By Quentin Young
One of the livelier aspects of Frozen Dead Guy Days, an annual celebration in Nederland based on a man named Bredo Morstoel who is cryogenically preserved, is its live music lineup, and the Gasoline Lollipops are one local band that seems well suited to the event.
The alt-country band’s last EP was titled Death. The title song contains the growled refrain, “Death was all around.” The band is working on a new EP, to be called Resurrection. These are themes to which Morstoel can relate.
Also, the Boulder-based Gasoline Lollipops, which are returning for their second appearance at Dead Guy Days, find that the “mountain people” crowd that comes out to shows in the towns west of Boulder are their primary demographic, singer Clay Rose said.
“It just feels like family,” he said, adding, using a popular shortened version of the band’s name: “They have this open arms policy for the GasPops. It’s unexplainable, but I’m very grateful for it.”
Last year the band performed in one of the festival’s tents.
“It was a packed house and it’s in the tent, everybody’s dancing in the straw,” Rose said. “That’s sort of our best environment to play in, shy of, like, a barn. We play a lot of barn burners.”
They’ll be back in a tent this year — the 3B Tent (the three “B”s are bourbon, bacon and brews), from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in downtown Nederland. It’s the last performance before the 2016 Frozen Dead Guy Days is — how to say this — put to rest.
After Morstoel died of a heart condition in Norway in 1989, family members had him shipped to the Trans Time cryonics facility in Oakland, Calif., and frozen in liquid nitrogen, according to a history on the festival website. He was later transferred to a Tuff Shed in Nederland, the town where his daughter and grandson, strong advocates for cryonics, lived. Morstoel’s story eventually drew international attention, and the local chamber of commerce leveraged the notoriety by founding a festival around it.
The event this year includes coffin races, a costumed polar plunge, frozen T-shirt contests, a party called the Blue Ball and 30 bands. The bands include some of the area’s top acts, such as Euforquestra, Cold River City, In the Whale, The Drunken Hearts, The Samples, Dead Floyd, DeadPhish Orchestra, Gipsy Moon and Strange Americans.
Recent changes for the Gasoline Lollipops have left it a new band in many ways. It has parted ways with longtime drummer Jonny Mouser, and former Yawpers drummer Adam Perry has stepped in. Rose met Perry when they were students in a Naropa University music class about eight years ago, Rose said, and Perry was the first person he called when the position at the GasPops kit opened up. Rose said Perry has picked up the material quickly and has fit right in.
“He’s killing it,” Rose said.
Rose himself is feeling something like a new person. The 36-year-old said he has stopped living the “rock ’n’ roll” lifestyle and gotten serious about his art and his role as a father to his son.
“I just feel like it’s a time for rebirth in my life right now,” he said. “My lifestyle has changed very drastically in these last few months.”
He realized that he was acting like a rock star to become one, but he has learned that his newfound calm, sober manner of living makes it easier to create music. Rose, who is prone to speaking in ready-made poetic lines, put it this way: “It’s hard to write about a storm while you’re in the storm. The paper keeps blowing away.”
The Gasoline Lollipops had been working on a new EP, Resurrection, last year, but the project was grounded.
“I was not prepared to be resurrected just then,” Rose said.
With new personnel and attitudes, the band is ready to try recording again.
“Our new strategy is to go into the studio and just knock it out live,” Rose said. “Now we know exactly what we want, and we sound how we want to sound.”
The band, which also includes bassist Brad Morse and guitarist Donny Ambory, plans to record in Ambory’s home studio, which Rose is helping to build. Rose sounds optimistic about the band’s future, but even more so about his own.
“The path has just sort of been appearing in front of me as I put my foot down,” Rose said. “I just need to do what I love and accept who I am.”
Fans also can catch the GasPops at 8 p.m. March 18 at Oskar Blues’ Home Made Liquids & Solids in Longmont and 8 p.m. April 10 at Oskar Blues’ Grill & Brew in Lyons.
If you go
What: 15th Frozen Dead Guy Days
When: March 11-13; Gasoline Lollipops play 5:30-7 p.m. March 13
Where: Guercio Park, 151 E. St., Nederland
Tickets: $10 for music tents; check website for other activity prices