Congrats to the Gasoline Lollipops, the artist that earned your vote for Colorado Spirit in this year’s Colorado Sound Music Awards!
By Adam Perry
Not many Colorado bands make the successful leap from playing any dive bar that’ll pay a couple bucks and free drinks to selling out clubs and theaters, let alone playing memorable sets at Red Rocks and annually inspiring Front Range fans to fly to the Caribbean for beachfront sets, but Gasoline Lollipops is not just any Colorado band. Alt-country singer-songwriter Clay Rose, who spent his childhood in the mountains around Boulder, fronted Gasoline Lollipops through nearly a decade of liquor-soaked free-admission Tuesday nights at the Waterloo’s tiny original location in Louisville, slowly developing a dedicated following that stuck with the band through its elevation to ticketed headliner.
The GasPops, as the group is affectionately known by its fans, released a debut full-length called Resurrection in 2017, featuring a hit single, “Love Is Free,” which greatly contributed to Rose and Co. jumping from the bar circuit to bigger things.
Winner of the Colorado Sound’s fan-voted Top 20 Colorado Bands for 2021 and now the winner of the Colorado Spirit award in the inaugural Colorado Sound Music Awards, Gasoline Lollipops have left a unique mark on the Centennial State, and Rose didn’t hesitate when asked how his band embodies the spirit of Colorado.
“We seem to attract the best people – the ones that are community-oriented instead of sort of the capitalist model of ‘Every man for himself.’ All the fans of GasPops are a community and I’ve watched them all help each other through hard times and through obstacles in a way that I didn’t really think people came together. I’ve seen it exemplified by the people that surround us.”
Rooted in Rose’s lifetime love of country, folk and punk, the iconic tall, blond frontman also didn’t miss a beat when asked why the music and lyrics of Gasoline Lollipops seem to be so synonymous with a certain element of Colorado.
“There are a lot of train beats,” he explains, “and I think trains are what put Colorado on the map. It’s like working songs; there’s a rhythm you can work to, so it’s definitely working-class music.”
As for his lyrics, “The content of it deals a lot with hardship and suffering, which I think is an intrinsic part of at least living in the mountains around here. It’s hard living but it’s worth it for the beauty.”
It’s not lost on Rose that dynamic members of Gasoline Lollipops have come and gone, and with the Soul Mine and All the Misery Money Can Buy albums the group has steered away from its signature train-beat outlaw-country into rock and soul, but its dedicated fans are still very much along for the ride. He jokes that the appeal hasn’t waned “because I’m suffering just as much as I was on the first record.”
“I’ve picked up some life skills over the life of the band,” he muses, “but I was born and raised in these mountains, and what it put in me and what I put out of me is all from the same source as it was at the beginning.”
About that Colorado spirit, Rose says it’s a symbiotic relationship.
“Colorado is so big and there’s so much diversity in the music scene here and in the music fans that there’s really no reason for me to leave. I’ve definitely never found people that connect with music as deeply and personally as people in Colorado.”
Meet the 2022 Colorado Sound Music Award Winners
Meet all the 2022 Colorado Sound Music Award nominees