Escape from Bellevue: A Memoir of Rock 'n' Roll, Recovery, and Redemption

Read Christopher John Campion's posts on the Penguin Blog.

Indie rock raconteur Chris Campion-one of the few patients ever to escape from Bellevue's locked ward-recalls his band's tumultuous ride, his plummet into addiction, and the strange road back to sobriety

Chronicling more than twenty years in the life of a Long Island kid who became a hardcore fixture of Manhattan's indie rock scene, Escape from Bellevue is a coming-of-age tale like no other. As the lead singer of New York-based indie rock band Knockout Drops, Campion got a taste of fame (but, alas, no fortune) on a wild ride that lasted from the early 1980s through the 1990s.

Escape from Bellevue puts the spotlight on the collective psychosis of twenty years spent in a rolling bacchanal. Just as the Knockout Drops reached the height of their success, Campion began his downward spiral. After finally coming to grips with his addictions, Campion molded his songs and stories into a sold-out off-Broadway musical. Now, presenting these tales in a memoir of madness and redemption, Campion once again proves to possess the creative genius of a die-hard front man.

Reviews from

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By Marc (San Francisco, CA) · January 02, 2011
I went to high school with the author of this book. That's pertinent because it spends a lot of time talking about my home town, from a perspective I had a sense of in my youth, but never really had confirmed until now -- a place that the movie Trees Lounge does a good job of depicting, one of a... ...more
By Freddy (Bohemia, NY) · ★★★☆☆ · July 05, 2012
i understand why people like this book. it was fun. sad at times but a fun ride. i just didnt like the main character. and i know that's awful. i dont like the bands that inspire him and a lot of his sense of humor. im not saying he probably isnt talented. hes just not for me. if i would have bee... ...more
By Kelly (Columbus, GA) · ★★★★☆ · June 25, 2010
A memoir that is disturbing and funny and from the bottom of the author's heart. Chris is an addict that finds himself in and out of a mental hospital. Described truthfully. You can visualize the Catholic upbringing to his rock and roll lifestyle. ...more
By John (San Francisco, CA) · ★☆☆☆☆ · April 19, 2009
Pretty typical oddessey of a lampshade-wearing type drunk, differing only in that inbetween blackouts he was singing for indy rock also rans The Knockout Drops. Deduct 10 hipster points for playing intercollegite lacrosse! ...more
By Lou (New York, NY) · ★★★★☆ · October 02, 2009
Don't read too much at a time - you'll die laughing. ...more