Music

Gasoline Lollipops Encourage Us to "Get Up" (premiere)

Photo: Courtesy of the artist

A call to action with an insistent beat, "Get Up" crystalizes the themes heard on Gasoline Lollipops' upcoming album, All the Misery Money Can Buy.

All the Misery Money Can Buy, the new LP from Colorado's Gasoline Lollipops, is available on 11 September 2020 via Soundly Music. One can get a taste of the Boulder outfit's soulful approach to rock 'n' roll on the latest single, "Get Up!" With propulsive rhythms and a chorus meant to be shouted from the mountaintops of rock 'n' roll (the stage or the dance floor), it's a powerful reminder of the Gasoline Lollipops' blue-collar ethic and white-hot music.

Frontperson Clay Rose notes that the single fits with the LP's everyman themes. "It's a call to action," he says. "It's probably the epitome of everything we write about on the album: Unifying people across party lines, the disparity of wealth, the common ailments that we have in the culture. Musically, it' like a '50s rock 'n' roll song, which we found to be an effective elixir for dense messages."

For All the Misery Money Can Buy, Rose worked for the first time with the entire band, though he added his mother and childhood friend Max Davies into the mix as well. "It was a process of me breaking out of my shell, rethinking songwriting as being so precious and delicate that I can't let anybody else touch it," he notes. "For me, writing is a very private and kind of spiritual experience. It's sort of my church. But I realized that not every song has to be that way. The songs that I co-wrote were less like church and more like a family picnic."

Collaboration can present a series of challenges, he adds, but taking the material in unexpected directions can be one of its great rewards. "Once you get past the stage of 'Fuck you, what do you know?' and can look at things objectively, it's great," Rose cracks. "That, for me, was the hardest part."

The easiest collaboration, however, proved to be with his mother, Donna Farar. "That moves even more naturally than writing by myself. I've been listening to my mom's songs since I was a little kid. She's been writing since before I was born," he recalls. She's from Austin, so she knew Jerry Jeff Walker, Willis Alan Ramsey. Willie Nelson recorded one of her songs ("Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning"). She came out to Colorado for about two weeks, and we wrote the songs that are on this record, then about a half dozen that we're hoping to put on a mother/son record."

This time out, he says, the material was more than just a collection of songs. There was deliberate consideration about not only the material and its intentions but the audience that would be receiving the songs as well. "I would say this is about the working man's plight," he notes. "There are love songs on here, but even the love songs have to do with economic struggle and living for a dream and banking everything you've got on it."

Rose adds that these concerns come from his personal experiences in America: "I've been broke as a joke my whole life. As the class disparity gets wider and wider, it seems like there isn't a real voice of the working man out there. At least not on Top 40 radio. Everybody's grasping at this carrot being dangled in front of us. Let's live a fantasy and ignore the fact that we all have these 60-hour-a-week, highly underpaid, high-risk jobs. Let's just go blow all our money at the nightclub and pretend we're rock stars."

In the end, he says, politics have become a dividing line even for those in the working class. "I hope we can see what the real enemy is and unify against it."

In choosing where to track the songs, the group opted for somewhere below the Mason-Dixon line, ultimately retreating to Dockside Studio in Lafayette, Louisiana, which came replete with residential space. "We really wanted to capture that Muscle Shoals sound, that marriage of soul music and Southern rock."

Tracked directly to tape, the record ultimately retains a warm vibe that recalls music of the late 1960s and early 1970s without serving as a museum piece. That marriage of the past and present is also notable in the video for "All The Misery Money Can Buy", which found Rose at the heart of history by accident.

Having booked time with a videographer, his initial intention was to travel to Denver, where he'd walk the distance between the most economically depressed area of the city to its most affluent. "We were going to show the disparity of wealth and misery across any given ten miles," he offers. In the meantime, George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis spurred a series of protests across the country, including one in Denver, which happened to coincide with the video shoot. "There were trucks full of cops in riot gear riding by," says Rose. "I walked right into a protest. All of a sudden, I'm marching with 2,000 people!"



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