Escapade: Devon-based indie rockers

Tuesday 1st May 2001

One of the best new guitar rock bands to emerge for years are ESCAPADE. Martin Saunders checked them out.


With an excellent EP debut 'Guide Me' catching Cross Rhythms radio play, Escapade, the new Devon-based four piece (well, three, "we're between bass players") right now are clearly on the up.

Rhythm guitar man and lead vocalist John Prockter is the self-proclaimed "all rounder of the band", writing the songs and playing the managerial role at the same time. Supporting him are Laurence Pledger and Greg Bushell on drums and lead guitar respectively, combining (with a bass player) to produce what Prockter calls "your classic rock setup." Escapade's debut EP 'Guide Me', which received fairly clamorous praise even on these hallowed pages, is true to those words, showcasing good technical ability, thoughtful lyrics and decent all round songcraft. It's the kind of first recording that warrants a second listen, displaying a wide range of styles and ideas in a short play time. In essence, it hints at far greater things.

"We've been going about two years now," explains Prockter. "I'd been doing some work in mid-Devon, doing schools work with churches and lots of different youth events. I was looking for a little band to put together to do an event and called up these guys to ask them if they'd play. We had a really good laugh, so we did more, and then I said to them, 'Look, I write my own songs as well, perhaps we could jam and hang out' And it was all born from there. Then we realised we'd been playing together quite a lot and thought we'd better commit to being a band. So it was almost by accident really."

Two years on, the band have just returned from something of a tour in Germany. Prockter's work as a youth leader has taken him into German schools and after a successful solo concert there last year, he decided to unleash his band upon the unsuspecting German school-age public. "We did a day going around local schools," he says, "doing five gigs in different schools as a promotional thing. Then in the evening we did a big concert.

That was very exciting, because the furthest we'd been with the band was the Isle Of Wight." And in the summer, the Cross Rhythms festival awaits. The gigs are getting steadily bigger.

As well as a strong Delirious? influence, Prockter has a go at pinning down the Escapade sound. "I'd say that we're a pop/rock band, with anthem-like tunes. You know the way that choruses soar over and people catch them? That's what we do." Drawing on influences such as Feeder and the Manic Street Preachers, they've been compared to a number of bands: "One person thought we sounded like Jars Of Clay, although I don't think we do, and another person said we sound like the Stereophonies. The songs that we play bring out lots of different styles."

Prockter closes by explaining how the band's ministry works. "At a lot of the gigs that we do, we get the opportunity to actually share something," he says. "All the songs come out of my life and all the songs are about things that I go through. So some of the subjects are completely relevant and I can say before the song, 'Listen, this one's about this,' or This one's about that,' or This song's about how God's changed my life.1 Very few of the songs actually mention God in the direct sense - you know, 'Jesus this,' or 'Holy Spirit that.1 But there's a definite thread running through which we can pick up when we get the opportunity. We've always said since we started that we want to be able to take Christian music into any setting, so the music has to be accessible." It seems like an intelligent idea and the talent is certainly there to make it work. So don't be too surprised if Escapade wing their way to a setting near you fairly soon.

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.

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