Gasoline Lollipops Gear Up For a New Beginning In Lieu of a Departure

By: Brody Coronelli

Drummer Adam Perry reflects on his decision to leave the band, and what’s on the horizon.

The Gasoline Lollipops have been a fixture in Colorado music for over six years. What began as a bar band became a group that can sell out the Fox Theater, open Red Rocks, get on the bill of some of the state’s most popular festivals, and have their name recognized all across the state. This meteoric rise wasn’t a passive one, though.

GasPops. Photo Credit:   George L. Blosser

GasPops. Photo Credit: George L. Blosser

Clay Rose’s songwriting was always too immense for the bars and breweries that gave the band their break, so their rise was always imminent. However, those who follow the band closely will notice that their rise to popularity happened right around the time their drummer Adam Perry joined back in 2016. The two met in a music class at Naropa University and became fast friends, which eventually led to Perry stepping behind the kit.

“I agreed to play some shows with the band until they found someone else. But in the middle of one of those shows, I had a moment where I realized, ‘Why would I not do this?’ So, it kind of took off, and we started playing all the time,” Perry says. “I did what I always do when I play in a band: I think about how it could grow, and how we could be on the radio. It was a bar band at the time, but the music [was much more than that]. Clay is an incredible songwriter, and it shouldn’t [have stayed] at [that] level. I started booking shows, contacting press, and getting us on the radio.”

Perry’s skills at working with press, booking, and promoting the band was the driving factor behind the band’s acceleration over the last two years. He helped turn a bar band with a performance that far outweighed their counterparts into a household name throughout the Front Range.

“Adam pushed us to a level where we were getting statewide recognition, and a lot of people knew our name. Booking agents started talking to us, but we weren’t really chomping on the bait, because as long as Adam was with us, we didn’t really need one,” says Clay Rose, the band’s frontman.

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Two years later, Perry has decided to leave the band. Citing his desire to spend more time with his family, focus more on work, and generally have less on his plate, his departure is completely amicable.

“Beyond music, Adam has been our manager. He’s built the railroads that we’ve been travelling on,” Rose says.

The amount of responsibility Perry took on- serving as the band’s drummer while also behind the wheel of all the bells and whistles it takes to keep a band relevant and in the public eye- was a lot, and what ultimately motivated his decision to leave the band.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to build railroads while you’re also on the train,” he says.

In addition to his duties with the band, Perry works at a law firm in Boulder, has an eight-year-old daughter, writes for Westword, and is an avid cyclist.

“I’m really embracing those things right now. It’s a great way to feel calm and still,” he says.

While the band has cultivated new friendships, connections, and a list of accomplishments that many musicians are never able to cross off their list, this sense of calm and stillness is something that’s often missing in his life.

“When we were on tour in Europe [in 2017], I was having a bit of a nervous breakdown. I realized that I can’t do this and everything in my life well if I’m putting it all into the band. But it’s nice that it’s an amicable split this time around,” he said, alluding to the musical fallouts he’s seen multiple times throughout his career.

Perry at Red Rocks. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Perry at Red Rocks. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Perry has been playing in bands since he was 16. Growing up in Pittsburgh, PA, music has been at the center of his life since the beginning, and as he’s gotten older, it’s remained important, but he’s ready to re-center and set his sights elsewhere.

“My only education in music was through punk rock in high school, so my form of drumming is very primitive and loud. I was playing in clubs and bars when I was 16, and it was just about how fast and hard you could play,” he says.

His background in punk-rock shines through loud and clear. His presence on the songs is pummelling and thunderous, giving the band a density that most alt-country and rock acts have a hard time capturing.

Perry’s other notable project in Colorado was The Yawpers, a band he helped form in the aughts. After his time with that band came to an end, his plan was to turn his back on playing music entirely. But meeting Rose and stumbling upon the magic of the Gasoline Lollipops changed his mind.

“I left The Yawpers in 2012 and told myself I’d never do the band thing again.” he says.

Perry’s decision to leave the Gasoline Lollipops comes six months after the band released Soul Mine, their fourth album. The record came from a band with a long history, but it carries the pent up energy and polishing of their raucous, gritty, and often sweeping blend of alt-country and rock‘n’roll that renders it more similar to a crashing, bombastic debut than an album from a band with steady footing.

