Glass Hits did everything the hard way: "It's not profitable at all"
In the basement of his ranch-style home in the Welshire neighborhood of South Denver, Greg Daniels is putting the final touches on the merchandise for his band Glass Hits' final show. It's Friday morning and the show at Eslinger Gallery for the Underground Music Showcase (UMS) is just hours away.
Aaron Thackeray Glass Hits' final show at Eslinger Gallery
The vinyl seven-inches the band will sell have just arrived, over-nighted from United Record Pressing in Nashville despite the fact that the test presses were approved five weeks ago -- it should have been plenty of time. But Daniels says the records were physically pressed onto yellow vinyl Thursday morning and only 50 of the 300 that will eventually arrive made it on time. Probably enough for the show, he says. Still, the wooden, hand-screened covers, inserts and other peripheral pieces of the record have only been assembled for a couple of weeks, so some of the anxiety was, he admits, self-induced.
The idea to create an aesthetically opulent final record for the UMS show started back in the spring, according to Daniels. He knew the band was breaking up and wanted to do something special to commemorate the event -- go out in a style typical to Glass Hits' way of doing things. Daniels and Curts created unique, often intricate posters for every show the band played between 2009 and 2011 and many, many more after that. And that's not to mention all the record sleeves (two full lengths and numerous seven-inches) and t-shirts they made over the five years of the bands existence. Clearly they had a reputation to live up to, and fans would expect something at the very least interesting. What that became is a split record with Accordion Crimes, a like-minded band who shared the stage with Glass Hits for their swan song performance.
"I started working on it in May," says Daniels, quickly but meticulously going through the steps of screen-printing t-shirts for the show with the skillful precision one only achieves from lots of practice. "That's when I got excited and bought the wood and cut it up. Then there was this giant lull for art and record pressing."
It's a stressful, arduous process to create your own merchandise, and there are certainly far easier ways to get t-shirts and even records made than the routes chosen by Glass Hits, but to Daniels and his band mate and printing partner Keith Curts, the process is less about efficiency than creativity.
Photos courtesy of Glass Hits The process of making the final Glass Hits seven-inch
"It's about putting a little bit of yourself into what you're creating," says Curts. "We started with the first seven-inch cover. We did it in my apartment. We're like 'Well, I guess this is what we're doing.'"
It might seem odd to anyone too young to remember what things were like before the widespread use of the Internet and computers in general began to inform every part of people's lives, but in the '80s and '90s, small bands who wanted to put out a record, book a tour or have stickers and t-shirts to sell at shows had to make and do those things themselves.
"It was a necessity back then," says Curts. "If you were going to do it, you did it yourself. "You did it because you didn't know anyone else who would do it for you."
Though he acknowledges things have certainly changed, making it easier to have merch made by outside sources, the idea of getting intimately involved in the whole process is in their blood.
"I guess you could send stuff to someone to make but you wouldn't get that one-of-a-kind product," he says.
More on why the band goes to all this trouble is on the next page.