Luke Escombe was born in London into a musical household. His father Alan was the bassist for a successful 60s band, The Shakespears, before moving behind the scenes to create the world’s first rock and roll freight company in the early 80s. This enabled Luke to receive an incredible musical education while he was just a boy, watching legendary shows by artists like Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, and Freddie Mercury.
Luke began playing guitar at the age of seven and became obsessed with the instrument the day his music teacher introduced him to the Blues. This was to become a valuable resource in his teens when he was diagnosed with Crohn's disease.
“One of the biggest things a rockstar needs is confidence, and by the age of 15 I had zero. I’d just been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and for the last three years of high school my only friend in the world was my guitar” – Luke Escombe
After studying English and Theatre at Sussex University, Luke moved from London to Sydney where he fell in love and married his Australian wife Kamilla. He started singing and performing his own songs at the age of 22 with outlandish funk band "Funklantis" before once again succumbing to his illness and spending much of his early 20's either housebound or in and out of the hospital.
“This beautiful girl, who’d given me back my confidence, went from being my wife to being my nursemaid. She showed me the true meaning of love” – Luke Escombe
As a side effect of the disease, Luke's left wrist was paralyzed for many months leaving him unsure if playing guitar again was possible. So, he began writing songs using simple keyboard hooks and hip-hop drum loops. Luke returned to the scene in 2010 showcasing a funky new style and more overtly comedic lyrics, including a new onstage persona — The Pimp.
On the advice of friends and audience members, Luke combined his new comedic material and pimp persona into a musical comedy show called “Chronic” which he performed at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2011. Since its debut, his unique and hilarious insider perspective on health issues has taken his career from bluesman to keynote speaker.
“I’ve now spoken about my illness on 4 continents, which makes me think it might be time to write a book and call it: “Incontinence on 4 Continents” – Luke Escombe
In early 2012, Luke became an official ambassador for Crohn's and Colitis Australia and was asked to speak for the second year in a row at Parliament House. He used the occasion to premiere his animated music video "Master Key" (a rap tune about public toilet access) to some of the nation's top politicians.
A few months later he joined forces with award-winning guitarist (and bandmate) Aaron Flower to present an expanded version of his Chronic show, featuring an 8-piece band with a string section, entitled "Chronic Symphonic." The ambitious show was a success, receiving a 4 and a half star review in the Sydney Morning Herald. Less than a month later, Luke took a decisive step in his long battle with Crohn's disease, undergoing ileostomy surgery that has left him disease-free for the first time in his adult life.
“I’ll never forget the day my wife told me she was pregnant. Until that moment, when I thought about the future I was thinking about six months, maybe a year ahead at most, now I realised the future meant thirty years. I signed the consent form that same week” – Luke Escombe
Becoming a dad for the first time in 2013 inspired Luke to create a brand new show for the 2014 Sydney Fringe called The Vegetable Plot. Described as a "roots musical for kids, families, and foodies" it has since grown into an internationally recognized children’s act, beloved by parents and kids across the world and used in thousands of schools as a health and education tool.
“What really kept me engaged was the sheer level of lyrical intellect and complexity, something that promises to keep the parents entertained while the kids are having a blast. Excellent morals delivered in a wonderful way by passionate people." – What's On Sydney
Luke has an amazing ability to change the perceptions of living with a chronic illness as well as inspire and educate others through music and humor. He is a rock-soul singer, amusing storyteller, blistering blues guitarist, a skilled comedian, talented songwriter — and outstanding at them all.
In 2017 Luke was honored with the title of “Hilarious Patient Leader” in the international WEGO Health Awards, but won his favorite title on a Sydney radio station back in 2011. He’d spoken at Australia’s Parliament House and was told by a politician that you can’t talk about bowel disease in the media because it’s not a “sexy” illness. A fan entered him into a radio competition to find “Sydney’s sexiest man voice.” Luke won the competition, and he’s been making bowel disease sound sexy ever since.