How do I even begin to describe the talent these guys have? They previous winners of the Battle of Birdy’s, they have played shows all over the Midwest, and they put on one of the hardest rocking live shows I have seen in a long time. They are based out of Indianapolis and are often considered one of the best bands around. I first met these guys at a show here in town when they were opening up for Fred Shafer. The show, ironically enough was at Birdy’s Bar & Grill. We chatted for hours and eventually became good friends. I scheduled an interview and even went one step further. I have asked them to be one of the bands on the next rickyleepotts.com presents six bands for six bucks bill. I have even met and hung out with Melissa Brewer from Melissa Brewer Photography. She is their official photographer. (Oddly enough she actually is a photographer for indyconcerts.com as well.) Regardless, these guys are some of the hardest working men in show business and I am happy that I have had the chance to not only listen to their tunes but also become friends with them. This interview is a long time coming, and it my absolute pleasure to introduce you to Glass Halo.
I love the name Glass Halo. Where did you guys come up with that?
(Eric) It’s funny that you ask. I’ve been around the name for so long that I really don’t even think about it anymore, yet it always seems to be one of the first things people inquire about. Hopefully that means that it’s a good name! In any case, here is the story: All of us growing up were considered “good kids” with bright futures who never really got into any major trouble, which is where the halo comes from, but a glass halo would be easily broken, implying that innocence is fragile. So, Glass Halo basically makes the point that us growing up to be rock stars isn’t really what people expected of us, but we hope to make the best of it!
How long have you guys known each other?
(Aaron) I’ve known Eric since 2006. Crazy how quickly the past five years have gone by. It’s awesome that in that time we’ve gone from being a band that played occasionally and practiced even less to a band that plays 100+ shows a year and practices at least once a week. I’ve known Dave since 2006 or 2007. I’m not sure. At some point we made him play bass, maybe like 2008. Before that I knew him as a guy who played some acoustic shows opening for us and the past lead guitarist for the band in its early stages. I’ve only known Jason since earlier this year and he’s already a brother to me.
(Eric) I met Dave my senior year in college, when he was a freshman; that would have been in 2003. We were both running backs on the football team at Rose-Hulman, so we pretty much had to spend any and all football time together. I had already started the band at this point, but I was the only guitarist. I’m not sure when we got to talking music, but shortly thereafter we made him our first official lead guitarist. A couple years later, he split off to do his own acoustic thing and to be a frat guy extraordinaire… but he eventually came back, and we made him play bass. He’s a better bassist than he is a guitarist anyway. (Laughs) In Dave’s absence, I found Aaron down at IU through a friend of a friend. He was actually the second guitarist that I auditioned, but the first guy’s only skill was playing so fast that you couldn’t see his fingers, which didn’t really fit what I was looking for. Aaron, on the other hand, actually has musical awareness, and after listening to some of the demos he’d recorded, I knew I’d found the guy for the job. Our most recent addition is Jason, who came on earlier this year after our former drummer, Jake, resigned to go back to school. Jason played previously with the band Great Scott! and has been an excellent fit for us. I hope to keep this lineup indefinitely!
Do you guys have jobs outside of music?
(Eric) Right out of college I worked for five years as a mechanical engineer for a manufacturing company in the area. It was enjoyable for the first few years, but when the economy took a nose dive, I got shuffled around to avoid being laid off. With that, my hours and job description changed quite a bit, and I was pretty much tied to work 24/7, which obviously started to conflict quite a bit with playing music. I eventually got laid off as well, so I figured that I would take that time to pursue music full-time. It has been quite a year, and we’ve made tons of progress! I would love to find an engineering job that gives me the flexibility to still pursue music, but I would also like to make one good push at touring and getting signed before I do that. Then at least I know I gave it a shot; I doubt anyone is going to tell me that I’m too old to sit in a cubicle any time soon.
(Aaron) I had a pretty good job but got laid off. I’ve had a temporary job since but didn’t get hired on. I’ve got a killer eye for editing and really enjoy editing. So right now I’m living the musician’s life, trying to get by. I don’t think we’re so busy that I couldn’t work; I just haven’t been able to find anything yet. That said if anyone is reading this and looking for a freelance editor, let’s talk!
