Clive Burr’s Escape and Stratus in the Press

Clive Burr’s Escape and Stratus in the Press

Kerrang – January 1984 (The gig was 17 December 1983)

REALLY, for a new band with a pedigree at least 50 fretboards long, Clive Burr’s
Escape failed to gain the full attention and interest that should have been due
to them on this their debut performance. The turn-out could have been much
better and it seemed that the rival attractions of Judas Priest and Quiet Riot
had cost the ex-Maiden drummer some of his potential audience.

Those that were there, however, were keen to see what direction Clive would be
taking after his ignominious departure from Maiden. Though, with three
ex-Praying Mantis men fronting the stage, it was obvious they would be stamping
their ID on the material.

As one might have expected the volume of the drums was well up in the mix
although thankfully the noise level declined as the gig progressed), Escape
opening with an instrumental that succeeded in pushing Burr’s talents to the
fore.

Generally, the standard of material was consistently high and the numbers well
constructed, as one might expect from such an illustrious crew. ‘Your Number’,
featuring typical, short, sharp Troy Bros. harmonies, the polished but ballsy
‘Enough Is Enough’ and the deliciously meandering ‘Raining In Kensington’ all
served to build impetus in the first half of the set. Unfortunately, Escape
failed to capitalise on it, including one or two downbeat numbers as proceedings
wore on, something that put a damper on the favourable reaction they had built
up.

Without wanting to seem cynical, I am afraid that despite previously proven
talent and good classy numbers, Escape are going to find themselves in a
no-man’s land; not heavy enough to appeal to hard core HM fans and not
commercial enough for any kind of chart success. It’s hard to see them taking
off in a big way, professional though they are. JUSTINE COLE

Unknown 1984?

BURR-NING SENSATIONS

CLIVE BURR, former Iron Maiden drummer, has formed a band called Clive Burr’s
Escape which features guitarist Tino Troy and bassist Chris Troy from Praying
Mantis and ex-Grand Prix vocalist Bernie Shaw together with Don Garbett on
keyboards. (One session in studio not full time Member – Tino 8/7/97)

The band, pictured above, have spent the last six months writing and rehearsing
and reckon they’ve already got three albums’ worth of material together -and
that’s before they’ve even signed a record contract!

They play their first ‘official’ gig at London’s Marquee on December 17 and are
planning more after Christmas when they hope to have a record deal signed.

Sounds March 31 1984?

THE BURR FACTS

CLIVE BURR’S ESCAPE

Marquee

THE GREMLINS were out for blood tonight. First of all they tortured the sound
with horrendous feedback and then, just as normal service looked like being
resumed, poor old Bernie Shaw’s mike started cutting out. But technical traumas
couldn’t keep this band down for long.

Overcoming the obstacles (almost as if they weren’t there) with a mixture of
charisma, panache and natural good humour, Escape managed to transfer their
excellent demo material onto the stage with apparently effortless ease.

Guitarist Tine Troy, who was sporting a fetching off-the-shoulder length of
insulation tape (Lips-stylee) and see-through papier mache kegs, hammed it up
like a trooper. Tongue set firmly in cheek, he careered around the stage like a
man possessed.

Brother Chris concentrated on his underpinning bass work, which was effective
and accurate but unfortunately too often swamped in the mix. Alan Nelson
supplied some tasty, unobtrusive keyboards and displayed a sensitive touch –
especially on the melodramatic ‘Raining In Kensington’.

The drummer wasn’t that bad either! With a drum kit that took up nearly as much
room as the rest of the band, Clive (Blurr?) was always up front but never
overpoweringly so.

His drumming was much more than just a way of keeping time. Rich and deadly by
turns, he was in his element. More arm power than a thousand government training
schemes.

So to Bernie again. As near as one will get to a born performer, he captured the
big heart and spirit of this band; from the way he handled the aforementioned
feedback (“It took us ages to get it at this pitch – so it would annoy
everybody”) to his intuitive feel for their music.

It’s hard to believe that Clive Burr’s Escape are still without a record deal.
Their material is splendid, quality stuff, and with their musical experience
prior to Escape, they have all the makings of a premier live act.