Rose at Red Rocks. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Rose at Red Rocks. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

“I didn’t know how to push a band [before Adam joined]. You have to have an interesting story or a project to pitch to press, and he showed me how to do that and lit a fire under me as far as making [Soul Mine]”, Rose says.

Perry speaks of Rose with similar fondness of his role in the band, and the opportunities he’s granted them.

“With Clay, there isn’t a wall between him and his songs. Every other band I’ve been in, what the singer/songwriter is writing aims to portray something. I don’t think Clay could do that if he tried,” he says.

Perry’s last show with the band is their headlining show at The Bluebird on May 18th. With support from RL Cole & The Hell You Say and Grayson County Burn Ban, the night will be a celebration of where the Gasoline Lollipops have been, and where they’re headed from here on out.

Rose wants to dedicate his time to other projects at the moment as well, so it could be a year or two before we get another GasPops album, but until then, the band is just as alive as ever. They recently opened for The Tallest Man On Earth at Bluebird Music Festival, and they’re on the bill to play Grandoozy this September, sharing the stage with Kendrick Lamar, Sturgill Simpson, and St. Vincent, among other high profile acts. This is where the band was headed from the beginning, and they couldn’t have done it without Perry.

“Eventually, we might’ve reached the point we’re at now, but without Adam, it would’ve taken a really long time. This is where I always wanted to be, but I had no idea how to get here,” Rose says.

There’s a lot on the horizon for The Gasoline Lollipops in wake of Perry leaving. Whatever it ends up being, Rose assured me that it’ll take on a new sound.

“[Our new music is] going to sound a lot different. I’ve always had a definite direction where [my music] is heading, but I never see it until the last minute. It’ll definitely be more psychedelic and dreamy,” he says.

Here’s to a new beginning for the band, in lieu of a departure. Get tickets for GasPops Bluebird show here.

-Brody

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Gasoline Lollipops Brought A Storm Of Sound To Debut Red Rocks Performance

By: Hannah Oreskovich

There's a certain feeling of pride you get when you see local artists accomplish something big, like when The Yawpers were signed with Bloodshot Records or when Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats got their first Jimmy Fallon gig and blasted into the international spotlight. This week, that same heartwarming feeling was much aglow as fans watched Colorado’s Gasoline Lollipops take the stage at the state’s best, Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Clay Rose.

Clay Rose.

The GasPops, as the band is more affectionately known to fans, first started back in 2009. Founding and original member Clay Rose, who is also the project’s frontman, grew up between Boulder & Nashville’s music markets. Piecing together sounds from each city’s scene, along with other influences, GasPops music combines punk, alternative, folk, country, and rock’n’roll. The Boulder band have been called everything from gypsy punk to “dirt floor folk” and played just about every venue in the state to date over the last six years.

Except for The Rocks. And that's why Monday’s show was just so special.

As the opening entertainment for the film Twister, the last “Film On The Rocks” of the summer for Denver Film Society’s series, Gasoline Lollipops brought a real storm of sound to the stage. There was a boot-stompin’ thunder of drums and standup bass (courtesy of Adam Perry and Brad Morse respectively), tempestuous, warm crackles of sound from Rose’s harmonica mic and Jeb Bows’ (Gregory Alan Isakov) violin solos, and a whirlwind of tight, raining vocal harmonies between Alexandra Schwan and Rose. Donny Ambory’s electric guitar playing also added a swirl of heated rebelliousness to the mix, an element the Gasoline Lollipops are well-known to evoke in their live shows.

GasPops on the Rocks.

GasPops on the Rocks.

The band opened their hour set with “Smoke and Steam” and played songs from several of their records, including “Death,” “Longest Night,” “Love Is Free,” “The Wire,” and “White Trash.” The six-piece also introduced us to some new tunes from their upcoming record Soul Mine, “Leaving Alone” and “Burns.” And the crowd, who sat for the film, were on their feet for the entirety of the GasPops’ set. There were hollers, cheers, and a lot of dancing happening between the night’s glowing rocks, which seem to be common sights and sounds at the punk rock hoedown that is a Gasoline Lollipops show.

