Rising Stars

Oct 172011
Authors: Natasha Leadem

From appearing at the annual Fort Collins New West Fest, to headlining this year’s upcoming Sustainable Living Fair, it is apparent that rising local band Musketeer Gripweed is making a huge splash into the Fort Collins’ entertainment scene. What people don’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.

“Being in the band is just part of what I do,” Downing said. “There’s still room in my life to be a great teacher, and there’s room in my life to be a great partner and father as well.”

Gripweed members have been playing and practicing together in Fort Collins for over six years, rising up right under our noses.

“I used to live in a house right by Horsetooth Reservoir with Ben Hockett, our bass player,” Downing said.

The bands success immediately followed the release of their newest album “Dyin’ Day”, 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, “Gripweed 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.”

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 revivalists’ preach a specific message to their audience using an old-school gospel rock tone.

“I say it every show,” Downing said. “People should treat each other with more kindness and respect, and more love. We can make it a better world for free.”

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.

“We want to make every show an event,” Downing said. “We do something different every show.”

Gripweed will continue to grow and perform on a much larger scale than here in Fort Collins, however, they continue to stay humble.

“We know that we’re not rock stars,” Downing said. “We just want to share our experience and hopefully people will want to come back and do it again.”

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