Unfortunately, more than half the people who attended the show were so busy
looking good (and looking around to make sure they were spotted) that they
barely had time to focus their attentions on the band. Still, as my photographer
assured me at the bar, it’s only rock and roll.

JAY WILLIAMS

Sounds? 1984?

The Great Escape

WHEN I arrived, late, the band were already ensconced around a colossal onyx
conference table, looking for all the world like second generation Mafiosi. But
no mates of Tony Montana these – this was a meeting of the Escape committee.
Clive Burr’s Escape, that is.

Two years after leaving Maiden, the cheeky cockney has assembled a band which,
although it may have a good few dues to pay yet, possesses more than its fair
share of potential. Or put another way the not inconsiderable record company
interest currently being shown in the band is not just because they have a
‘name’ drummer.

To use an antiquated hippy phrase, they’ve got their act together.

Somebody once said about us that we weren’t heavy enough to appeal to HM fans,
and we weren’t commercial enough to satisfy the pop fans,” says Clive without
the rockstar disgruntlement I have come to expect.

So what sort of folk come to their gigs? “The first three rows are the die-hards
– the guys who headbang to everything, even the ballads!! Then the second row is
writers and friends and the backline (as per usual} is the liggers.”

Their demo tape, which has been in and Out of my cassette deck all week, is a
genuinely pleasant surprise – theirs is a rich, melodic sound – and I’ll wager
that it will have the same effect on those expecting another dose of thrash.

“I think it c an damage you if you get too categorised,” Clive continues. “You
know, ‘Oh, file ‘im away under such and such’ – we want to be recognised for
playing the music that we’re into, and hopefully people will enjoy it,” he adds
self-effacingly.

Did he feel at all stifled while he was with Maiden? It’s just that the sound is
so radically different.

“I do find HM a bit restrictive, but quite honestly I didn’t have time to be
stifled when I was with Maiden! I had no excess energy – I ploughed it all back
into the music. I may not have the opportunity to explore different musical
avenues, but I did learn all about stamina.”

“This band is a rock band,” interjects lead guitarist Tino Troy (ex Praying
Mantis), “and rock is really the only music you can totally put your
energy towards. Electro-pop and the like is very expressive image-wise, but it
is very lightweight.”

In what is and endlessly competitive business, all the members of the band are
clearly aware of how discerning The Rock Fan has become.

As Clive points out, “You’ve got to give the best that you possibly can. These
days there are so many bands and so many records that the fan has to choose
carefully – and with albums at the price they are, you can’t get away with
bluffing.”

Which of their contemporaries do they rate?

“Van Halen!” – this from effervescent Canadian frontman Bernie Shaw.

“They’re so spontaneous and energetic.” Another band to gain the respect and
all-round thumbs-up is Blackfoot, the magnificent Jacksonville outfit who defy
the traditional boogie confines.

“We toured Europe with them while I was in Maiden – they just enjoy their music
so much. Being on stage for them was liking going out on the piss – and when you
see them up there. You can’t help having a good time yourself”.

Clive laughs at the memories. Is that the way they want to approach music?

Vociferous nods from all corners. “Yes,” says the drummer definitely, “No party
poopers at our gigs!

“we’re normally very relaxed, but there’s an intensity on stage, and I think
that’s a result of the adrenaline. You’ve got an hour and twenty minutes to put
everything across, and that’s what we try to do.”

Bernie sums it all up: “When the adrenaline goes, it’s time to hang up your
striped trousers, platform shoes and chest wigs!”

I have a sneaking suspicion that the platforms aren’t even scuffed yet and the
self-adhesive chest mat hasn’t lost its stick. Escape, strange as it mat sound,
are on the way in.

JAY WILLIAMS

Kerrang! 1984

THE GREAT ESCAPE – Howard Johnson catches a band on the run.

IN THE true tradition of the publicity-conscious Rock ‘n’ Roll star, he’s late!
Not bad by the standards of these nocturnal creatures, but late nonetheless.