(Dave) I actually went to school with Eric at Rose-Hulman, and actually work in downtown Indianapolis as a mechanical engineer… I mean, it’s work, but I’m so lucky I’ve got a pretty flexible schedule that lets me have a great life and play music all the time, so I can’t complain. I’d say I’m the nerd of the group… my favorite times are when I can combine music and technology in new and cool ways to help market us.
(Jason) I work for a small software company called Anacore. I do custom software/web development. It’s been a passion of mine for a long time and I enjoy working with some of the cool technologies out there.
I recently saw you perform for the first time. I was beyond impressed. I saw you on a bill with a buddy of mine, Fred Shafer. How did you get on that bill? Do you know him personally?
(Aaron) We actually met Fred recently when we split a bill at the Elbo Room in Chicago. It was actually kind of an embarrassing show, we were between drummers and had someone who proved to not make the cut. After the show, we talked to Fred. I actually apologized to Fred for our drummer, admittedly, but he said he loved us acknowledging we had drummer problems. We’ve once again got an amazing drummer and it was awesome playing with him last Saturday. Interestingly enough, Fred too had a new drummer…who also kicked ass!
I can’t get this disc out of my head. Tell me a little bit more about the making of your latest full-length.
(Dave) Well, first off, so glad you like it. We worked really, really hard on it and, I mean this, it’s awesome every time someone says that. We recorded the record over a few months at Russian Recording in Bloomington, Indiana… It was actually a really cool experience. We’d done our last EP there, so it was just very natural to go back to a studio and engineer we knew well, and who knew us… We got down there, set up, and just played our songs. We tracked everything live together, and I think that really comes through on the record. When you play our CD, it really IS like being at one of our shows, and trust me, we had just as much fun making it as we do playing on stage together. I think that’s lacking in a lot of rock bands today, and one of the things that really sets us apart.
(Eric) Well, it’s always a pleasure to work with Mike Bridavsky down at Russian Recording. He is a brilliant studio engineer, and has always been a pleasure to work with. I really enjoy the fact that almost all of the mixing is done analog, so it really makes us listen and commit to any given song. For example, if we mix a song and then decide later that we don’t like something about it, we have start completely over with the raw tracks. It’s really an old-school approach that I completely dig. Oh, and he won’t auto-tune any of my vocals either… says it’s against his religion or something. (Laughs)
You guys seem to be proud of being from Indiana. Why so much loyalty to your home state?
(Eric) Only half of us are actually from Indiana, but we’ve all called Indiana home for at least the past decade. I think first and foremost, I like being from Indianapolis because it’s a great place to tour from. Granted, we don’t get out and about as much as we’d like, but we’re currently negotiating a booking contract that will hopefully change that! I mean, within four hours in any direction, there are plenty of major cities to play, and those are still shows that it’s possible to drive home from. The other thing I like about being from Indianapolis, though, is that I think it’s a great opportunity for us to draw some attention to the city if we ever make it big. What are some of the big music cities? Seattle, New York, Nashville, Austin, LA? Why not Indianapolis? There are quite a few fantastic bands in the area, so maybe we can follow the Seattle trend; if one of us gets out, then all of us can.
Do you guys get to play that much outside of Indiana?
(Aaron) We’ve played some places in Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky but admittedly not as many as we need to. For that reason, we decided it was necessary to hire a booking agent and are really excited about the prospect of really getting out there and doing it.
Tell me about your experience with Battle of Birdy’s.
(Eric) We actually entered the battle a few weeks after it had started after we had heard that there were still some first-round slots open. Who knew we’d end up winning the whole thing? It was an amazing and humbling experience all around. I think the best part for me was that through the rounds we met quite a few fantastic bands that we’ve since played shows and developed friendships with. It’s really just great to see local music come together like that. A million thanks to anyone and everyone who has a hand in making that possible!
(Aaron) Well, for starters, we won! But seriously, winning out of sixty-six bands was the ultimate validation that people like what they hear. Not to mention the prize money funded the recording and mastering of The World Through Different Eyes, our first full-length album.
