When locals watch the Gas Pump Jockeys perform this Friday night at the Ohio Valley Antique Machinery Show, they won’t be watching an average classic rock concert.
“What we’re really selling is fun,” Gas Pump Jockeys’ frontman and lead vocalist Pat McLoughlin said in an interview with the News Democrat.
Meet the Gas Pump Jockeys, a classic rock cover band who incorporate comedic bits into their sets that draw laughs and cheers from the audience. It’s their second time performing at OVAMS, returning after their 2013 show.
“I was very flattered we got invited back,” McLoughlin said. “It’s a neat, comfortable place to be a performer at.”
The band consists of five members, plus a sound engineer. In addition to McLoughlin, Don White is the lead guitarist, Scott Langley plays the drums, Mike Loosekamp plays the keyboard, and Rick Brown plays bass.
The group takes their name from the old style gas pump attendants that used to be standard across the United States in the late 1960s through the 1970s. In addition to filling up your tank, the attendants would check your tire pressure, clean your windows, check your oil, and at the end, hand the driver a bunch of green stamps. It’s a nastolgic memory for many of the attendees and the members of the band.
“What we try to do is play the songs that you’d be hearing while (the attendee) is working,” McLoughlin said. “We play a lot of great 60’s and 70’s rock and roll. High energy and lots of comedy.”
The band, formed in 2004, plays covers of songs by the Rolling Stones, Bachman Turner Overdrive, the Beatles, and the Dave Clark Five, but they’ve also rehearsed more difficult songs by bands such as Steely Dan and Christopher Cross.
McLoughlin has a country and folk rock past himself, and spent 20 years playing in a country rock band that recorded an album at a studio in Nashville. Unfortunately, the record flopped in the U.S. but did well in Europe and Australia.
Not long after, McLoughlin and his bandmates decided to make a change.
“After about a year we decided to change the business model,” McLoughlin said. “A classic rock model with with a bit of humor.”
At first the band did very well in its new style, but health issues to a band member forced the group to find a new bassist and keyboard player.
That led them to Loosekamp, who once played for a band called the Cyrkle managed by legendary music businessman Brian Epstein. The band, while short-lived, did have two Billboard Top 100 songs, Turn Down Day and Red Rubber Ball. The Cyrkle opened for the Beatles during their final tour of the USA in 1966.
Loosekamp later played for Dayton-area bands, The Mark V and Green Lyte Sunday.
“It’s a really big moment for the audience when they find out it’s a guy from the band that they’ve known for decades,” McLoughlin said.
Back to the music, McLoughlin said the band is working on a new bit, one that involves the band jumping from song to song just like one would hear in their car when the car hits a pothole or speedbump, which would cause the eight-track cassette player to skip.
“If they saw us and enjoyed us in 2013, they’re just going to be blown away now,” McLoughlin said.
The Gas Pump Jockeys perform on Friday at 7:00 p.m.