Mako 1972 Adds Members of Glass Hits, A. Tom Collins to Its Lineup

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“I’ve never understood the concept of writer’s block,” says Eric Bliss, lead guitarist for the Denver band Mako 1972. “When I sit down to write, it’s easy. It’s not always good, but it’s easy. You’ve got this instrument in your hands that makes noise. Fuck around on it.”

Bliss and his bandmates have done their fair share of writing lately, but a good deal less fucking around than in the past. For years, the angular, guitar-driven punk band has been a staple of the Denver bar scene. But a number of ugly incidents began to whittle away at the places Mako 1972 was able to ply its trade.

“We got kicked out of our own show,” says Bliss, “so we decided that would be that.”

The “that” in question is the band's former singer, who the band's remaining members says struggles with substance-abuse issues. Indeed, he was visibly intoxicated at the Planes Mistaken for Stars reunion show last year at the Marquis. The crowd seemed not to know what to make of the spectacle, but for the band, it was embarrassing and painful.

“I think we all tried to help him as much as we could,” says bass player Rachel Lujan. “But in the end, it was his decision.”

After his departure, the band started looking around for a new singer. But he left a bigger hole than a new singer could fill, according to Bliss.

“[He] had picked up second guitar and had been really trying to get that meatier sound,” says Bliss. “It really fit well. When he left, something was missing.”

Enter Greg Daniels, former guitarist for the long-defunct Vaux and bass player for the more-recently-deceased Glass Hits. Bliss asked Daniels several times to switch back to guitar, but Daniels says he was more comfortable playing bass.
“I hadn’t played guitar since the last Vaux show,” says Daniels. “When Eric asked me to play guitar, I was really reluctant. I was the third guitar in a band, and I was okay with that. I was more comfortable on bass. Eric’s taught me a lot.”

“Glass Hits was wrapped up, so we wooed him,” says Bliss. “It took a few tries.”

Though Daniels’s multi-instrumentalism and experience in the world of big-time rock was certainly a boon to Mako 1972, it didn’t solve the band’s vocalist problems. That final piece would come – oddly enough — in the form of a saxophone player, Nick Krier.

“The first time I heard Nick (Krier) sing, it reminded me of sax playing,” says Bliss. “He adds something to the melody with his voice.”

Krier really does play the sax (in A. Tom Collins), the horn-like quality of his vocals notwithstanding. But it’s his ability to belt, whether yelling or singing, that makes him a good fit for Mako 1972. His approach is similar to that of the band's former singer, though some of that may be the fact that he’s singing a lot of the band’s old songs.

“They’re in the same vein,” says Lujan, “but different enough.”

“I, for one, think I have a very different vocal approach,” says Krier. “It’s high-energy, but different.”

The differences are starting to become more obvious as the final lineup has settled in and begun writing new songs. With the keepers from the old lineup and new tunes making their way onto the set list, Mako 1972 finally has enough for a proper record.

“We’ve been writing new material, and we’re at the point where we’re ready to record a full-length,” says Bliss. “We’re weeks out from that.”

The new record won’t be out for several months, but you can catch the new, quickly congealing lineup of Mako 1972 Friday at the hi-dive with Native Daughters, Cult of the Lost Cause and Joy Subtraction. $10. Doors 8:30 p.m. 

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