(Dave) It really is a great event, and something that every music fan in Indy should go to. It was an honor to play with so many great bands, and such a variety of talent. As far as winning, I think our attitude set us apart as much as our music… There seems to be a lot of concern about “image” or whatever these days, when we were really just happy to show up every night and have a great time chatting with fans and playing music we love. The coolest part of the whole thing, and what got us the “win”, was that in fan voting, even the other bands’ loyal crowds always made sure to give us a few points. That really meant a lot, and showed us that we could appeal to everyone. Oh, and PS, make sure you stop by the finals this year as we’re doing a special encore set during the judging! And, of course, best of luck to all the bands this year.
What is the biggest crowd you have ever played for?
(Eric) I got the opportunity to open for Hanson at Bogart’s in Cincinnati in 2005, with a previous iteration of Glass Halo; we played for a sold-out crowd of about 1,600 people, I think. It was definitely the coolest show that I had played at that point in my life, and I’d give anything to get that opportunity again with the songs and the people we have now, but hey, here’s to hoping!
(Aaron) I can only speak for Dave and I and say the Battle of Birdy’s. I think we played for around 660 people that night.
(Jason) In a previous band, we got to play a stop in Virginia Beach on the Vans Warped Tour. While there were thousands there, very few were actually paying attention to us. We were definitely the black sheep of the acts there. But it was a fun experience regardless.
(Aaron) The bartender at the Ugly Monkey. The show was supposed to be promoted by a local photographer but when he bailed on the event the day of, having never promoted it, and instead showed up with a bunch of girls in bikinis in the dead of winter to tell us they were leaving to go to the show he decided to promote at another bar without telling us, we were left to play for the bartender. (We won’t be working with Myles Fork again.) The blizzard outside definitely didn’t help. I love seeing a good band, but when you’re going to be playing in the same city two weeks later and it’s currently five degrees outside, I wouldn’t go either.
What are you drinking on stage?
(Eric) Water with no ice and/or Diet Coke, and usually about a beer a set. It’s funny, I’ve actually compiled a mental list of beers that help and beers that don’t. As one might imagine, heavy beers do not help. I usually prefer light and/or hoppy beers. Bell’s Two-Hearted, Arrogant Bastard, and of course PBR are my favorites. Maybe I can get an endorsement from PBR. Oh, and please, for the love of God, don’t buy us shots until the last set… or ever. (Laughs)
(Aaron) Water and Diet Coke. As much as I sweat on stage, I have to pound water to be able to make it through the show. Occasionally I’ll have a beer on stage.
(Dave) I am not comfortable with any less than six gallons of liquid on stage. It’s important to have the proper sustenance… Water, Diet Coke, and PBR are all absolutely vital to the cause.
(Jason) I try to keep enough Bud Light up there to last through the set. I also try to keep the shots to a minimum if any at all. Then, after the show, it’s time to speak to the Captain. But never during the show. Captain Morgan and drumming do not mix.
Who writes all the lyrics?
(Eric) This guy. (Points thumbs at self.) Though, I definitely draw from the experiences and stories of all of the band members, and they even kick in a line here or there to get me rolling from time to time. I sincerely love writing music with all of the guys in the band. We’ve all agreed that none of us would write songs that are as good as all of us can write together.
I want to get rickyleepotts.com more involved with your band. Any ideas on how we can make that happen?
(Aaron) It’d be cool to film and record a live in-studio or (more likely “in-practice”) for the site. That or be a part of a rickyleepotts.com sponsored show. That would be awesome!
Where do you get inspiration for a new track?
(Aaron) Well, Eric writes the lyrics usually based on something in his life or our lives. And typically the music comes from Eric or I just messing around on guitar. Sometimes we’ll come up with an idea and bring it to each other and other times one of us will be messing around with a part and someone will hear it and like it.
You guys have some sick photography. Who took all those shots?