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Overall, Gasoline Lollipops played a very Red Rocks-worthy performance for their debut at the venue. After the show, several crowd members voiced that they hoped for a GasPops storm to hit the rocks again next year. I'm hoping for it too but until then, catch them at the Fox Theatre this December for their Soul Mine vinyl release show, or drop everything and roll with them on their upcoming overseas tour this fall, where the GasPops storm of sound will be raging on.

Keep up with Gasoline Lollipops here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

From Death to Dawn Comes 'Resurrection': Catch The Gasoline Lollipops at The Fox Theatre This Valentine's Day

By: Mirna Tufekcic

There’s a reason why a band gains momentum. Sometimes people connect through the language of music, and what comes of it, well, it’s undeniable. That’s kind of the story of Gasoline Lollipops, a band escaping genre confinement as they set every show ablaze with heart-forward, stomping, growling tunes.

Jeb Bows, an exceptional fiddler from the tiny town of Ward, CO, talked about this language of music with me recently, in an interview about his role in the Gas Pops.

“I was four years old when my eye caught a violin posted on the wall of the cabin I was born in.” Jeb told me, taking me back to the start of his music career.

Jeb Bows.

Jeb Bows.

“I learned to play music as someone would learn to speak their native language.” Jeb said, “It’s called the Suzuki Method, invented by Shinichi Suzuki, a Japanese violinist. The premise of the method is listening to sounds and figuring out how to produce the sounds you’re hearing, not unlike a baby learns to speak from watching and mimicking its parents… Music’s been my life path since.”

Jeb plays the fiddle with the Gas Pops, but he also dabbles in other music projects.  

As he says, “I stay really busy, but rarely do I say no,” when it comes to playing with other musicians and singer-songwriters. You’ll see him playing a sold out Red Rocks shows with Gregory Alan Isakov or in a local coffee shop swooning a small crowd with his violin alongside other, lesser known, but no less talented musicians. Bows has a keen ability to sync with anybody he plays with, a gift and a privilege he is very well aware of having.  

The Gasoline Lollipops. 

The Gasoline Lollipops. 

But not all of Jeb’s life was as smooth as the vibrations he creates on that fiddle of his. He spent a chunk of time in Los Angeles walking down a dark, dead-end road and lost himself in the process. He stopped playing music for a while. It took a few years of meandering in the dark for fate to finally come knocking. And she gave him a choice, “What’s it gonna be, Jeb Bows, music or death?”  

Right around the time Jeb was figuring out his way back to sobriety, Clay Rose, the frontman of the Gas Pops was fighting his own demons and self-destructive behavior. Clay grew up in the South, always an outsider bullied by other kids for being different. He was a rebel without a cause, maybe, but he was definitely someone who wanted to make himself stand tall… but not before hitting rock bottom first. As fate would have it, when Jeb moved from L.A. back to Boulder, and Clay moved to Boulder from Nashville, Clay started the Gas Pops and Jeb joined very shortly afterward, the two having met through a mutual friend.

Clay Rose (left) and Brad Morse of Gasoline Lollipops.

Clay Rose (left) and Brad Morse of Gasoline Lollipops.

When I asked Clay about his inspiration for Gas Pops he told me, “If you put a tin can over my chest and listen you would hear this… The [Gas Pops] songs are extremely personal. It’s where I come to play, to confess, for redemption, and where I flog myself.”   

Music for Clay is a way of coping with feelings that have no place in this world; it’s what saved him and gave him a purpose. Though his start in the language of music was admittedly a little different. One of his earliest musical influences was a random cassette tape he found in his mother’s closet with Leonard Cohen on one side, and Tim Buckley on the other.

“That’s when I started writing poetry, because I realized Cohen was writing about things I didn’t know you could talk about. I didn’t know there was language for it. He validated that these things exist and that they can be expressed.”

Clay went on, “There’s a lot of songs I write that I won't play for anyone for months, because I think, man, I can’t be that transparent. But, eventually, I’ll present it to the band and they’ll urge me to play it at our shows. So, I’ll play it and cringe for months.Then the people from the crowd will come up to me and affirm that that song means alot to them, and I start to feel better about it. And that’s when I remember the reason I’m doing this in the first place. My function, my validation as a musician, is to validate the lonely and suffering.”

