Doncaster teen John McCullagh heads out with new band ‘The Escorts’ to support Cast

John McCullagh and The Escorts
John McCullagh and The Escorts

A Doncaster teen has more reason than most to look forward to his 17th birthday - he’ll be celebrating by playing live with Cast, the legendary 90s Britpop band.

John McCullagh heads out on the road with his newly formed band ‘The Escorts’ on tour tonight, playing The Welly in Hull, and on Friday he’ll mark his birthday by playing the Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh.

“It’ll be a fantastic way to celebrate. On my 16th birthday I played London, but maybe on my 18th birthday I’d quite like a break,” he said.

John Lennon McCullagh started out as a solo singer-songwriter at the age of 14, after he was discovered by music mogul Alan McGee playing Bob Dylan covers in a pub in Rotherham, but he decided to get a band behind him earlier this year.

“It was a natural progression really,” said John.

“I’d had enough of being on my own and going out on stage on my own every night.

“I wanted to be with a band to create a new sound.

““We’ve been together as a band for about seven months now but we’ve only done a handful of gigs together, this will be the first proper tour we’ve done.

“We are really looking forward to it, it’s going to be a great experience.”

The band will play 11 dates supporting Cast, including the Town Hall in Middlesbrough and Brudenell Social in Leeds, before finishing the tour in Manchester Academy on December 21.

John, who has supported Richard Hawley, The Enemy, Babyshambles and Reverend and the Makers to name a few, remains a down-to-earth Northern lad, despite his rising fame.

“I’ve been stopped in the street once or twice,” he said.

“It happened once in Meadowhall, [shopping centre, Sheffield], when I was with my girlfriend so it was a bit weird, but she just has a laugh about it.

“I don’t go out in Doncaster much though, I keep myself to myself. I go to Waterstones occasionally.”

John, who lives in Scawsby with his mum and dad, has to travel a lot to Liverpool to meet up with band mates, Chris Jones, Nick Miniski and Craig McMahon.

“The rest of the band are from Liverpool so we’re pretty much based there,” John said.

“I don’t have any plans to move out of Doncaster at the moment though, maybe next year, we’ll see.”

For now, John’s dad, who is also the band’s manager, drives him to every gig - and also stays to watch.

16-year-old John, who has been playing guitar since he was 11-years-old, said he is not nervous about playing at huge venues with big crowds.

“I’m looking forward to going to all the different venues and playing before Cast.

“John’s, [Cast singer John Power], a good friend of mine so it will be good to see him,” he said.

“You just treat it like any other gig and play your best,” he said.

“If just one person likes what you’re playing you’ve done your job, I think.

“People are there [at gigs] to have a good time and I don’t think you should put too much pressure on yourself.

John McCullagh and the Escorts are also looking forward to heading out on their first headline tour in March, April and May next year.

Dates will be announced soon.

Another single from their upcoming album, Newborn Cry, which has been produced by John Power, is due out in January.

The full album expected to be released in February.

See the band’s official Facebook page for details,