While the other band members, guitarist Tino Troy, bassist/brother Chris and
vocalist Bernie Shaw (you ain’t heard of ’em, where have you been?) mooch around
within the portals of the Kerrang! emporium making wise-cracks about their
leader and apologetically shifting from one foot – clean shoes de rigeur – to
another in embarrassment, Clive Burr is putting more money in the parking meter,
buying fags and generally performing the more mundane tasks of life. Still,
these things have to be done and, with a breathless Mr. Burr safely ensconced in
the office’s main interviewee chair (electricity optional), it’s time to talk
business.

These days business ain’t got a great deal to do with those bastions of the
NWOBHM, Iron Maiden and Praying Mantis, but rather with a new venture going
under the name of Clive Burr’s Escape, a venture which will hopefully bring the
protagonists some of the fame and fortune they believe they deserve, in the kind
of amicable surroundings which make it a pleasure to work. As drummer Clive
succinctly summarises:

‘Do you want to be rich and famous doing something that you don’t enjoy or do
you want to have another crack in a situation where you’re really happy?
Obviously, the Maiden situation wasn’t as cut and dried as that, but I really am
much happier in this position.

“I’ve got loads of ideas that I’m bringing out in this group and the other guys
are really helping them to reach fruition. Part of the reason why I left Maiden
was because I couldn’t use my song writing within the context of the band. I
felt that the split was amicable, though a lot of things that have been said
about me since I left are totally untrue (the only rumour that had breezed past
my ears was that Clive had gotten too heavily involved with that Vim-like
substance. Ya pays ya money, ya makes yer choice!). I don’t feel malice about
that but I really don’t understand it. Maybe they felt like they needed some
kind of reason to justify three members leaving in eighteen months, though
that’s only a hypothesis. All I can say is that I’m really glad to be out of all
that.”

Escape has been a while in coming together mainly because Clive was in Germany
for five months in self-imposed exile (do you want to give all your money to
Thatcher?). During that period, he laid down the drums on the stunning new Trust
album, but didn’t link up with them on a permanent basis owing to the general
incompetence of the Frenchmen:

“I joined on a three month trial basis and during that time they did precisely
nothing. They really ain’t together at all – I never even got a copy of the
album I played on – and as I had quite a lot of material, I got together with my
old mates and started working again.”

BY THE time you feast your eyes on this work Clive Burr’s Escape will have
already played a showcase gig at London’s Marquee Club (where else?) which will
also, hopefully, lead to a major label deal. Naturally, interest has been piqued
at major company level, not only because of Clive’s Maiden connection, but also
because of the strength of Escape’s material. Tino:

“It sounds Mantis-ish to me but it’s also certainly got a new feel to it. We’ve
been trying to do this kind of stuff for the last two years and, while the name
of Praying Mantis started to hinder us in the end, we never gave up on the
musical style because it’s what we believe in and it’s what we all feel most
comfortable playing, Clive included.”

“It’s got that basic heaviness,” summarises Clive, “but it’s enhanced by the
more melodic fills. Heavy b****cks with melodies, that’s what it is!”

He leans back, obviously satisfied with his descriptive definition of Escape
music, and from the eight numbers that I’ve copped an earful of, this is pretty
much hitting the proverbial nail on the head. While there is a certain need for
a more definitive stamp to be attached to the overall sound, the bare essentials
are there.

Numbers such as ‘Fantasy’, ‘Woman Of The Night’ and ‘Top Of The Mountain’ could
well develop into the kind of finely- honed Hard Rock perpetrated by the likes
of Journey. Influences? Could be, with a name like Escape and Clive’s closet
affection for America’s mega-stars! What the songs need is a top-line producer
to knock them into shape and stamp some character into them. This the band is
well aware of. Clive:

“We’ve already got enough material for three albums so that if and when the deal
comes we can go straight in the studio and produce one shit hot album. As you
say, the producer is important and we really hope to get hold of Andy Johus,
whom I worked with on the Trust album and who’s also worked with Hughes/Thrall.
We became very friendly being the only two Englishmen working on the album in
the middle of gay Paris. I sang him some of the songs that I had together and he
said he’d be interested in working on the project, so some demo tapes are
currently on the way to him.”

