"escape from bellevue and other stories..."


Knockout Drops

"Escape From Bellevue and Other Stories..."
at The Paradise Factory Theater in New York City

NEW YORK [November 21, 2005] <Imagine Bill Hicks fronting The Replacements and delivering darkly comical monologues in between songs, and you'll have some notion of what audiences can expect to experience during an evening of "Escape From Bellevue and Other Stories." The pioneering new production, directed by Horton Foote Jr., and produced by Knockout Drops and Victoria DeRose, makes its off-Broadway debut with a special engagement at New York City's Paradise Factory Theater, located at 64 East 4th Street. Tickets, priced at $20, are on sale now for the show, playing at 9:00 pm every Friday and Saturday evening (except Christmas Eve), from December 2, 2005, through January 14, 2006.

Written and performed by Christopher John Campion, frontman for seminal downtown rock band Knockout Drops, "Escape From Bellevue and Other Stories" moves fluidly from scripted monologues of Campion's twisted, autobiographical tales to full-blown band performances of the songs inspired by these real-life escapades. Alternately raucous and reflective, irreverently funny and unflinchingly honest, this music-driven multimedia show also interweaves special visual content, segue sequences and video vignettes directed by videographer/photographer Chris Cassidy, and surrealist animation by artist Alex Gardega. The result is a 90-minute tour-de-force: a unique, real-life, rock-n-roll odyssey that promises to give music fans and concertgoers, comedy lovers and avant-garde theater audiences alike a brand new live entertainment experience.

Since 1963, no patient has successfully escaped from behind the electronic doors at Manhattan's famously foreboding Bellevue Hospital. That is, none until Chris Campion earned that dubious distinction. Between 1998 and 2000, Campion landed there on three separate ignominious occasions or, two-and-a-half times, if you factor in his hilariously brazen escape, a feat that makes him "The Steve McQueen of rock-n-roll," he muses.

At the center of this chronicle is Campion's spiraling, indulgent rock-n-roll lifestyle, which takes him to some bizarre places over the years--most notably, Bellevue, where he brings the audience inside for a bird's-eye view of the cuckoo's nest and its inhabitants, and where his cunning subsequent getaway is a key part of the saga.

"Detox is just a cuddly word for Psych Ward," says Campion, who finds this out the hard way, after arriving involuntarily by police escort. Clearly, this is not Mayberry, where one can simply sleep it off in a cozy cell and await Aunt Bea's hot, home-cooked meal the following day.

In "Escape From Bellevue," Campion spins a decade-long yarn, covering his blackouts to The Blackout of 2003. He brings the audience through the beer-goggled looking glass on a descent down the rabbit hole, often with profoundly humorous and stirring results. Along the way, he introduces some of the neighborhood oddballs, lovable misfits and other marginal characters and nightcrawlers that populate his late-night world‹whom Campion perfectly embodies and endearingly calls "Vicious Freaks" in one of the production's most powerfully rendered songs.

"Chris Campion is not a manic-depressive hijacking the audience for some tale of woe; he is an exuberant melancholic who has written some incredibly funny and moving monologues in a show that is a celebration of his madness and Knockout Drops' music," says director Horton Foote Jr., a member of one of America's foremost families of stage and screen. "There's not a theater experience or an entertainment experience that I can think of that compares to this."

Much of the material focuses on the band's trials and tribulations within the music business, including a funny story about a short stint on Madonna¹s Maverick Records label. Nestled among the stories of late-night partying and dashed dreams are uproarious tales about a night spent reveling with rodeo clowns, and the unending cycle of exasperated girlfriends who first shelter and then jettison Campion when his charm wears thin.

The show is propelled by a common theme running through the chronology of peculiar encounters and revelatory observations that leave Campion utterly exposed, sometimes bewildered, and, ultimately, redeemed‹and will leave audiences gasping, laughing, and rocking out in their seats. The evening closes on an uplifting note, with a new, clean and sober Campion recounting his experience of leading an impromptu, acoustic, sidewalk hootenanny for hundreds of people on the night of New York's Blackout, during which, he says, he turned his whole neighborhood into Who-ville, with everyone chiming in to sing.

"This is not a Lifetime movie," says Campion. "I'm not Meredith Baxter-Birney swilling vodka and binging on raw chocolate chip cookie dough, and then asking someone to pin a merit badge on me for being sober. It's just the story of what happened seen through the prism of our songs."

"Escape From Bellevue and Other Stories" is as much a musical event as a theatrical one. Coinciding with the stage production, Knockout Drops are simultaneously releasing an 11-song record of the same name in the first week of December. Produced by the band's guitarist, Tom Licameli, at his Kaleidoscope Soundworks studio, it is the Knockout Drops' second full-length album in the past two years, and features the entire soundtrack from the stage production, plus a few additional tracks.

While all of the songs are suffused with the Drops' signature melodic hooks and lyrical narratives, perhaps the heart of the show is the achingly plaintive and tuneful "Wrong Turn," a pivotal song that artfully captures the anguished moment when Campion first awakens behind Bellevue's electronic doors and realizes what his life's inertia is owed to: "wishful thinking goes with daytime drinking when you're on one long wrong turn." The song also foretells his impending booze-fueled returns with "it'd be two more times before I'd learn that I'm on one long wrong turn." The other powerful songs featured in "Escape From Bellevue and Other Stories," each introduced with stories and segues of their own during the show, include "Dharma"; "Vicious Freaks"; 'That Fate Thing"; "Where did the Love Go?"; "Circle the Drain"; "Bermuda Triangle"; "Pilot Light"; and "City of Love."


Knockout Drops are a stalwart figure on New York's rock music scene, frequently performing and selling out shows at many of the City's most notable venues, including Irving Plaza, Bowery Ballroom, Knitting Factory, Mercury Lounge, and more. In the past year, the band has expanded its concert circuit, performing three tours in Europe, where the Drops have been building a fan base touring behind the critically acclaimed 2003 release of "Killed By the Lights" (Circus Clone Records), which was chosen as one of the Top 10 Albums of the Year by Newsday. "Escape From Bellevue and Other Stories" is the band's second full-length album in two years. Knockout Drops features Christopher John Campion (lead vocals), Tom Licameli (guitar/vocals), Phil Mastrangelo (bass/vocals), and Vinny Cimino (drums).

Knockout Drops have always entertained and engaged concert audiences with amusing commentary intermingled with hard-charging live performances. Drawing on Campion's preternatural gift for storytelling, the band has been moving in a new direction for the past three years, expanding the live band performances to include more and more improvisational material, animated tales and multimedia sketches. "Escape From Bellevue and Other Stories," both the stage production and the accompanying record, are the culmination of that band evolution.

For more information about the stage production and the band, visit www.knockoutdrops.com

Click on the link on the website's homepage to view a lively nine-minute electronic press preview, including show highlights, partial monologues, music excerpts, and multimedia vignettes, as well as interviews with Campion and director Horton Foote Jr.

For tickets and performance schedules, call SmartTix (212-868-4444) or log on to www.smarttix.com

All tickets are $20 (general admission). Performances are scheduled every Friday and Saturday evening, from December 2 - January 14, except December 24. Total running time is 90 minutes without intermission. Showtime is 9:00 pm.

# # #

Eileen Campion
President, Dera, Roslan & Campion PR
212-966-4600 / eileen@derapr.com


Copyright © Knockout Drops. All rights reserved.

tour dates

Escape from Bellevue
in stores & online