The Lollygags Don't Goof Around

Jonathan Snyder (left) and Rick Bowness, aka Ryk Bonus, (right) of the Lollygags.
Jonathan Snyder (left) and Rick Bowness, aka Ryk Bonus, (right) of the Lollygags. Photo by Annie Rose/Annie Rose Photography
"The Lollygags operate a little like the Avengers," says Denver native and band founder Jonathan Snyder when contemplating personnel changes since his group's inception in 2011.

"'I'm the only original member at this point," shares Snyder, a 36-year-old Denver native who came of age in Greenwood Village and later earned a degree from Metro State. "People have come and gone over the years. I have good memories of every era of the band. I think it's gotten tighter over time. I write the majority of the songs, although one of our new ones, 'Don't Ask Why,' is the first tune penned by someone other than myself. It's written by Rick Bowness (he spells his stage name Ryk Bonus). He's our bass player and has been in the band for two years. When he came aboard, I really started feeling the chemistry coming together."

At present, the Lollygags include Snyder on vocals and guitar, Bowness on bass, Dave Myers (formerly of the Cutthroat Drifters) on guitar and Tony Morales on drums.

Like the group's handle, the subject matter of its songs leans toward the whimsical. Witness Bowness's new tune concerning date swiping. The head-bobbing number takes the listener on a standard swipe-date all the way from the initial match to the common realization that it's just not working out.

"Date swiping is part of the culture," says Snyder. "I guess Rick heard some of us sharing our swipe stories. It's funny, because he's married and has never used one of those apps, but he overheard me and some other friends recounting our tales, some of which ended better than others. So he went ahead and penned a song."

The Lollygags' other new ditty, "Maum Meditation," concerns an alleged meditation center that wound up being a cover for a poorly executed cult recruitment operation.

"I was on Meetup, and I saw there was a meditation center located behind an Arby's right near my house," recalls Snyder. "So I figured, cool, I'll check this out. I go in there, and everyone is being very friendly. They were Korean. I don't know a lot about mind-body stuff, but I pretty quickly realized that it didn't really seem like a meditation center to me, and so I went home and with one Google search learned that it was a front for a death cult. Their philosophy is that they want you to believe in your death, so that you can come back and purge yourself of all the bad things inside of you. As far as cults go, their game was kind of weak, because I caught on right away. They brainwash people called helpers to run their facilities. The line in our song says, 'Our helpers are here!' I guess they take your money, and you get to purify yourself with their help [laughs]. They really need to tweak their pitch."

The Lollygags will celebrate the release of their two new singles at the Oriental Theater on March 3. While they have plans to release an EP later this year, Snyder says the band likes to drop new songs digitally from time to time, regardless of whether it's packaging multiple tracks.

"We'll be releasing tunes throughout the year," he says. "Albums are kind of a lost art form, and they can include filler, so if we have two great songs, I'd rather just release those and give people our good stuff and just do that a few times a year."

As for the sound of the band, Snyder says it's a blend of power pop and a few other influences. The group's taste leans toward acts like Cheap Trick, Hüsker Dü and the Kinks.

"I like to say that it's not garage rock but [rather] garage rock and roll. Every time I try to put up a genre, some music purist has to correct me," says Snyder. "There's some indie pop in there and some classic rock. We love that classic guitar crunch. Four chords. It never gets old. Genre labeling can get ridiculous sometimes. It's a fine line. We have a sense of humor, but you can still take us seriously. It's rock and roll, not public policy. Also, we're going to be playing during the day at the Oriental. I figured, why not play a show when people are actually awake?"

The Lollygags New Music Celebration Party, with Television Generation and DJ Alf/There's an Ape for That. Brunch and ’80s music dance party, noon Sunday, March 3, at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue, $10.
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Nick Hutchinson writes about music for Westword and enjoys playing his guitar when not on deadline.
Contact: Nick Hutchinson