interview by Michael McCarthy

The following interview with Dave Perry, the owner of the late Lowell, Massachusetts record store Vinyl Destination, took place on Wednesday, May 1st, 2024. We did the interview inside of what was once Dave’s shop and where a large number of records remain. (A new owner will be opening A Damn Shame Records there in the not so distant future.) I must admit that there was something slightly eerie about being inside Vinyl Destination after it closed its doors forever on February 25th of this year. I felt a bit like I was visiting a ghost. After all, I was used to being inside the store when it was full of other customers, people having animated conversations about all things music. Prior the interview, I wondered if Dave would be his usual super friendly self or if he’d be feeling down or even bitter about the store being closed. However, it became obvious before we even started recording that Dave was in good spirits. I suppose that shouldn’t have been surprising since Vinyl Destination was closed because he felt he was ready for a new chapter in his life, not for any of the many unfortunate reasons that so many other record stores have gone out of business over the years.

Normally, I rely on my pre-written questions when conducting interviews, but I only glanced at them a couple of times during this discussion. Rather, what follows is more so a natural conversation. Enjoy!

MM: First of all, tell me about closing the store.

DP: It was February 25th. We shut the doors and put up the butcher paper to cover the windows to act like nothing was going on in here. And it’s been frozen in time like this.

MM: How do you feel when you come in here now?

DP: It’s weird. I feel like I’m kind of over this place to some degree physically. If I would have continued this, I would’ve changed it physically. I would do a lot of things. But I was at a point where the ten year mark meant changing something or leaving it. And I just wanted to start a new chapter. I’ve had two chapters in my life, pretty much. I was a writer. A reporter. A music writer. Feature writer or whatever. For newspapers. And then the second chapter was writing at UMass Lowell. And then this was kind of the third. And all along I’ve been a father and a husband.

Left to Right: Dave Perry, his oldest son, Ben, his younger son and business partner, Dan, then his wife, Wendy. It was closing day. About a minute before they closed the store for the last time.

MM: When you were doing UMass and Vinyl Destination at the same time, what was that like for your wife?

DP: Oh, she’s fine. She was good with it. She basically knew that I would be home at eight o’ clock or eight thirty or for dinner on Thursdays. There was a time there when we had nobody else to help and I was here Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. But working in a record store – in a lot of ways – is not really like work. While you’re here. The rest of the time can be kind of a pain.

MM: I would think that it would almost be more fun to work in a record store than to own one.

DP: Yeah, yeah, I don’t know. It’s a good question. I’ll never know that. [Both laugh]

MM: So you’d never worked in one before owning one?

DP: No, never did. I always wanted to. There was never an opening at the right time at the places I would go to or school or something was ramped up when there was a possibility.

MM: When I moved to California, I applied at record stores but I never received calls from any of them, unfortunately.

DP: Where were you in California?

MM: I was living in Glendale, which is right outside of L.A.

DP: It’s a hard thing to break into unless the timing is right. But I lived out there from ‘78 to ‘82. I was in San Francisco. I could’ve lived there for a long time but I could never live there now. It was very cheap and it was great when I was there. There was so much going on.

MM: Now some call it San Fransicko.

DP: [Laughs] Yeah, I guess, but I think there are people who want to make it sound like it’s worse than it might be. I was out there a few months ago for my uncle’s funeral and we went and saw it and it didn’t look bad; it just looked empty. I just drove through it. I didn’t spend time there. So, I don’t know, it’s weird. [Both laugh]

MM: The thing that was happening to me when I lived in Glendale was gentrification. At first, I loved it. Starbucks opened across the street from my apartment building. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf opened just down the street. Whole Foods. All these things kept opening up around me and I would usually walk everywhere in the neighborhood. So, it was great. But that was what kept driving the rent to go up. And since I left, they basically tore up a huge area of downtown and built this luxury mall. From what I’ve heard, it’s totally posh as can be.

DP: In Glendale?

MM: Yeah.

DP: That’s crazy.

MM: You sold records at The Town and The City Record Show over the weekend. What was it like going from a store to a table at a record show?

DP: It was great. I did record shows for decades before I opened the store. It was fun for the most part. When it’s a dud show, it’s really duddy but that one was great upstairs. What was great was that it was great to see everybody again. The greatest joy I had from all of this was just seeing the customers all the time. So, that was really fun. I had a good time.

MM: Roughly how many Vinyl Destination customers would you say you were on a first name basis with?

DP: Gosh, I don’t know.

MM: Was it hundreds? A thousand?

DP: No, but probably over a hundred. I wasn’t always great with names. I mean, one of the reasons I came to know one of my best customers was because I kept calling him the wrong name. His name was Jim and I kept calling him John. Finally, he came in one day and he said, “I don’t know why the hell you keep calling me John.” After that, for some reason we became really good friends. [Both laugh]

MM: I’m awful about names myself. Even faces to some degree. I don’t know if it’s part of my autism or something but I could probably go out on a date with someone and if we go out again she might walk into the restaurant or wherever and I might not recognize her.

