorded it [which is surprising giving the difference in all the songs, and how complex they all are]. The first single released from the amazingly under-rated masterpiece was Jesus Loves You (not as much as I do). It had a funny, quirky video for it. It was only released on record to members of the fan club. Wishing The Day Away and Cherry Alive (song, not album) were released as a promo to radio. They went on tour again to promote Cherry Alive.
It was now the summer of 96 and Eve's Plum went back to their home in NYC to start writing for their new album. They wrote a few new songs and came out and did a show in Albany. This was recorded, and is sold as “Eve’s Plum, Live in Albany”. It is very rare. In August 19996, Sony dropped Eve’s Plum. They gave them some crap about not getting a return on all the money they invested .ie. they weren’t selling enough cd’s. Sony obviously failed to realise that they gave Cherry Alive no promotion! The band were unhappy with the way Sony had handled the release of Cherry Alive, and seemed happy to leave the deal.
Here’s what Theo said: “They loved us but it wasn't working out financially. They felt they had invested a lot and were not seeing a return in the near future. They knew we had, and still have lots of die hard fans. This was a difficult time. Our attorney thought it wasn't worth shopping for a deal at another label. Because of our sales.”
Here’s what Colleen said: “we miss all of our loyal fans (you know who you are), and the way that things fell apart wasn't what we would have chosen, but... actually, as far as what Theo said, it was mostly accurate except that our attorney had no role in what went on, and that yeah, finances were an issue but we were really unhappy with what Sony did for Cherry Alive, which was basically nothing, and our manager was not helping us at all, then Benjy decided he wasn't into to touring, and these things built up and whatever”.
Things then basically fell apart and they started doing their own things. Theo became a sound manager. As far as I know, he still does this for other band’s tours. Ben started to play with a band called "World Infero Friendship Society”, and then went on tour with them around Europe. I have no idea if they’re still together. Michael started playing the guitar for a band called Ruth Ruth, who later changer their name to AfterLife, and then back again! He has played on at least two of their albums.That band have since split up. Colleen started to work on a few demo songs with a few people in July 1998. In 1998, the band met up and recorded Save A Prayer, for the Duran Duran Tribute Album.
Colleen had attracted the attention of Elektra Records with her demos, and they signed a “demo deal” in October1998. She travelled and made music and Elektra would see if they were interested in where the project was heading. Elektra loved what Colleen was making and signed her properly in 1999. She began the Vitamin C Project; she would perform under the name “Vitamin C”. Critics that had savagely attacked the two Eve’s Plum albums began calling her a sell out for not sticking with Eve’s Plum. Colleen didn’t mind the bit of bad attention, she says “It's not as if I went from hardcore punk to four-on-the-floor dance music. I always considered the songs I've written to be intelligent pop songs and perhaps just the production that varies but it's still very much the same voice.” “I decided that instead of replacing members of Eve's Plum and keeping it going against some internal and external odds, I would continue doing music, but do it by myself , but it took me a little while because I wasn't sure I was really ready emotionally and mentally to jump back into the fire immediately.” People wondered about the “sudden” change in her musical style, Colleen bit back saying “I don't think the music is all that different, actually. It is produced and presented in a different way. I don't favour one type of music over another. I like music that is melodic, so I like what I am doing now. I haven't abandoned guitars, I am just a little less angry than I was then. I am still proud of Eve's Plum, and I think they could be Vitamin C songs, and some Vitamin C songs could be Eve's Plum songs. I really like this one, it is the best one of all.” While some people attacked her for the Vitamin C project, they failed to realise that the whole band were doing different things, it only happened that Colleen’s was more high profile.
She says Vitamin C is like a character and an extension of her more extreme personality traits, and says the real life Colleen is shyer than Vitamin C. She says making the first album was an “evolving process”, where she would travel around and write with different people. She recorded her solo debut Vitamin C in Tennessee and LA, working mainly with producer Josh Deutsch. She also worked with Michael Kotch! They co-wrote Not That Kind Of Girl, and Michael is credited on some other songs. In 1999, Colleen began promoting the Vitamin C project. Already one of her tracks, Graduation, was been played on the radio when the album wasn’t even finished! The first single released was Smile, she describes it as a “grin-and-bear it” kind of song, but it was seen mainly as an optimistic happy track. Smile reached no.16 on the America’s Billboard top 100! Then the album was released and after a while reached no.29, and later was certified platinum. Then she released Me, Myself and I, which contains a sample of a Santana guitar rift. Me, Myself and I peaked at no.23. An ad for Hershey Chocolate had Smile playing in it. Eve’s Plum fans screamed “sell out!”. It was great for Colleen, and gave her a lot of exposure. NBC started using Smile for all their ads to advertise the start of their new season. A series called Cold Feet used it as their theme song!