(Dave) A great local photographer by the name of Melissa Brewer. We’ve been working with her for a while now, and just like making music, it only gets easier as you get to know each other.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
(Eric) I grew up listening to 80’s top 40 and a ton of James Taylor – thanks to my dad for those. I even got “James” as a middle name out of his love for JT. In high school I really got into grunge and metal, especially Metallica. I was impressed by the fact that they could rock so hard and still manage to be melodic. I even played and sang in a Metallica cover band! I can do a mean James Hetfield. (Laughs) Over time, my taste has just become more and more eclectic. I just like to hear what’s new all the time, like, “What are people doing that I need to be paying attention to?”
(Aaron) My biggest influence is probably my dad. When I was kid, he had a room in our house that was just for his stereo and we’d always listen to records. I loved the Beatles (especially Rubber Soul and Abbey Road) even though I called them “Beatle noise” as a kid. I listen to a ton of music so my influences are always expanding. As far as live, seeing Ryan Adams at the Murat Theater in 2008 had a profound effect on me. It was an amazing concert and I loved hearing how much they would change their songs from show to show. Another band I’m really into right now is Minus the Bear; those guys are awesome.
(Dave) To be honest, mine are all over the place. When I was a little kid I was all oldies – blame my parents for that! As soon as I got old enough to buy records I got really into grunge, and some of that has stayed with me… I really love the stuff Pearl Jam is putting out after all these years. I went through a pretty intense hippie phase in college, and would follow bands like Phish, moe., and DMB around and collect shows by the hundreds. Lately I’m more into pop-rock than anything else. As far as my current kicks: MuteMath, The Dangerous Summer, Death Cab, Anberlin, AM Taxi, Silversun Pickups, Motion City Soundtrack. But I still love everything, as long as it’s good!
(Jason) When I was a junior in high school I taught myself to play the drums by playing along to cassettes (ouch!) of Motley Crue, Guns N’ Roses and the like. So I guess my drumming is heavily influenced by guys like Tommy Lee, Steve Adler, Sean Kinney, etc. Nowadays, my faves also include Matt Cameron and Chad Smith.
You have a ton of fun on stage. How do you guys stay so motivated?
(Dave) You know something? There are a lot of times we’re tired, or the crowd isn’t huge, or the sound isn’t just right… but I think I speak for all of us when I say that we really ARE having that much fun playing. There’s a lot of BS to go through as far as playing music, a lot of work behind the scenes, but that few hours we’re actually playing together every night, that’s never bad!
(Eric) To somewhat echo Dave’s sentiment, after all of the loading, driving, unloading, and setting up, playing is the most relaxing and fun part of any given evening!
If you could only play one song for the rest of your career, which song would you choose?
(Eric) If we’re talking ours, I’d probably say Requiem, because of what it means to me, but if we’re talking any song ever, I could be down with rocking Coldplay’s Fix You happily, for quite some time… what an epic song.
(Aaron) I don’t know. That’s really the kind of question you don’t ask me because if I do by some amazing chance come up with an answer, I’ll change my mind in the middle of justifying it and the conversation will turn into a seemingly endless debate with myself resulting in me saying I can’t answer the question.
(Jason) Tough call, but if I had to choose just one…It would have to be The Only Way. I love the song. It’s fun as hell to play. And I don’t think I will ever get tired of hearing the guitar solos in it. I’m actually listening to it right now as I answer this question.
Where are you all originally from?
(Aaron) I’m from Batesville, Indiana. Eric is from Eaton, Ohio. Jason is from Plymouth, Indiana and Dave is from a lot of different places –- we’ve heard Chicago, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, etc. Dave, care to clarify?
(Dave) You missed a few…
Tell me a little bit more about Russian Recording.
(Aaron) We weren’t really too happy with the quality of our The Streets of No Fortune EP and I happened to be working in Bloomington at Finelight at the time. Being that it’s an advertising agency, there were a lot of really creative people there. A guy I worked with had a band band, Cardiff Giant, had just finished recording at Russian Recording with Mike Bridavsky (the engineer/owner) and had a great experience. I listened to their album and was really impressed with the quality of the recording so I brought it to the other members and they were equally impressed.
You guys seem to have all the social sites covered. Do you have a favorite?
