Here’s the Plan: An Interview with Beau Sasser about his Escape Plan

The newest and funkiest beep on the musical radar of the NY scene is Beau Sasser’s Escape Plan. The high-powered collaboration is led by the one and only Beau Sasser on the Hammond organ, vocalist Mary Corso, dueling guitarists Justin Henricks from Way Down/The Chronicles and Danny Mayer from Alan Evan’s Playonbrother with drummer Bill Carbone from Max Creek, fusing together rock ‘n’ roll attitude with a strong funk foundation. The funky five piece has been traveling across the country and back to bring a fresh, explosive sound that drops jaws and blows mind with serious guitar shredding, fierce rhythm and soulful key pounding.

Check out Beau Sasser’s Escape Plan TONIGHT Feb. 27 at The Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs with The Nth Power. Doors are at 8:30 pm with music starting at 9:30pm and a cover charge of $15 at the door for the 18+ event. Click here to buy tickets in advance and to guarantee that you won’t miss out on a great show. The last stop for the Escape Plan of their winter tour will be Saturday Feb. 28 at the historic Nectar’s in Burlington, VT.

I was lucky to catch up with Beau Sasser to talk about his escape plan, covering rock classics and highlights of their winter tour.

Susan Rice: What are you escaping from and what’s the plan?

Beau Sasser: The show is an escape for the audience for a little while, our goal is to create art through music and connect with the crowd and share in that journey, and its an escape for us too! The plan is make the world a better place through feel good music. The band has such a great vibe, we just want to share that with the audience.

SR: How did you come to assemble the Escape Plan band members?

BS: I’ve played with our drummer Bill Carbone in various bands over many years. We played together in the Melvin Sparks Band and now currently in The Z3. I met our guitarist Danny Mayer 3 years ago when Alan Evans(Soulive) put together his own group Alan Evans Trio which became Playonbrother, we traveled and played together alot over that time. I’ve connected with guitarist Justin Henricks and vocalist Mary Corso more recently in the last year or so and invited them to come play Funk Night at Bishop’s Lounge in Northampton, Ma, a weekly gig we do each Wednesday. This band really came together on those gigs and we realized quickly that it was something special.

SR: You’ve been touring heavily all over the area to promote your new sound. How have fans been responding to your new collaboration?

BS: The response has been really incredible! A ton of buzz around this group and we’ve had alot of support and great shows, I think its fun for the fans to watch the evolution of a new band and be involved in the process.

SR: What are three key factors for having a fantastic funk set/show?

BS: I would say we try to keep energy, crowd connection and high voltage onstage vibe at the forefront of our live show.

SR: When I saw your show at The Hollow in Albany on February 13th, you covered Frank Zappa, The Allman Brothers and Earth Wind and Fire. How do you pick which songs/artists to cover? Are the songs difficult to funkify?

BS: We’ve been careful to pick some choice covers that fit in the funk vein. We love Frank Zappa and have a pretty good arsenal of FZ covers that are more from his seventies era band that really leaned on funk music a little harder than some of the other eras. Also we really try to take advantage of our double guitar situation, incorporating a few Allman Bros. tunes which lean more towards a southern rock vibe, we try to do our own arrangements to make them fit the show. “Taxman” by the Beatles is another cover we have been working on and we’ve taken more of a James Brown approach to it, utilizing two guitars in a rhythm/comping situation, making it easy to put some funk sauce on it.

SR: Your Winter Tour is coming to an end. What was your favorite part? Would you change anything in particular? What’s next for the Escape Plan?

BS: As the winter tour comes to an end I would have to say the highlight was our week run in California, we played House of Blues and had members of Fishbone, Pfunk, Umphrey’s McGee and Snarky Puppy join us onstage. Unbelievable vibe during the show and it was certainly a great party! The other highlight would be our show last weekend in our hometown of Northampton, MA at Iron Horse Music Hall. So many friends and family and great to play for the hometown crew here where it all started. That show was recorded and is being spread around the internet, the band played great and there is wonderful sound quality on that recording. The only changes we are making are to keep working on perfecting our set and our overall live concert experience, we’ve been using lights and lasers in the show on some choice performances and I’d like to make that a more regular part of the show. Up next is recording our new album which will come out in April, our spring tour that will bring us to jazz fest in New Orleans, and then festival season when all this snow melts!!!!

Check out their live performance of “Love is Free” from Church of Boston on January 10 below.

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