At the age of thirteen (1984), I decided to start a Pop/Rock band, comprising of myself on bass guitar and backing vocals, my brother (Chris) on drums and my best friend (Adrian "Jack" Cooke) on lead vocals and guitar.
We were too young in the early stages of the band's development to do very much live performance, so we, instead, dedicated ourselves to constant rehearsals, song writing and recording projects.
We had a vision of commercial success for the band from quite an early age.
We continued to dedicate ourselves to rehearsing, writing and recording music into our late teens with an ever increasing depth and quality to our sound. We were all totally dedicated to the vision that we had for the band and were hungry for success.
The band had many different names, during the first few years, but eventually settled for the name VITAL ESCAPE.
Adrian, Chris & Jack
Between early 1991 and early 1995 we played, tirelessly, anywhere and everywhere. Pubs, clubs, weddings, parties, festivals, support slots, competitions, you name it - we played it.
Every day we were totally dedicated to furthering the band's progress. If we weren't writing, we were recording, if we weren't recording, we were playing live, if we weren't playing live we were sending demo tapes to management, publishing or record companies, it was an absolute blitz on the music industry.
During a period of intense frustration, in early 1994, we decided to record and release our own, self-financed album on CD, in order to raise our profile with the record companies, or possibly even cut out the need for a major record deal at all.
We were finally in a position to release our recordings in January 1995, and due to the band's large following we, thankfully, recouped the money that we had invested in the albums production in only four weeks, which was a huge relief.
The album, called ESCAPISM, which consisted of twelve of our own songs, received rave reviews in virtually every music publication that we sent it to. We were staggered at the interest that our recordings were beginning to generate for the band, as rock music in the UK at this time had not been at all fashionable.
5/5 review in rock music's biggest magazine “KERRANG”
“There have been bands who have spent their entire careers trying to capture what Vital Escape have managed with just one record.”
“There is an undeniable American AOR influence enveloping each song that helps to push the album into near classic territory.”
“Escapism is one of the best AOR records to be released in ages…Escapism is a special album.” (Dave Reynolds - Kerrang Magazine, June 1995)
We continued our blitz on record, management and publishing companies, now with the added weight of our self-produced CD album, and the publicity which it seemed to be generating for us, but still nobody would come up with a serious offer for the band. Just as we were on the verge of giving-up and admitting defeat, we did finally get the break-through.
To cut a long story short, our album managed to fall into the hands of a man who happened to be an expert in the field of marketing our kind of music. Within the space of three months he managed to secure a rather lucrative five figure Japanese record deal, a separate European distribution deal and a full UK release for Escapism.
Almost overnight, virtually every record shop in the UK had copies of our album in it. Several extremely high profile magazine reviews also followed in the UK and abroad and things really began to snowball.
At one stage, shortly after the album was released, Escapism was selling around five hundred copies per week in Japan alone, mainly due to a highly rated 90% review that we'd received in Japan's most popular rock music magazine (Burn Magazine). The album had also been doing well in Germany, France, Sweden and Switzerland, all based on different, highly favourable, magazine reviews.
As the hype continued surrounding our album, so discussions got underway with various different companies regarding live European performances for the band and even the possibility of touring Japan.
It was at this point that my health seriously began to deteriorate...
On the verge of major success, I was forced to drop out of the band due to ill health and it looked like our dream was over. It actually turned out that the dream was far from over ......
Vital Escape managed to find a replacement bass player and shortly afterwards, under a new name (Radiator), went on to sign a major recording contract with music industry giants EMI Records.
Find out the full story in my book "Love Never Fails".
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