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.

a3287008603_16.jpg

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.

Review: Gasoline Lollipops' New Record 'Soul Mine' Leaves Nothing Left Unsaid

By: Julia Talen

Colorado's beloved alt-country band Gasoline Lollipops release their new album Soul Mine  this month, with a vinyl release party happening December 16th at The Fox Theatre in Boulder. The band will be making their homecoming after a long stint in Europe touring throughout Belgium and the Netherlands. Fans and listeners will not be disappointed, as this album gives us the rugged-punk, country rock’n’roll sound fans know and love while exploring themes of emotional heartbreak, pain, motivation, and growth. The opening track and title of the album hint at the content within, as the band welds together folk and untamed alternative-country-rock to produce a record full of depth, stories, and music that compels listeners to take a stand while also contemplating.

Gasoline Lollipops at Red Rocks. Photo:   Hannah Oreskovich

Gasoline Lollipops at Red Rocks. Photo: Hannah Oreskovich

Clay Rose's voice immediately reminded me of the likes of Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen; deep, gritty and dark, yet sustained with unwavering intensity and truth. The title track begins with a soulful, bluesy opening accompanying Rose's rich vocals and the band's groovy guitar solos. Lyrics like "started out digging for diamonds and gold/now I'm digging through the long, dark night of the soul/to see dawn" and "love springs from deep wells/faith is born in the forge of hell/forge on" allude to the theme of the album: one of transformation. "Soul Mine," evolves as a track as well. At one point the refrain builds and then pulls back, stripped down to bare instruments and vocals, only to rebuild into an epic finish that swells. This engrossing track sets the tone for the album as listeners dive deep into stories of loss and evolution.

22048077_1427946270608099_2423282490125246563_o.jpg

The first half of the album is filled with songs that showcase Gasoline Lollipop's eclectic style and ability to explore country rock beyond the confines of a genre. Rose's profound voice sounds subterranean and electrified at times, while other times rustic and lightened, yet still powerful. Drum beats, guitar solos, and harmonic keys shine through in many of the tracks as listeners settle into the tales that the album chronicles. "Woman and a Gun," the third track, begins slowly and vocally; it sounds like a story told near a fire out west about an outlaw named Jessie. The tune's refrain breaks the early, rustic, folktale feel as the track builds. The second half of the song surges with lyrics, "all my faith is a bullet/all my God is a gun/all this world was just smoke and mirrors/I'm gonna break them one by one." After repeating the last verse, "gonna break them one by one," the song launches into a fast, dynamic progression full of intricate guitar solos and percussion that intensifies, elevating the ending of the track by taking it to an edge.

gasoline-lollipops-714x570.jpg

As the album continues, listeners move through songs of heartbreak. "Casanova" wavers in and out of a harsh rock’n'roll sound and a slow, somber refrain: "If a man goes livin'/for the heart for too long/he's bound to be eaten alive." The track "Montreal" details an ending and nostalgia for the past, as GasPops evoke emotion and leave nothing left unsaid.

"Burns" comes soon after and opens with strings that cry out from the start. There is an evocative darkness hovering over the track, that reminded me of The National. However, Rose's voice builds and breaks boundaries as he repeats "and it burns" towards the end of the track. This one gave me chills, because once again, it felt like GasPops were taking me into the fire with them. Their music goes beyond instruments and vocals; their passionate lyrics, layered with brilliant instrumentals, grab you and take you into an experience they construct with their music, one in which you feel the pain from a past memory that their music expresses in the present moment.

John-Spalvins-Soul-Mine.jpg

After exploring more heavy transformation and darkness with tracks titled, "Ghost of a Man," and "Leaving Alone," the album ends with the tune, "Put me to the Task," a hopeful send off, complete with elements of upbeat country rock. The steel guitar and violin liven the tune along with Rose's vocals and the warm harmonies that round out the refrain. The bass carries through and lights a spark under the folds of sound that grow throughout the song. The song finishes off with lyrics, "Well I know/time has come to make good what we don't/but I'm eager to please." We are left with some light at the end of this dark, yet resounding album.

Soul Mine takes listeners to a vulnerable threshold, all the while showcasing the band's dynamic sounds, sounds that truly liberate them from one specific genre. This mighty and gripping album is one that listeners can relate to, contemplate, and even dance to, making it an album that anyone can connect with. Don't miss Gasoline Lollipops album release party on December 16th at The Fox Theatre, followed by their NYE show December 31 at Hodi's Half Note in Fort Collins!           

-Julia

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.

0K7A1947.jpg

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.