Editor’s Note: “For so long I thought we had to have a genre,” says frontman/songwriter/visionary Clay Rose. “At first it was a cow-punk band, then I needed a rock band, then a folk rock band, then I needed a country band, then I needed an Americana band. But I guess coloring inside the lines is not in my cards.” Bully for that. Outside the lines is where things get interesting.
It’s a necessary evil to liken an artist to a better-known commodity, so how about the Jayhawks (with balls) and Nick Drake? Tom Petty and Leonard Cohen meeting for coffee. James McMurtry remaking the Black Crowes in his own image. A side-salad of Muscle Shoals with a tangy dash of Stax. Yadda yadda. Short answer, the Gas Pops sound like the United States of America. Yesterday, the Gasoline Lollipops released their poignant and eye-opening album entitled “All The Misery Money Can Buy”. In this Mental Health Conversation with Madness To Creation, Clay Rose of Gasoline Lollipops discusses sobriety, the music video to the title track and coping with the Covid-19 pandemic. Fans can find Gasoline Lollipops at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: September 11th sees the release “All The Misery Money Can Buy”. Take us into the writing process of the album, what were some difficulties that you had and some rewarding points in creating this album?
Clay: Some challenges included learning to co-write (as I had never really done that before), and with my mother, no less! The band got in on the action as well, and my childhood friend, Max Davies had a hand in a few of these songs. My mama, Donna Farar, was the veteran of the group having written songs for the last 45 years. Another challenge was writing outside of my acquainted style/genre. We went wherever the songs bid us go on this record, which was some highly unfamiliar territory.The rewards of making this album were the same as the challenges. In the creative process, the last thing you want to be is comfortable.
Madness To Creation: How have you grown as a songwriter and what’s the next thing you want to work on as a songwriter?
Clay: I think I’ve grown sideways as a songwriter. As opposed to growing up, that is. Which is fine with me, there’s more to see down here. I hope to zig-zag close to the earth until I die. After that I’ll grow up.
Madness To Creation: Basically reading the press release, there are some concerns that you have with the capitalist system? If you could create a system, what would it be?
Clay: It would be one in which equality reigned over oppression. One in which, the weak were protected, the elderly revered, the young encouraged and given the resources to manifest their dreams. One in which corporate law contained and limited the insatiable hunger of greed. One that protected the earth’s environment and wildlife before human capital gains. I don’t know what you’d call that, but it sure as hell ain’t capitalism.
Madness To Creation: The video for “All The Misery Money Can Buy” was poignant. I participated in the protesting in the Midwest. What can WE do to make the situation better for black Americans?
Clay: We can listen to the oppressed, work to understand their plight to the best of our ability and stand with them on the front lines. Not all oppression is racist, but all racism is oppressive. That’s why the fight against oppression needs to start with the BLM movement, because it is in this country’s racist oppression that we see the most violence and death, as we have for the last 400 years.
Madness To Creation: Do you have a political message at your shows, if so what is it?
Clay: Get Up!
Madness To Creation: How are you coping with the Covid-19 pandemic?
Clay: It’s hard. I’m glad I have an album to release and children to raise, otherwise I probably would’ve relapsed by now, and God knows I don’t need excuses as big as a pandemic and civil unrest to start drinking. Hell, I drank for 20 years without any excuse at all.
Madness To Creation: I’m also sober! I’d love to hear your sobriety story 🙂 How does it impact your mental health?
Clay: Congratulations! It’s not always easy, but it’s always easier than the alternative. Sobriety gives me the opportunity (not the guarantee) for mental health. The last few years before I got sober I was pretty mentally, spiritually, and physically ill. Getting clean and dry is a good way to arrest the illness, but if I want to actually be healthy, I have to work for it every day. While COVID hasn’t landed me on the rocks drinking, it has definitely served as an excuse to fall off my daily mental/spiritual fitness routine, which is dangerous. I know the difference between healthy and ill now, and I know I’ve been walking on thin ice lately. It’s definitely time to adjust to this new reality rather than waiting for it to pass. If I keep doing that, I’m liable to be dead before the pandemic blows over, and it wouldn’t be from COVID.
Madness To Creation: Use a movie title to describe your album.
Clay: Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure!
Madness To Creation: If you could interview anyone alive or dead, who would it be?
And there you have it! You can check out “All The Misery Money Can Buy” via Spotify below: