From appearing at the annual Fort Collins New West Fest, to headlining this yearâ€™s upcoming Sustainable Living Fair, it is apparent that rising local band Musketeer Gripweed is making a huge splash into the Fort Collinsâ€™ entertainment scene. What people donâ€™t know is just how local they really are.
On-stage dressed in a 1930s preacher costume, front man Jason Downing assumes the identity of the enthusiastic and in-your-face Reverend Monkey Paw Patterson. However, when not performing shows Downing is a proud and dedicated sociology teacher at Colorado State University.
â€œBeing in the band is just part of what I do,â€ Downing said. â€œThereâ€™s still room in my life to be a great teacher, and thereâ€™s room in my life to be a great partner and father as well.â€
Gripweed members have been playing and practicing together in Fort Collins for over six years, rising up right under our noses.
â€œI used to live in a house right by Horsetooth Reservoir with Ben Hockett, our bass player,â€ Downing said.
The bands success immediately followed the release of their newest album â€œDyinâ€™ Dayâ€, which was self-produced live rather than in a studio. The release brought them much praise, appearing on the cover of the September issue of Scene Magazine and receiving high ratings statewide.
According to Jon Jordan of Nady Press, â€œGripweed is rambling, rolling, grooving, good-times music. Their songs are like the hills in the Midwest. They groove and climb like the Rocky Mountains where they are created, and they ramble like Ole Miss herself.â€
Taking the stage dressed in clothes from 1930s, Gripweed captures the attention of their audience before they even start to play a note. The blues-rock revivalistsâ€™ preach a specific message to their audience using an old-school gospel rock tone.
â€œI say it every show,â€ Downing said. â€œPeople should treat each other with more kindness and respect, and more love. We can make it a better world for free.â€
Currently, Gripweed is working under the management of Rob Thomas and Aaron Friedman, associates for AEG entertainment and they plan to keep their momentum as they move into the future.
â€œWe want to make every show an event,â€ Downing said. â€œWe do something different every show.â€
Gripweed will continue to grow and perform on a much larger scale than here in Fort Collins, however, they continue to stay humble.
â€œWe know that weâ€™re not rock stars,â€ Downing said. â€œWe just want to share our experience and hopefully people will want to come back and do it again.â€