“Like most things with me, I had the idea a few weeks before it became a reality,” Perry says of the podcast. “Anybody in my orbit sort of knows that I just have a monkey mind. I’m constantly having these madcap ideas.”
Popular culture is flush with dystopian fiction in which music is often present. The protagonists in Shaun of the Dead debate which twelve-inch records to wield as weapons against the undead. A marching band plays nonstop in the underground city of Topeka in the film A Boy and His Dog. Immortan Joe has a metal band of sorts accompany his army of War Boys in Mad Max: Fury Road.
Perry’s podcast offers a spin on the old “desert island” question, but he chose a mountain cabin for his locale because he’s mostly talking to people in Colorado. The average Colorado-based musician likely has a clear picture in their mind of where their hypothetical cabin fortress might be located should a catastrophe like a zombie outbreak ever come to pass.
A zombie outbreak also poses a much more dire situation than sitting on a beach, and affects what records a person would choose. Perry’s gotten plenty of interesting answers to the question so far. Some people, for example, wanted a happy album, but also one that would match the dread of the outside world. Artist Lexie Baker made her choices just as much about the album art as the music itself, and her answer made Perry consider his own choices, because perhaps the art is just as important as the music. When Baker introduced that curveball, Perry’s mind went to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, which came with posters and stickers in addition to the cover art.
“If you bring vinyl, you have this beautiful cover,” Perry says. “She’s like, ‘I’m going to want this art to hang up in the cabin to make me feel safe from zombies.’”
When Perry is asked what his five albums would be, he offers up two: Time Out of Mind, by Bob Dylan, a suitable album for a zombie apocalypse or a desert island or wherever. It’s just one of his favorites. Sandinista, by the Clash, is another, because at 36 songs, it’s basically multiple albums covering numerous genres and all offered in a single package. “I feel like if I chose that, I’d basically be cheating,” he admits. “When it came out, Mick Jones said, ‘This is an album for people working on oil rigs and have nothing to do.’”
When Perry asked me the same question, I could only muster “some kind of aggressive death metal” to intimidate the gangs of looters trying to gain entry to the cabin, or the bagpipe record Dustin Hoffman used in the movie Straw Dogs to the same effect.
Perry, a Westword contributor, has been writing about music since junior high and has played in northern Colorado bands including the Yawpers and Gasoline Lollipops, so talking about records is definitely within his bailiwick. He sees a podcast as a way to become more intimate with the music community that he’s been part of for so many years. It’s also a way to stay involved, now that he’s a parent and has largely walked away from the demanding world of a touring musician.
“I love getting to know people,” he says. “Some of the guests are people I didn’t know before they walked into my bedroom. The Velveteers came over the other day, and we just had the greatest chat.”
He adds that a guest such as Bonnie Sims from Bonnie and Taylor Sims and Everybody Loves an Outlaw is someone he’s known for years but never had a chance to just sit down with one on one for an hour and talk.
During the podcast — new episodes premiere on Mondays — Perry and a guest talk about the five records, but kind of just let the conversation meander a bit as necessary. The loose approach really imparts a sense that it’s just people talking about music, and a casual listener will probably feel like a fly on the wall.
Episodes available to stream so far include those with Clay Rose of Gasoline Lollipops and jazz musician Jeremy Mohney; Perry has several interviews in the can, so expect more in short order. Upcoming guests include Demi Demitro of the Velveteers, Nick Urata of DeVotchKa, and Slim Cessna.
“I’m mostly having musicians, because that’s the world I exist in,” he says. “However, I’m also having artists and record store owners, and who knows? I’d like to have [U.S. Representative] Joe Neguse and [Governor] Jared Polis on my show.”
He hopes to make it an ongoing series with no end in sight. “I want to get to know people,” Perry concludes. “That’s the biggest thing.”
Mile High Stash is available on most major streaming platforms and at milehighstash.com.