THE WHOLE project is certainly going to set jaws gyrating and the cynics will
soon be out on their soap boxes, announcing here, there and everywhere that
Clive Burr’s Escape is nothing more than a trip for the overblown ego of a once
famous drummer:

“We don’t intend to keep Clive’s name at the forefront of the hand,” claims
Tino. “We’re just using it as a launching pad to help us get a deal because his
name is known. If you’ve got it, why not flaunt it? (Why not indeed!). If the
first album goes down as well as we hope It will, and present reaction seems to
indicate that it will, they by the time the second album comes around we hope
that the whole concern will be known as Escape. The fact that Clive’s name will
help us sell a few more tickets in Britain, Europe and Japan will be neither
here nor there.”

“You’re bound to get a certain amount of cynicism,” states a realistic Mr. Burr,
“but I don’t really care because we’re all happy in every way imaginable. For
us, this is like a supergroup in so far as how we all feel about it – not in
terms of our own personal esteem! It’s as if we’ve all been re-born. This really
is our escape, our Shangri-La if you like! We all want to achieve the same goals
and we’re really into what we’re playing.

“Musically playing, things have gone exceptionally well for us. It’s as if this
is the only situation we’ve ever been in and my writing has taken some of the
pressure off Chris and Tino, which in turn can only help their own writing.
Personally too, things are great, I’ve known these guys for quite a while now,
since the days of the ‘Metal For Muthas’ tour. We played the funniest gigs
together, including a church in Grimsby from whence comes the term ‘Metal For
Methodists’, and we’ve always kept in touch so it really is like one big
family.”

SO STARTING all over again holds no fears for Clive: “I think It’s a help to
have been through the treadmill once,” he asserts. “Having toured the world
twice you do tend to pick up a few things (greeted by huge guffaws for pretty
understandable reasons!), but there’s really no way round starting again You
have to go back to the beginning and stay in Howard Jonhson’s, (more guffaws –
can’t understand why!) and travel in the hacks of trucks.”

Unknown 1984?

MOTLEY CRUE/STRATUS

Dominion

BEING SUITABLY impressed by ex-Maiden man Clive Burr’s new outfit, Escape, some
months ago, I awaited the recently re-christened Stratus as curiously as most,
interested to see what goodies they’d come up with after quite a lengthy UK
silence.

Sadly, the evening held rather more than its fair share of bad luck, and what
could have been a first class set as well and truly screwed up by repeated
equipment failure resulting in an atrocious out front sound. Despite the obvious
embarrassment to the band and disappointment of the punters, the show went on to
highlight ‘Give Me Something’ and ‘So Tired’ taken from their new album,
‘Throwing Shapes’ (to be released in the UK in ’85).

We’ll probably never know if it was a stitch-up or not, but Stratus (cock-ups or
no cock-ups) still managed to capture my complete attention, displaying classic
song-writing ability and the distinctive energy drive of a wholly pro outfit.
Tonight’s fiasco was a crying shame, but I’m now more interested than ever to
see Stratus in full swing.

Mary Anne Hobbs

UNKNOWN 1985?

STRATAS-FEAR:

News of strange, poltergeist-type goings-on reaches us from West Germany, where
Stratas (who were previously known as Clive Burr’s Escape and briefly Tygon) are
busy recording their debut album.

Apparently guitarist Tino Troy was on his way into the studio one evening when
he saw a figure sitting in a chair in another dimly-lit room.

Rushing in and recruiting the rest of the band to help him investigate, they
return to find the room completely empty, in a Scooby Doo style.

When they started recording later that night, they found the tape machine
inoperable and before they could make investigations, it suddenly started
functioning again. The next night, exactly the same thing happened, only this
time it was Tino’s brother Chris Troy who got freaked out.

Whatever next ? We thought this kind of thing only happened in The Young Ones…

About

I have been a Praying Mantis fan since I first heard "Captured City" on Metal for Muthas. Time Tells No Lies has always been on of my favourite albums and I was overjoyed when I first discovered it was out on CD. I didn't know what had happened after the first album until in about 1994 I discovered "A Cry For The New World". I was worried about getting it as I thought it had to be a disappointment but I was wrong. I loved it and have followed the band and maintained this website ever since.

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