In anticipation of the Gasoline Lollipops show at the Aggie on April 12, frontman Clay Rose took some time out to chat and spill the beans on what’s in store for the band in 2019. From its humble beginnings, Gasoline Lollipops has grown from the saving power of song.
A recovering addict, Rose easily gives music the credit for changing his life. As to the creation of Gasoline Lollipops,
”I don’t think anyone would have joined my band on purpose. It came upon them like a thick fog, and when the fog cleared, they were in too deep to get out. So they’re all in it with me now.”
The current lineup is Rose vocals and guitar, Donny Ambory on guitar, Bradley Morse on bass and Kevin Matthews on drums.
Through the years, the band’s albums have taken on a rich library that mirrors Rose’s experience. In looking back, Rose describes the creative process that incubates in an altered state. Although it lacks perspective while it’s happening, with time and reflection the understanding reveals itself.
Beginning with the GasPops’ first release, Dawn, themes about a budding music career are present with all the hope and innocence of a new journey. This was followed by Death, a dark exploration of how a turn to chemical dependency affected creativity and spirit, culminating with Resurrection and getting clean.
Lastly, Rose described the bands most recent album, “Soul Mine-ing became an exercise in seeing what could be salvaged from that whole process and what needed to be built anew and what needed to be burnt down in order to move forward.
Rose mentioned that things are still working themselves out and that a lot of exciting changes are happening. “Big surprises are afoot.” Rose was tight-lipped about what those might be.
With numerous local shows, this spring and summer including June 29 at Buffalo Rose and a slot at Folks Fest in Lyons alongside the Violent Femmes and Ani DiFranco, the local scene for the band is all but exploding. Also in the mix are some big trips to the west coast and Alaska.
All this activity makes the band stretch the hours in the day. ”This is life in technicolor,” Rose says; he sites a lot of people around him who keep things moving. He describes himself as living moments of quiet and just waiting for someone to knock on the door. The GasPops have been answering quite a few knocks lately. As a band that is “super, super busy but hasn’t broken through the next level,” Rose feels it’s a sweet spot.
Creative eras are often hard times within the historical timeline, and Rose likes to parallel his life in history, The doors never end; it’s like two mirrors looking at each other, and the journey is a slow burn. Rose sees this as a blessing and spoke about the beauty of the journey.
In his childhood, traveling back and forth between Tennessee and Colorado was abrupt. Taking plane trips and falling asleep in one state and waking in another left him shell shocked. Even coast-to-coast trips with his truck-driver father felt too fast. “The blur raced by. The best way to travel is walking,” Rose says, so the current pace the GasPops are on is just fine, allowing them time to enjoy the path and create music for their growing fan base.
In true Colorado form, the Gasoline Lollipops’ headlining show at the Gothic in February was amid a blizzard and yet 600 people still showed up.
The crowd was alive, and the feeling of connection was emotionally exhilarating. “There was a community of victory for surviving the drive,” according to Rose. It’s this kind of audience that Rose really loves. Bred out of the great support of the Colorado music scene, it’s fans that Rose deeply connects with who make the experience real.
Currently, the band is cooking up some great new sounds for their next release. Catch them at their next few Northern Colorado appearances, including a hangout session with fans this Saturday, April 6 at Odell Brewing in Fort Collins and a headlining show at the Aggie on Friday, April 12 with openers the Alcapones and Tallgrass.
Jen Folsom (b. 1975) is an artist and educator based in Fort Collins. She earned an MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design and currently is an instructor at UNC and FRCC and has been published nationally covering arts and culture. Follow me at @alchemyfoto on instagram
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