All this led up to something that shocked most Eve’s Plum fans, Colleen became an It Girl .ie. all over the radio there was Vitamin C, all over TV there was Vitamin C, in every magazine there was Vitamin C, she even had a question dedicated to her on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire!! Everyone wanted to know who this girl with crazy yellow and orange hair and sexy songs was! She then released Graduation [friends forever]. It reached number 4 on the Billboard Top 100 singles… it stayed in the charts for MONTHS!!!! It was huge, all over the radio…. No one could get away from it. It became every High School’s prom song… it was in TRL’s top 10 for ages. A bit of a media frenzy ensued; Mattel put a Barbie Doll of Vitamin C into production [it had removable dye-able hair], and Tommy Hillfiger put a special shade if Lipstick called Vitamin C into production. Graduation took Colleen’s music out of America; Graduation was a hit in Ireland (reaching no.3, and being one of the biggest songs of the year and was certified platinum), Canada, France and all over Europe, and later in Australia. Colleen’s Vitamin C album was not released worldwide, but was a success in America.
She then landed a huge movie deal; to star in a Wes Craven remake of Dracula. She agreed, and then spent almost a year working on Dracula 2000 in Toronto. She played Dracula’s daughter’s best friend, Lucy. She says "I'm a good girl that kind of goes bad.” Lucy falls in love with Dracula, like every other woman in the movie, and it all leads to an unusual floating love scene…! Colleen appears topless in the film. They stopped filming in about October. During filming Colleen was writing her new album. At one stage she was so busy she actually had to phone in some vocals!!! This wasn’t VC’s first acting role, she previously starred in Da Hip-Hop Witch, L.A Johns, High School High, Passion, Whipping Boy, Crinoline Head, The Mambo Kings (1992), as a lawyer in Liar Liar, Just Cause, Higher Learning and Naked Gun 2˝ , and had a lead role in Hairspray (released in 1988) along side Riki Lake and Sonny and Cher and Deborah Harry. She said those roles were really just to get paid, she filmed them during the break between Eve’s Plum and Vitamin C… when all the band was short of money. When filming Dracula, she wrote and recorded a song called Vacation for the best-selling soundtrack to the Pokemon movie.
When Dracula 2000 was released in November 2000, there was a good bit of publicity about it, and it grossed about $20 Million in the USA! About this time, Colleen was preparing to release her new album and single. The new single was called The Itch. The new album was to be called More. When all this was happening, Graduation exploded into Australia. The More album was released there [ahead of the rest of the world] featuring Graduation and Smile. She then released The Itch, which was a big hit. In America, the sexy video for The Itch was premiered on TRL. It entered the singles charts and climbed for weeks and peaked at an impressive #13 on the Billboard Chart. The More album was released, it only managed to get to #122 on the album charts… but that was good considering there was only one single pushing it. More saw Colleen move in a different direction, the sound was a lot sexier and harder. She wanted it to be “a little bit more diverse in some respects, but, hopefully, at the same time, a little bit more cohesive sonically." She also wanted it to be a more “tougher and more groove-based version of Vitamin C”. On it she worked with Jimmy Harry again and with people who have worked with Madonna and Kylie Minouge.
Michael again worked with Colleen, they co-wrote one of the albums standout tracks, She Talks About Love (which Michael produced!), and he plays the guitar on a lot of the songs. The album was overlooked, in the same way as Cherry Alive. It was a brilliant album and deserved to have been huge. A large number of critics realised how different the album was and praised her as being the new Madonna (one of C’s idols!).