DP: [Laughs] That could get you in trouble. [Both laugh]

MM: At The Town and The City, I met Adam, who’s taking over your spot here in Mill 5. His store is going to be called A Damn Shame Records, right?

DP: Yeah. That’s always been his social media name, A Damn Shame.

MM: Aside from record shows, has he sold records before, be it on ebay or something like that?

DP: No, this will be his first venture into that. Actually, Saturday at The Town and The City was his first time setting up at a record show. So, he is used to that a little bit. And I felt like it was really good for him to do that, too. His experience has been here and he worked at Newbury Comics before so he has some good experience. He can figure it out. If I can do it, anybody can do it, figuring out the ownership part. Sometimes it’s a pain. That’s one of the things that made me leave it. The whole business part of it.

MM: Was Vinyl Destination profitable, would you say?

DP: Yeah, yeah. And we had our best year last year. So that had nothing to do with why we closed. It was more that I was tired of a few things. The business part was one of them. I was at a point where I had to change or stop. And after ten years I looked around and I said I’d rather stop. Because of the business part and because selling records has changed in ten years. The customer base is smarter and they’re better because of the internet and everything, they’re much better about knowing what happens. But it’s also because they’ve become more fastidious in terms of asking which pressing is this and which thing is this and which one is that and it’s like, I mean, it’s really always been about the music with me. There were some collectible things – obviously, we had a wall of some high-priced stuff and you could ask me all day about that stuff. But to pull out a five dollar Jackson Browne record and say, is this the third pressing? It just came to be a little much.

MM: Collectors like that kind of annoy me, too.

DP: Yeah, and I’m a collector. So, I look for certain things but it just came to be too much of that. An overload thing. That became the first thing for some people.

MM: Speaking of which, I wanted to ask you about Record Store Day. When that kind of started, I loved it because a lot of artists were putting out previously unreleased music. But as it changed, it was more like new pressings of things on colored vinyl or picture discs and all of that.

DP: Great point. Record Store Day grew to be something that was a little bit out of control. For us, we had decided after the last black Friday not to do it anymore. So we wouldn’t have participated in this one. And the reason is that it became more of a hunt and gather kind of an operation. When it first started – the first year – me and my friend Fred went. And we just knew what this was right away. In terms of special pressings and stuff. And we would do that but like ten things. Now it’s like four hundred something and I get calls weeks ahead of time. And I would put out a thing and say we’re going to order and what would you want – not that I can give it to you specifically but I need to know what people would want. “I will come in and buy this if you get it.” And you order it and they don’t show up. The thing is, you can’t return anything. It’s a real mess for the stores. You get stuck. I had a pile over there of Record Store Day things that will never go anywhere. So you get stuck with stuff. It’s great for the labels, I guess. You can sell a bunch of stuff and not have to worry about having returns. That’s wonderful for them. But there’s a whole group of industry people who run it and it just feels like that’s what it has become. I don’t want to sell fifteen dollar singles. I don’t want to sell a bunch of lousy-sounding picture discs. And I’m not sure why you couldn’t have gotten that Joe Strummer record the first time it came out. Some of this stuff you can go find. The other thing was the night before and day of Record Store Day this last time. I was getting all kinds of calls. And it was obviously by people who didn’t care about the store. Because they didn’t know that we were gone. It’s a strange habit to feed.

MM: I was always waiting in line and I didn’t talk to people so much as listen to them and after a while it reminded me of Wall Street with all of these people there saying, “Sell this stuff. Buy this stuff.” And they’re all in a frenzy over what’s going to be going up in value and what’s going to be worthless. And it seemed like a lot of people were just buying things to hold onto them in hopes that they’d be worth a lot of money someday.

DP: They’re prospectors. And that’s exactly right. And that happened a lot. It became too much of that. More than it was anything else. The joy of Record Store Day was having people come in that you didn’t see for a while or you’d have people come in and discover your store. That was great. But the rest of it was this chase. And it became a lot. It became not worth it anymore. I was talking to Mel from Mel’s Records. He came to The Town and The City show Saturday and he said, you know, it really was good for him. He said he got about two hundred and fifty records and sold two hundred of them but the other fifty you’re stuck with for life. So, that’s the way it works. It’s not a big money thing. You take in a lot of money that day but you shell out a lot of money, too. These things are not cheap. I also felt like some of the prices on some of the things were outrageous. It’s that way now, too, with new stuff when it comes out. It drives me nuts.

