Mile High Stash podcast interviews Colorado music legends

If the zombie apocalypse comes to Colorado, you’ll know where to find Adam Perry.

“Instead of pleasant desert-island scenario, it’s in Ward,” said the 42-year-old former drummer for Gasoline Lollipops and The Yawpers, and a longtime contributor to Boulder Weekly and Westword. “Maybe I’m stranded. Maybe I’m at the risk of being eaten. What would I listen to?”

Perry’s Mile High Stash podcast asks “what five albums you’d take to a remote Colorado cabin during a zombie apocalypse, armed with nothing but food, water and a crank-powered Victrola,” he said. “Oh, and we get to know our guests along the way.” Each episode is more conversation than list of bullet points, starting with a biographical chat before moving onto the quintet of favored albums, and dipping back and forth throughout.

It’s patterned after another one of Perry’s great loves, the BBC radio show Desert Island Discs, which has been going strong since 1942. Thanks to Perry’s music connections — and a lot of forced downtime due to a perilous battle with COVID — his own Mile High Stash burst out of the gate on Nov. 13 with an impressive lineup of Colorado music heavies. Perry’s interviews have since ranged from jazz-funk singer Hazel Miller to members of The Lumineers, DeVotchKa, Flogging Molly, The Velveteers, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club and Leftover Salmon.

Now the punk-rock lifer, who also interviews national artists such as Adrian Belew (Frank Zappa, David Bowie), Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), and Ben Nichols (Lucero), is prepping his podcast’s first live taping for April 1 at RiNo’s Number 38 — a free, all-ages show that includes an interview and performance from Denver’s Foxfeather.

Despite touring the globe with his previous acts — which he left in order to spend more time with his young daughter — Boulder-based Perry is not thrilled about the idea of appearing on stage without a drum kit.

“I played my first concert with a rock band when I was in sixth grade, so I’ve been playing drums in front of people for a very long time,” said Perry, who recorded a podcast episode with former Denver Post writer and current Atlantic senior editor John Hendrickson to talk about their shared, lifelong stuttering. “I don’t sing and I don’t talk on stage, so to be at the front and have nothing but a mic is (freaking) terrifying.”

Live music-and-interview programs, such as Boulder’s 31-year-old eTown, are nothing new in Colorado, nor are podcasts of any stripe that are hosted by and featuring men. Perry’s well aware of that and working to diversify a guest list that he knows could easily default to cisgendered white dudes.

He’s interviewed multiple members of the all-women folk band Big Richard, Demi Demitro and drummer Baby from The Velveteers, music legend Miller (his favorite interview, ever, he said), and has upcoming episodes with Rachel Sliker of the River Arkansas (April 3) and concert photographer Lisa Siciliano. He’s also invested in highlighting Indigenous voices, he said, including stand-up comic Joshua Emerson and Americana veteran Cary Morin.

“I’m trying to put a lot of thought into it instead of just saying, ‘This is so hard because I live in Boulder,’ which is not very diverse,” said Perry, a Pittsburgh native who moved to Colorado in 2008.

Perry has been immersed in Colorado music for nearly two decades, and that’s helped garner modest but vital sponsorships from businesses that sell cannabis, guitars, tattoos, liquor, concert tickets, and coffee. Some offered money (Perry wouldn’t say how much) to support the podcast before the first episode had been released.

Despite his stage fright and lack of experience leading a live show, Perry is looking forward to the Number 38 public taping, which he hopes won’t be the last.

“The more people there, the more it puts me at ease,” he said. “Red Rocks was the largest crowd I’ve ever played to (as part of Denver Film’s Film of the Rocks series), and it’s the least nervous I’ve been. You can feel that people just want you to do well.”

If you go

Mile High Stash live podcast. Free recording and performance with Foxfeather, 7 p.m. Saturday, April 1, at Number 38, 3560 Chestnut Place in Denver. Free and all-ages.

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