Jan 2012 Feature – Places
by Tim Wenger
PLACES is one of those bands that you just can’t quite seem to forget about. Maybe it is the way frontman Tyler Glasgow’s hair trembles as heavily as the look on his face when he sings. Maybe it is because of Checkers Barker, the singing/drumming phenomenon. Or maybe is the fact that the band packs the stage with seven members, including two drummers, all filling your ears with soulful Pop-Rock that has projected them towards the forefront ofDenver’s music scene.
The band started in 2008, and after finally choosing Denver as their permanent home (the band also has roots in Missoula, Montana) they have caught the eye of The Wallflowers’ Greg Richling and have an astonishingly good new record about to drop, which Greg and Brian Cook recorded in Los Angeles.
“We got to LA, and we already got pretty hilarious on the way there,” saysTyler. “Greg picks us up at LAX. We got to the liquor store, it’s like the BevMo. We proceeded to drive to his fancy neighborhood, go over this bump, and the luggage bails.”
“The 30 rack hits the street, and all these long-haired Rock and Roll mountain dudes hit the street (to pick up the beers),” says Checkers. “I’m lit at this point, and I just picked one up and started drinking it,” says Tyler. Then they recorded two days of vocals with Greg and Brian.
The story of how the seven members came to become PLACES is a long and elaborate one, and the guys had smiles on their faces before they even started telling it. “We MySpace stalked each other,” laughs Checkers, explaining how he and Tyler stayed in contact after their previous bands went on the road together. “And I’d call him once or twice a month,” saysTyler. “I was in a band here when I was a teenager, and we played with Checkers’ band, who was on the road fromMontana,”Tylercontinues. “We met backstage at the show and immediately connected. Later, our two bands went on the road together for about a month.”
Tyler knew that he wanted to be in a band with Checkers. “I was writing songs, and I needed a f@$king drummer!” he says. “Checks is the best drummer I’ve ever known. I had this old Les Paul, and I sold it so that I could go for two weeks and write with Checks,” he says. “It was like a trial relationship.”
Tyler, Checks, and pianist Jordan McDonald recorded their initial four-song demo together in LA. “We listened to it the whole way back,” Tyler laughs. They eventually added Checker’s two brothers, Brian Martin and Jon Hatridge to complete the seven-piece.
The band pickedDenveroverMissoula, but it wasn’t an easy decision. “We wanted to stay inMissoulaif we could, but it was very clear that it was not going to be able to happen,” says Checkers. “We had kind of already done everything in the time that we were there,” addsTyler. “You don’t have the same opportunities as a big city with a huge music market.”
The band’s drive and outlook on music are very apparent when speaking to these guys. Instead of sitting back and waiting for that big show to come around every couple months, they get out and play constantly and are always exposing themselves to new audiences. “We have played a show every weekend for the last year,” saysJordan.
“There are a lot of local bands that do the once a month thing, and try and have a really big show,” saysTyler. “We are kinda of the attitude that we would rather play as often as possible.”
The band’s new record is straight-up pro status. They took outside financial help to ensure they got the quality sound that they wanted to deliver. “We had a lot of fans donate money, and a couple private investors helped us out with the rest of it,” saysTyler. “We got to make the big record, and it sounds incredible.”
They recorded the record live, which in laymen’s terms means that they were all in the studio playing the song together without vocals, then laid the vocals over the top, as opposed to recording each instrument separately. Greg Richling and Brian Cook encouraged this process. “He (Greg) embraced our songs, and he just tried to capture our sound and capture our performance,” saysTyler.
“That’s what sold us on Greg. He wanted us to be in the room doing what we do on stage all the time,” says Checkers. “We sat around on a conference call (with Greg), and gave each other the eye like, ‘This is our guy.’”
“You get what you pay for as far as recording,” saysTyler. “It was an amazing experience for us to work with guys that have played in the big leagues, and hear their input on our music. It brought us together as a band 10 times stronger. Our plans now are to keep building a fan base in Denver, and start doing weekend-warrior-type things and expand our fan base outside of Colorado,” says Tyler.
“I feel like as a band, we can stand up on stage and play with anybody,” saysJordan. “I like to think that we can compete with the heavy hitters around here, but I feel we haven’t even tapped into the market.”
“We are seven people that love to play music,” saysTyler. “I think that shows in our live show, I think that’s why people keep coming to see us. I don’t like to play live to sell CDs, I like to sell CDs so that I can play live, and I know the rest of the guys feel the same way.”
That being said, plan on seeing the name PLACES just about every time you look at show listings. The band is making a “triumphant return” toMissoulain February, where they will hold a Montana CD release, and is looking forward to hitting theDenverscene hard in 2012. “We are going to try and open up for whomever we can, and get our band in front of as many people as we possibly can,” says Tyler.
LIVE: Jan. 7 / Marquis Theatre / CD Release Show