(Eric) I do like Twitter, because of the ease of just throwing a thought out there so instantly and easily, but I also really dig Facebook, because we can really interact with and get feedback from our fans. Conversely, MySpace is miserable and seems to only be populated with amateur porn stars and other bands, and based on recent news-feed data, there may also be a “hater” infestation, though I’m not sure what that is.
(Aaron) Twitter: projecting my thoughts on the world in 140 characters or less couldn’t be more enjoyable.
(Dave) I’d have to agree with Aaron. Twitter is short, sweet, and to the point.
(Jason) Facebook has allowed me to stay in touch with a lot of friends I haven’t been in contact with in a while. I’m not a very active “Tweeter” but I do enjoy reading what everyone has to say.
What’s it take to be a member of the Glass Halo street team?
(Aaron) You want to help? Seriously, if you want to help, we’d love to let you help and we’ll give you all kinds of exclusives for doing so. Just check out our street team page on our website at and send us a message.
Where can I get some Glass Halo merchandise?
(Eric) We have all of our merchandise available at shows or on our website. A helpful hint, though… all of our merchandise is cheaper at shows, so come see us! We do also have albums available at LUNA and Indy CD & Vinyl.
What is your favorite venue?
(Eric) I do love the Vogue and Birdy’s both, but locally, my favorite venue to play has actually been the Music Mill. They have such a great stage, sound system, and room. I really wish they could get their act together and be a sustainable venue. Maybe if they didn’t charge Verizon style drink prices more people would be willing to come… just a suggestion.
(Aaron) I thought the Vogue was the coolest thus far. It was definitely an honor to play on the same stage as so many awesome artists the Vogue has hosted.
(Jason) I’m going to go with Aaron on this one. The Vogue is probably my favorite. The shows there have been a blast. I always thought I could say I’ve “arrived” at the local music scene if I could play the Vogue. The first time I played there, I was so nervous I got sick in the alley out back before the show. I usually don’t stress at all before shows. It’s really cool to think about some of the great artists who have played on that same stage before me.
(Dave) I’d probably say The Vogue as well. Ever since I moved to Indianapolis it’s been kind of a dream of mine to play that stage… I mean, I’ve seen a lot of great artists there… Gov’t Mule, Les Claypool, MGMT, Tom Morello, the list goes on… It was just so cool to be up there. We should be getting back there really soon, but aren’t allowed to tell you anything just yet… Keep your eyes and ears open and we’ll spread the word when we know.
How did you guys react to the passing of Michael Jackson?
(Aaron) Not to sound like an ass, but it meant nothing to me. I honestly can’t name that many of his songs. He was already dead long before that in my eyes. It’s funny to me how much cooler it is to like Michael Jackson now that he’s dead, before he was just kind of that creepy guy that had a lot of hits before he became a creepy guy.
(Eric) The first piece of recorded music that I ever owned was Michael Jackson’s Bad tape. I even had a red leather jacket with about 400 unnecessary zippers on it. (Laughs) It was sad to see him go, but as odd as it is to say, it was a fittingly mysterious end to his life. I hope that he’s happy with his legacy; I would be. He was a brilliant musician and definitely left his mark on the industry and millions of people.
(Dave) He was a great artist, but we really lost him a long time ago…
(Jason) In the days of Thriller, I was all over it. As a kid, I was moonwalking all over the house with my one white glove. It pretty much ended there. He got weird and I moved on.
Tell me about your relationship with Revolver.
(Dave) It’s this great shoe / apparel store up at 146th & I-69… They have tons of really exclusive designs you’ll only find in the big brand name stores in NYC or LA, and for a lot less cash! We know both of the kids that own it really well, and they’ve been very supportive of our band, so we figured it was only right to give them a shout-out as well. Actually, at any show, you can visit our merchandise table and pick up a 10% off card!
(Aaron) And check out their website at as they’ve been talking about moving.
I’m just going to say it. Pretty much all you guys have perfect hair. How do you keep the hair looking so good?
(Eric) That is probably the best interview question I’ve heard thus far. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is where it’s at! I’ll be honest, I’ve… um… gotten around a bit in there, if you know what I mean. (Laughs) And by that I actually mean, that it’s the only place that I’ve ever been where I’ve bounced from stylist to stylist due to my spontaneous and sporadic scheduling habits and a) not had it cause any negative feelings and b) had every single one of them do a fantastic job.
