Turned Off

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

"I have the emo bangs," laughs Donnie DeBoer, pulling his lengthy locks away from his face. The singer and main songwriter for local rockers Auto Escape smiles mischievously as he makes fun of the genre in which he plies his own craft--though he's the first (and loudest) to disagree with such simple categorization.

"What we all are into," DeBoer says, "is as far left to right as you could possibly go." After a prolonged discussion concerning the merits of Radiohead and the Flaming Lips, about the only two artists that all four members can agree to liking are Incubus and Lauryn Hill.

"I knew this wouldn't make any sense," deadpans DeBoer. But it does, as one listen to Turn It Off, their most recent EP, will testify to the band's mining of classic rock influences (early Aerosmith, Big Star) and its estrangement from all things generically emo.


Auto Escape

Auto Escape performs at the Granada Theater on Saturday, June 24, with Black Tie Dynasty, The Burning Hotels and Villains.

The group of 20-somethings has been together for two years, creating a sound that thankfully recalls Cheap Trick more than it does My Chemical Romance. Along with Donnie and his curious little brother Nathie (who swears his favorite album is A Christmas Together by John Denver and the Muppets), Auto Escape includes Grant Pittman and Matthew Melton. Together, this rather nondescript-looking quartet appears ready for a move out of local obscurity.

Tracks such as "White Roses" and "Falling Asleep in the Snow" from the recent EP, while leaning toward the mainstream, still crackle with compositional freshness and pop smarts that put Auto Escape ahead of their immensely popular yet emotionally pretentious brethren in the emo community. "I'm just a backseat driver waiting for an exit sign," DeBoer sings on "Backseat Driver," another solid new cut, unknowingly expressing a consistent theme: abandoning the horse you rode in on once some new territory is in view.

With a focus uncommon for a band so young, all four members of Auto Escape eschew hobbies or even guilty pleasures in a need to make their music consistently better. "I don't even own a TV," says bassist Melton, although he confesses that his musical single-mindedness has occasionally gotten the better of him. Once he watched his bass fly out of the back of his pickup while going down Central Expressway.

"I really cried that day," Melton says, shaking his head, still fixated on his misfortune. Better crack that anti-emo whip some more, DeBoer.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.