MM: This year I was away at Mohegan Sun to see an Abba tribute band but I really wanted the Garbage EP because it had four previously unreleased tracks. And a friend of mine went and bought it for me as a surprise gift, which was awesome, but I looked at it and it cost 33.99.

DP: [Laughs] For an EP.

MM: For a four song EP. [Both laugh] When Record Store Day first started out, that would’ve been 15.99.

DP: Yeah. And the other thing is that there are a couple of middle men in this. There’s the artist on the outside and Record Store Day on the outside and in the middle there’s distributors and there’s us. We get the stuff from the distributors and we are the ones holding it. And we have to stand here and defend the price. And it’s hard to do. So, I wasn’t in the mood to do it anymore.

MM: Did the constantly rising prices of vinyl in general change the cliental or anything?

DP: You had certain people who would come in and pay anything for a new release by a certain artist. Like Radiohead. Those people are going to pay whatever it is. But there are younger people who have a hard time. I would see people come in and they would only buy the cheapest used records that I had in here. They would go and fish in the two dollar bins. And I knew that they didn’t want to spend – for whatever reason – fifteen or twenty bucks for another record. A Billy Joel record or Fleetwood Mac or something. So, they settled a lot. And I hated to see people settling over price.

MM: That’s how it was for me a lot of times.

DP: This is crazy but when I was younger there was a store on Main Street in Danbury Connecticut back in the late seventies where everything was like three bucks. Promo copies. So I would get my paycheck and go down there and blow thirty bucks a week. You could try things out then. I think it’s harder for people to look at a record and go, I think I’ll give this a try when it’s thirty, thirty five bucks.

MM: Exactly. Aside from the occasional one or two dollar record, everything that I buy on vinyl now is something that I’ve already heard and loved.

DP: Right. Because you want that vinyl experience with it, right?

MM: Yeah. Otherwise, if I’m buying something I haven’t heard, it’s an artist that I already know and love. But in the ‘90s, I used to go into Boston at least once a week and hit about ten record stores. I’d go into Newbury Comics and they’d have all the new CDs from 7.99 to 9.99 and I’d buy three or four without even knowing what genre they were, just because I liked the cover or the song titles. And that’s how I found a lot of artists that I love.

DP: It’s hard to be able to do that anymore. I don’t know what’s going to happen. What’s going to change. Who knows?

MM: On the other hand, you can get exposed to new artists if you go on Spotify or something, but it’s infinite how many there are. There’s just so much that it’s almost overwhelming.

DP: I’m one of those people who doesn’t do any streaming. I listen to the radio in the car, but it’s usually the news. When I’m driving with my wife, we’ll listen to Kiss 108 or The River or something. And at home, it’s whatever I want to listen to. I’m at that stage now where I feel like there’s not a lot of time to fuck around with stuff that’s garbage or that I might not like or whatever. I’m a little less into discovering stuff now, which eats at me, too. I’m not proud or happy about that. Because that was always my great joy, finding something. Now it’s a little tougher to do that. I have like walls of records in my basement. It’s insane. So it’s hard for me to justify not listening to them to some degree.

MM: I’m always listening to new music but at the same time I’m listening to more old stuff. I used to primarily listen to new releases. Even with bands I love, I’d be constantly listening to their new record but rarely listening to their old records.

DP: Who are some of the older people that you’re listening to?

MM: Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, bands like that which I grew up with. That was pretty much all I listened to when I was a teenager. It was, ironically, in the mid nineties when I was publishing a heavy metal zine called Ant, The Only Cool Magazine That Bites, that I wound up on all of these lists with publicists and they’d send me everything, every genre under the sun. So I’d listen to some of them and I’d like them so that really moved me to start listening to everything. Prior to the heavy metal phase, I did listen to things like Duran Duran, Michael Jackson and The Pretenders, so a lot of non-metal stuff but by the time I was a teenager it was eat, sleep, and breathe heavy metal. But those promos of other stuff gave me the opportunity to get into other stuff again.

DP: You were hooked. But that’s great – it’s a privilege to be able to have that stuff.

MM: I’m not sure if I ever asked you this before, but roughly how many records would you say you own?

DP: I probably have about twenty thousand.

MM: Are they all at home?

DP: Yes, they’re all at home now. They didn’t used to be, but yeah.

MM: What about CDs? Do you have a lot of those?

DP: I probably have about ten thousand of those because I used to get those when I was writing reviews and writing about music. Things would just show up. So I just kept those. The CDs I had been selling here were the ones that I had from another fellow late music writer’s collection. I would go through it and there were about six thousand when I was taking them out of his basement and I would go, oh my God. This was so close to mine. I remember the day I got this and that.

MM: I’ve only seen pictures of collections like that. I own about three thousand CDs and one thousand records along with a few hundred cassettes that I still have from back in the day.