Colleen then appeared in a film called Get Over It. She appears in the start and end credits singing two cover songs, Love Will Keep Us Together and September [with Sisqo]. The two songs feature on the soundtrack, along with The Itch. The video for The Itch featured the cast if Get Over It. The Itch also appeared in the TV show Roswell. Vitamin C’s next single off More was As Long As You’re Loving Me. The soulful ballad peaked at no.36 on the billboard top 100. As Long As You’re Loving me appears on the See Spot Run soundtrack. Long As You’re Loving me was big in Australia as well, and at one time both As Long As You’re Loving Me and The Itch were on Australian radio play lists at the same time! At this time Elektra records decided to part ways with Colleen. No one knows why. Maybe because of the under performance of As Long As You’re Loving Me, maybe because it was of More’s disappointing sales… but, they didn’t want to release any more singles from the masterpiece. L Plans for a video and single release for Colleen’s cheeky cover of the Waitresses classic I Know What Boys Like were scrapped. Although, an EA baseball game put I Know What Boys Like on the soundtrack to the game, and gave Vitamin C her own character!! I think it’s the ‘99 or the 2000 edition.
Elektra done a “Sony” on it, and failed to realise that if they had promoted the More album, it would have been huge. Strangely enough, at this time another Special Edition of More was released in Japan. It features a new track called This Summer I. That version of More actually appears on another record label, proving that she was no longer with Elektra. Elektra then abandoned the Vitamin C site.
Colleen kept working, doing TV shows, and movie cameos… much in the same way as she done when Sony dropped Eve’s Plum. She appeared in Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Brothers Garcia, The Amanda Show, the Sausage factory, Hollywood Squares, Rock Star and had a voice cameo in Scary Movie 2 [which features Graduation]. The DVD for Get Over It was released; it has the video for The Itch on it. The DVD for Dracula 2000 was released with the video for The Itch on it too. The DVD for See Spot Run was then released, featuring the largely unseen video for As Long As You’re Loving Me. It was largely unseen because it had hovered outside the TRL top 10 so was only shown once or twice. Most fans didn’t even know As Long As You’re Loving Me was released. She then had a cameo on The Andy Dick Show, and Smile appeared on the Stuart Little 2 soundtrack. Me, Myself and I appeared in the Nickleodeon movie, Big Fat Liar. She again had a little role in My Ex-Girlfriends Wedding Reception. She appeared in an off beat movie St Patricks Day, and performed a few songs in it, including I Know What Boys Like.
In the summer of 2002, Colleen was the judge for Pantene Pro-Voice Competition. In June she performed in Central Park in New York City… and her guitarist was Michael Kotch!!! A comeback seemed obvious. An “underground” rumour spread about Colleen having signed to V2 records… an article at WorldsEnd.com said she was working on their label. The official Vitamin C Site [separate of Elektra records] started to update their site. In August FOX cable channel announced that they were going to show a programme called Celebrity Boot Camp. One of the participants was to be Colleen. On the 30th September the 2 hour documentary was shown…
>>> when they got off the bus bringing them to
the camp, the evil Drill Instructors started screaming and spitting at them all… they had to unpack their cases and one of
the Drill Instuctors (who, btw, obviously has serious issues) made Colleen
dance with her make-up bag on her head, as they weren’t allowed wear make-up.
On the first day, Colleen spent 3 hours crying! L They all had to
go in a helicopter thing, with no door. And Colleen is scared of heights but
went on it anyway! They all got a phone call, and when it was Colleen’s turn
she said “I’m in a hole, and I’ve got ,like, a
minute phone call!!!”, hehe. On the second day, the stupid Drill
Instructors chose which two people they were going to dismiss.
They chose Colleen (because, apparently, she wouldn’t have good “leadership”
skills) and someone else (can’t
remember her name).>>>
Currently, you can catch the Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Brothers Garcia, The Amanda Show and Sausage factory episodes on TV! You can also see her in Rock Star, Dracula 2000 [recently premiered on TV] and Scary Movie 2! And you can hear her new tracks Do You C What I C? and Master Of Disguise on the aforementioned soundtracks! No one knows what she’ll do next, as she says, “I’m the-girl-next-door-you-think-you-know”… “What I'm doing now isn't exactly cookie cutter bullshit that everyone else is doing. I didn't have some fifty-year-old guy sitting in the studio writing five songs for me that are number one hits. I went out and tried to write my own songs and express my own voice”…. “Well, maybe I was the girl next door and a little left of centre.” Expect to be hearing from Ms. Fitzpatrick very soon!
Sources: Eve’s Plum Underground, Jason’s Eve’s Plum Page, Elektra, Rock on the Net and me!
Discography: Envy [Eve’s Plum, 1993], Cherry Alive [Eve’s Plum, 1995], Vitamin C [Vitamin C, 1999], More [Vitamin C, 2001].