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March 2016 - The Gasoline Gypsies

Diesel-fueled Port Huron Band Rocks ‘n’ Rolls its Way Across the State

Story by LCC Radio Reporter Sarah Spohn

The Gasoline GypsiesA traditional gypsy is defined as a traveler; an independent worker, and or a person who migrates. Rock band members of Port Huron’s Gasoline Gypsies are all of that, mixed with Americana, blues, and a little country bow on top.

While the band originated in 2009, the current lineup of self-described “southern-twinged rock” gypsies includes Caleb Malooley (lead guitar, vocals), Steve Briere (bass/vocals), Rob Schweihofer (guitar/vocals), and Joe Makowski (drums).

Their sound is reminiscent of classic rock southern mainstays like Lynyrd Skynyrd, combined with Charlie Daniels, with a little bit of Led Zeppelin thrown in.

Their feel-good music is made up of each member’s collective tastes, according to band bassist/vocalist Steve Briere.

“Our first album is kind of a transitional one,” Steve said. “We had just had a lineup change with the band and the album definitely showcases that. Songs like "It Ain't Hard" and "Long Run" kind of hearken back to the sound we had with our original lineup. While songs like "Memory" and "Getting By" showcase the direction we've started going in since Joe and Rob joined the band. Our next album, which we're currently recording, will have more of that sound.”

While some gypsy material might echo the classic rock ‘n’ roll vibe, other songs lean towards a more Americana/Western feel. Enter “Abilene,” the band’s latest music video. The video, which was shot in a Spaghetti-western mode faired extremely well with fans after an exclusive Gasoline-Gypsies-hosted viewing party.

“’Abilene’ definitely has a very Country/Rockabilly type sound to it,” Steve said. “Caleb pulled from a lot of his Johnny Cash and bluegrass influence for the writing of the song. The story in the song itself is totally western cowboy-ish and we definitely wanted to capitalize on that in the video.”

The sepia-toned video was filmed by Caleb’s brother and a green screen, with a local park being the backdrop for some of the music video.

The Gasoline Gypsies - Port Huron“We wrote up a basic story line and had a couple of actor friends play the characters,” Steve said. “We had almost no budget and three days to do it and it turned out really cool. The reception at the release was great. People enjoyed it and we got a lot of laughs from it which was awesome.”

The Gasoline Gypsies have performed all over the state, with a pretty heavy tour rotation throughout Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Kalamazoo and even stops in Indiana.

The band is still unsigned but is part of a collection of Michigan musicians with the MusicMovers management group, with whom they frequently collaborate with and look up to. While they’re not currently looking for labels, the band has nothing but nice things to say about its manager. “Don has been awesome,” Steve said. “He's helped bring our band to a level we've been trying to reach for three years. Can't say enough good things about Don.”

“Our MusicMovers group of bands has honestly been some of the bands we've really been digging on lately,” Steve said. “Off the Ledge, The Tom Toms and The Native Howl are all bands we look at and go ‘Damn! We need to step it up!’ It's really cool because we're friends with all of these people and work with them, but they drive us as well. One Michigan band I (Steve) look up to in particular is the Crane Wives. Their songwriting is second to none and their professionalism outside of just their music making is top notch. That professionalism is something we really strive for and always try to improve upon as a band with our music and business.

One of the band’s most recent favorite gigs was actually in the home of Grand Rapids-based band Crane Wives. The Winter Wheat fundraiser was held at The Intersection in Grand Rapids, and proved to be quite the memorable moment for the gypsies.

“Winter Wheat is the winter fundraiser/half-way-there mark for the Wheatland Music Festival in Remus,” Steve said. “Wheatland Music Fest holds a very special place in our hearts. Caleb and I essentially grew up going to this festival, so it was an extreme honor to be included as a band in one of their events.”

The Gasoline Gypsies - Port HuronTheir nomadic journeys across the state have also taken the band of guys to the Metro Detroit music scene. Having performed at the Arts, Beats & Eats in Royal Oak, and the Metro Times Blowout, the band is still working on carving out a spot in the Detroit Rock City.

“There's a wonderful and huge scene down in the metro area and we're just getting into it and starting to network. The places we have been so far have been really receptive though,” Steve said. “Overall the Michigan music scene is killer-so much creativity and enthusiasm. It's very cool to be a part of it and get to see and hear more of it as we move along.”

As the band keeps moving along, part of its roaming, ever-changing freedoms that comes along with the traditional gypsy way, the band follows wherever the music takes them.

“We try to center our lives around our music as much as possible regardless of where it takes us,” Steve said. “We try to not get ourselves into places, jobs, or situations where we might get ‘stuck’ and not be able to maintain focus on the music... That being said, we've definitely all done our share of ‘nomadic’ couch surfing over the past few years.

Never too cool for a good old’ fashioned couch-crashing, the Gasoline Gypsies continue to take their diesel-fueled rock ‘n’ roll rigs from gig to gig, sometimes performing three or four shows a weekend in the summer.

For their next rockabilly getup, you can catch The Gasoline Gypsies at Lynch’s Irish Tavern in Port Huron, Michigan on Saturday, March 12.

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