And Jeb’s musical mission isn’t far from Clay’s.

“I’ve dedicated my life to sharing in the light and love and connecting with everyone who wants to play and listen, because, in the end, we’re all better for it.” Bows smiled.

The truth is, if you get the Gas Pops in a room, the whole crowd will undoubtedly perk their ears and pay attention. The band taps into something others can relate to, whether through the language of hardship or love, and they prove time and again that their music is something to get down and dance to no matter your life experiences.

Gasoline Lollipops’ music has been called alt country, gypsy folk, and punk rock among others. Even the guys themselves can’t quite tell you what genre they sound like. But really, who cares? If we can connect through the language of music itself without having to confine it to genre, then I think times are ripe with progress. These days you’re a good musician if you can pluck from the tree of knowledge and make it into something totally your own. Sometimes it takes a group of people to create a special work of art, and sometimes trials and tribulations to show you the way. That’s the Gas Pops.  

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The Gasoline Lollipops just finished their new album Resurrection, the final piece of their Lucky 7 Trilogy, and are celebrating this Valentine’s Day with a CD Release Party at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, Colorado. Foxfeather and Kid Reverie will share the stage. Explore the Gas Pops’ language of music for yourself on a night where we could all use light and love- get your tickets here!

-Mirna

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Behind the 777 Album Set, an LSD Trip, & 'Resurrection': Our Interview with Clay Rose, Frontman of Gasoline Lollipops

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Recently, I had the chance to talk with Clay Rose, the frontman of Colorado's alternative country/folk-punk group Gasoline Lollipops. With the help of producer John McVey and Gregory Alan Isakov violinist Jeb Bows, the GasPops have been putting the finishing touches on their upcoming album Resurrection, thus tying together their 777 album set. Clay and I discussed the band name, the intersection of life and death, and how their music speaks to the evolution of the human soul. Read on:

You’re settled in Boulder now, but where are you all from?

All over the map: I grew up between Boulder and Nashville, our guitar player Donny comes from Chicago, and our bass player Brad is from Niceville, FL. Brad’s the nicest guy you’ve ever met. Adam’s from Pittsburgh, and our fiddle player, Jeb, is from Ward, CO.

Gasoline Lollipops has been a functioning musical machine since 2009. How did you all come to be what you are now?

I’m the last original member of the band; Jeb is another original member, but he’s generally on the road a lot with Gregory Alan Isakov or Brandi Carlile. So whenever he’s not on the road, he’s playing with us.

Boulder has an incredibly eclectic music scene, how did you all come to settle there?

There was no conscious decision to do that. Although, when I moved back here from Nashville in 2002, the music scene was pretty happening, with lots of smaller venues and a wide array of musical styles being played. But, like its architecture, Boulder's music scene has become more homogenized. So now I drive a lot, playing in places like Fort Collins and Denver.

Gasoline Lollipops. Photo Credit:   WeTubers  .

Gasoline Lollipops. Photo Credit: WeTubers.

You’ve got quite a diverse string lineup, with one of my favorites, the stand up bass. How did you come to choose this lineup?

It’s a very natural process. If you don’t try to sound like anything, you’re going to end up sounding like like what you listen to. It’s an extremely diverse collection, and I never try to control how any of the players of the band sound. If I like their style and what I’m hearing, I bring them into the band. Donny has a country/rockabilly background, Brad is from classical jazz, Adam is very punk rock, and Jeb has bluegrass-gypsy feel. I like all those kinds of music, and I listen to all of it. So when you put it together, you get something vaguely familiar and extremely real.

You’re classified as “dirt floor folk with the energy of rebelliousness of punk”. That’s a very colorful description of your music. Is that a description that you guy came up with?

The “dirt floor” saying comes from the style of playing where the musicians would stomp through the floor down into the dirt. Our sound sets us up for that kind of genre.

If you could categorize Gasoline Lollipops' sound by a meal or type of food, what meal would it be?