(Aaron) Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, dude. That and you know how the shampoo bottle says rinse and repeat? I repeat. Not really. But Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, it’s where we go for all our hair needs. Melody cuts my hair. And if you go there because of me, mention me as a reference… two more references and I get a free haircut! But seriously, we’re always very supportive of local businesses whose services we like. For example, a guy named Mike Stiglitz does amp repairs at Roadworthy in Bloomington and always makes some really awesome guitar pedals that have been embraced by some really high profile musicians in bands like Wilco and Umphrey’s McGee. Since, getting two of his pedals, which are among my favorite, I’m always recommending his pedals to other guitarists. I mean, we make new fans from word of mouth, why shouldn’t we recommend things we like to others?
(Dave) It’s all about the faux-hawk, man. Wow, that’s probably the most metro thing I’ve ever said. For real though, I’m a KKBB loyalist as well. I think Eric & I go there as much for the group therapy sessions as the haircuts… The staff is hilarious and it’s just a great place to chill out, relax, and look your best!
(Jason) My haircut costs twelve bucks and takes about seven minutes to complete. I probably spend about eight seconds per day fixing my hair. I’ve been thinking about hiring a staff of stylists to handle this rigorous regimen for me, but my accountant says no.
If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would you go?
(Eric) Ah, I’d love to stroll down to a little Parisian café every morning. Until then, though, I’ll just keep hitting up Chateau Thomas Winery for my old-world wine needs, and Petite Chou for my croque madam’s!
(Aaron) Again, the kind of question I could never give one definitive answer to.
(Dave) I spent some time in Europe when I was a kid, and have really been anxious to get back there… Of all the places I lived, Germany and London were my favorites.
You guys play a lot of live shows. But let’s say that you are about to headline a show out at Verizon Wireless Music Center. Who is your opening act?
(Jason Hmmm. GWAR?
(Eric) If I could pick anyone in the world without considering the fact that they’re already bigger than we are, I would either say Ryan Adams, because he rocks out, and I absolutely love his music, or Ray Lamontagne, because I really just want to hang out with and talk to him, and I feel that would be a good opportunity to do so.
(Aaron) That’s tough to say. I mean, we’ve played with some good bands but as far as opening at a big venue like Verizon? I’m obviously not going to say a band that’s already bigger than us, and I don’t know I’ve played with a band yet that I’d ask to open for us at Verizon.
(Dave) One fantastic local band that I’d like to give a shout out to would be The Last Good Year. They’re really nice dudes, and make great, raw, old fashioned rock music. I’d do a show with them any time.
I know it’s a long time from now, but where do you see yourselves in five years?
(Aaron) Hopefully making a decent living doing what I love… in other words, I can pay my bills and have a nice kitchen at home when I’m not on tour.
(Eric) I agree with Aaron. I would really give anything to be able to make this sustainable. I’m far from out of ideas, and I just love creating and playing music so much.
(Dave) If I could ever play music for a living that would be the best life I could ask for.
(Jason) More drumming and less programming.
What do you want to be remembered for when this is all said and done?
(Eric) I completely agree with Dave. I want people to remember us as good people who made great music.
(Aaron) More than we’ve done to date.
(Dave) We’ve already had a few people message us about how a song helped them remember someone that isn’t with us anymore, or helped them through a difficult time… That to me is gold and the real reason to do this, because I know how it feels when a song does that to me. More than the any of the fun shows or the long boring road trips, I’d like to make music that hits people, and maybe even helps them out.
(Jason) Being a kick-ass rock band.
I always let the artist get the last word. Go.
(Aaron) I think I speak for everyone when I say, come out to a show, check us out online on our website or on our MySpace page, and download our single You Can’t Save Me for free here. And if you like what you hear, pick up a copy of latest release, The World Through Different Eyes either at a show, on our website or on iTunes. And be sure to tell your friends!
(Eric) Don’t forget our Facebook page! It’s the easiest way to keep up with what’s going on with us. Oh, and stay tuned for our new single Stalker Girlfriend, which will be out really, really soon!