By: Emily Clingman
If you’re looking to be stirred up in the heart, go catch yourself a Musketeer Gripweed show. Whether you need some foot-stompin’, southern-style music to get down to, or a few words of wisdom to inspire your day, Gripweed’s got it for you.
Frontman, Jason Downing, aka: Monkey Paw Patterson, garbed in his old-timey preacher hat and unruly beard delivers fans a revved-up rock-and-roll revival from his pulpit on stage. The audience hoots and hollers. The band responds with riveting riffs from guitars and drums and keyboards. Monkey Paw sits; he jumps; he runs around the crowd. It’s almost dizzying – his enthusiasm – but you’d be hard pressed to find someone in the audience who wasn’t having a hell of a good time.
Downing says people come to rock out but also because they leave uplifted.
“If we’re going to go out there and blow people’s minds, there are going to be moments when we slow it down and encourage people to love each other and take care of each other too.”
You might hear him say something on stage like, It doesn’t cost money to treat each other better, or hear him preaching away about eating good food, feeding the homeless or using biodiesel (he’s an avid supporter of sustainable and organic living).
“We’re trying to grow the band mindfully,” Downing says, “from our lyrics right down the merchandise.”
The band’s shirts are made of organic cotton and recycled plastic bottles. The CD’s aren’t packaged in cellophane and they fold out to show the album artwork, like the old days.
“We don’t just look vintage, we exemplify it,” Downing says. “We even play and record with old gear.”
It just makes good sense according to Downing, which in turn makes the community better. Everyone in the band is on board with Downing’s philosophy. It’s the thread that ties them together. Drummer, Stu Crair, who can also be found on local stages with Dead Floyd, The Grippe and quaint little jazz ensembles around town, really enjoys the company of his fellow Musketeers.
“It’s easy to make music together with anyone if you like them as a person,” Crair says. “I have been lucky to play with some incredibly talented musicians, but most of them are assholes. The guys who really kill it have no egos because there’s no need for that.”
Because of everyone’s down-to-earthness, Gripweed is able to reach listeners in a meaningful way. Crair calls the band’s song themes grassroots, much like the music itself, noting that music can change people’s mood or attitude. Whether it’s a song is about peace, social justice or a woman who done you wrong, the lyrics come from a familiar place that most people can relate to and will likely sing along to.
“I enjoy the simple tunes the most,” says Crair.
One of his favorite lines comes from the song, “Puppet” – It’s all about the love/There’s a puppet in the pulpit pulling strings from above.
It’s not all loving and sensitive though.
“We want to talk about Land of the Thief/home of the slave (from “Thief”),” Downing adds, “but we don’t want to do it with a red, white and blue flag. We want to create a metaphor for a different country, a different time, a different place…and rock and roll is a great platform for that.”
When asked where this style and energy comes from, Downing put it simply.
“We write in terms of a world we want to create, and then, you know, Gripweed throws some gasoline on it and we hit the audience,” he says.
“This is just what you get when the five of us are together.”
So don’t miss what’s going to be Musketeer Gripweed’s epic 2nd annual Halloween show – and their last local performance of the year.
Guitarist, Ehren Crumpler, says you should go because, “We are carrying a torch for rock-and-roll, and if you love that sort of thing then we are going to deliver for you.”
Musketeer Gripweed is:
Jason Downing – guitar, dobro, harmonica, vocals
Ehren Crumpler – guitar, vocals
Ben Hockett – bass
Matt Goldberg – keys
Stu Crair – drums, percussion
Must See Show:
HALOWEEN and GASOLINE Part II
(The Rise of Monkey Paw) W/ Patti Fiasco, October 26, 2012
Aggie Theater, Doors open at 8:00 p.m.
· $10: Pre-sale Ticket
· $15: 1 Ticket, 1 Gripweed Brown Trucker Hat w/ Straight Razor Album Logo, and *Limited edition Halloween Poster
· $25: 1 Ticket, 1 Gripweed Organic Cotton T-Shirt, (Choice of 3 different shirts) , and *Limited edition Halloween Poster