Holy crap, well it wouldn’t be anything I’d want to eat. Maybe Tex Mex with a scoop of ice cream and cinnamon schnapps poured all over it. We also came up with an acronym for our genre called PAFC*R (punk alternative folk country rock). So that’s a good way to describe us.

Speaking of food, your band name, Gasoline Lollipops, elicits a very visceral reaction, if you ask me. Where does the name Gasoline Lollipops come from?

It comes from LSD, to be honest with you. Actually, the name came way before the band. It came from eating LSD with a friend back in high school, sitting around coming up with band names. I don’t even think I played guitar at the time. The name came up and it stuck with me, like, “Man, if I ever come up with a band, I’m going to name it Gasoline Lollipops”. I think the band kind of ended up growing into our name. We play things that are sweet and sincere, on one hand, and explosive on the other. It really is lyrical folk punk.

Clay Rose.

Clay Rose.

I hear you guys are a fairly superstitious group who dabble in the supernatural from time to time. For example, your “777” album mantra. Would you mind talking more about that?

Yes, superstition rock, which more stems from a gambling addiction. 777 will save your life, you know, when you pawn off the last penny of your chipped college fund. So 777 in that regard, is the same kinda deal as Jesus. Or Elvis, if you’re in Vegas. In Vegas, Elvis and Jesus are the same person. So that’s where all lines intersect, in Vegas.

You guys have two albums released already; 'Dawn' and 'Death'. And your upcoming album is 'Resurrection'. Will you continue your 777 theme after that last release?

No, so the 777 deal is that there are 7 songs on each of the 3 albums. So we’re hoping that once Resurrection is released, that will spark the second coming of Jesus or Elvis… or both.

And when will 'Resurrection' be released?

Nothing is set in stone yet. We keep vacillating between Halloween and Valentine’s Day.

Kickin' it live. Photo Credit:   Joshua Elioseff

Kickin' it live. Photo Credit: Joshua Elioseff

How else does your belief in the supernatural play into your music? What other themes pop up in your music?

I definitely sing about damnation a lot. I sing about gambling, devils, angels, and resurrection, but I always have to believe in resurrection, even in the darkest songs. I gotta put in at least a little peppering of that into each song.

Would you consider yourself a religious group at all?

(Laughs) [We’re] absolutely not religious; we’re the most hedonistic band you can think of. It’s just writing about life experiences, but I have to put it in the context the masses can relate to. Many people in this culture think in a dualistic nature. They want to know if you’re talking about light or dark, black or white. So you have to use that language, but I’m really just talking about the evolution of the human soul.

Are there any songs in particular that you would recommend for somebody who is interested in these themes?

Definitely- listen to the songs “Resurrection,” “Devil's in the Ace”, and “Cannonball”.

Do each of these albums tie-in together, concept wise? Or are they completely different?

Not completely different. Like I said, I try to speak in dualities in practice, but I tried to make Dawn the more idealistic album, and Death the more jaded "falling into darkness" album. Resurrection will kick off where Death left off, but will redeem itself back into the light… hopefully.

Are you working on any new music?

Yeah, we are definitely bringing a lot of new music into our live shows that are not even in Resurrection. We’ve probably got half of our next album already written. We can’t stay in one genre for too long, so it’ll be something new.

You just played at Underground Music Showcase this summer, and at an erotic novel convention in Las Vegas. Any other upcoming performances?

We’re playing one huge show at Caribou Room on September 23, and we’re really excited about that. It’s a fairly new venue and they’re really going all out for it.

If you could pick one of your creative idols to sit down with, alive or deceased, who would you choose?

It would be Leonard Cohen. I wouldn’t want to say a word. I would just want to sit in silence and look at him.

Great answer. So lastly, any final sentiments? Anything you’d like the world to know?

Just that the Gasoline Lollipops love you.

Be sure to catch the GasPops next at their Caribou Room (9/23) show in Nederland, Colorado. Other shows they’ve got on the books include Swing Station (10/14) in Fort Collins, Denver’s Hi-Dive (11/10), and the historic Gold Hill Inn in Boulder on New Year’s Eve. And keep up with them on their Facebook.

-Jura

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.