DP: That’s a healthy collection, though. I could show you a picture of sort of some of my basement. It doesn’t really capture the whole breadth of the thing…

MM: Is it a finished basement? Environmentally controlled or whatever?

DP: Not as environmentally controlled as I’d like. When we moved in, one of the things I wanted to do was get it somewhat finished. [Dave goes through phone] I was going through all of this stuff and I found my signed James Brown poster, some Ray Pettibon signed art, numbered, and a whole lot of other autographed stuff. [Dave shows Mike a photo of part of his basement, which is wallpapered with records.] Here’s part of it. A section of it. Behind this wall here is another room that’s just completely filled as well. And then there are a lot upstairs, too.

MM: How is it organized? Or is it not organized?

DP: It’s getting organized. The stuff upstairs was always alphabetical. Now one of my jobs is doing that. Getting it organized, just alphabetical. With rock in one place, jazz in another.

MM: When you decided to close Vinyl Destination, did you go back and forth on it a lot or did you make a decision and hold firm?

DP: It wasn’t one moment, but my son and I talked about it a lot. We were co-owners and partners, me and my son Dan, and he was most concerned about how I would feel afterwards. Would I regret it? I was also concerned about that. But I was also just done with the taxes and all the crap that is the other side of the coin. I loved going out and buying records and selling records. It was that simple. And the rest of it gets in the way. But everything’s changed. The parking is more difficult downtown. There’s more spaces it seems but it’s more difficult. It became bigger or more unwieldy than I wanted it to be. One of the things that we did was we went and looked at another place. This place was in Chelmsford and basically I’d wondered if some of it was the mill or was it me or what. But we were offered a great spot in Chelmsford and we didn’t take it. It would have been affordable and everything else but I realized that I just didn’t want to do it anymore. It shouldn’t be that tough of a decision. You should know that stuff right away. But I wanted to make sure.

MM: So how have you been feeling since you closed then?

DP: Kind of mixed. I don’t regret it but I miss it sometimes. I’ll see somebody somewhere and be like, oh my God, there’s one of my customers. It’s different. It’s just different. I miss Saturdays being in here and talking to people. I’ll get some of that from record shows, but those won’t be here (at Mill 5) for the most part. They’ll be other places. I miss a lot of the partners here. We became sort of like really good friends. That becomes another part of it. But I can always come visit them. It’s not like we’re all dead or something.

MM: When you were working in the store, you were always playing music. Did you just play whatever you felt like listening to or did you play things that you thought would sell?

DP: It was both. Most of the time it was whatever I wanted. I would come in and go, look at this, I’ll play this Madlib record or I’ll play Tom Petty or some punk record or something. But there were times when it would become a fun experiment that mainly Dan and I would do. Years ago, we would put on the first record that Durand Jones and The Indications put out. We would put it on for fun and if we had about ten people in the store somebody would come up and go, “What is that? I love that.” And we’d sell one. And I did it more recently with a record I just love called Cool by Colleen Green, a local artist. Colleen made this record and it’s just so infectious and so good that I played it because I loved it, but, also, we had that reaction. People would come up and go, “Who is this?”

MM: What genre is it?

DP: It’s like alternative with really good pop smarts to it. Really good. She’s great.

MM: I believe at one point you’d said that Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours was your best-selling record. Did that ever change?

DP: It still is! It remains the champion. I could never keep it in stock. Ever. It was very difficult. [Laughs]

MM: It kind of boggles my mind a little bit, just wondering how younger people would even know to look for that. How they would’ve been exposed to it.

DP: My theory is that people who are pretty young – probably in college or high school now – at some point, found it in their parents’ record collection and put it on and were like, “Wow, what is this? It’s pretty cool.” It’s got all of these different aspects to it. There’s different people who write and different people who sing and you have the whole witchy Stevie Nicks thing. There’s a lot of ways it can appeal. Some records, if you hear it, you’re sold. That seems to be what happened with that one.

MM: What else sold a lot?

DP: Durand Jones sold a lot with that little experiment we had. Bowie always sold. Who else sold a lot? Johnny Cash was a big seller. Who else? I don’t know – it’s not like I kept good enough track. Those are just the ones that come to mind. And Billy Joel sold a lot. Can’t figure that one out. Not that he’s a bad artist. It must be the same Fleetwood Mac thing where people heard it and liked it.

MM: Not to talk about something depressing, but what was it like owning a record store during the pandemic?

DP: Oh, that was fine. We were closed for four months. We were very careful with everything. It was a little daunting because you felt a certain sense of responsibility as the owner of a space that where people would come in and there would be traffic. For a while we were really tight with how many people could come in. Everybody had to have a mask. You had to put sanitizer on. And, eventually, as time went on, we had things loosen up a bit. Suddenly, it was like you didn’t have to have a mask but until two months ago we asked people to use hand sanitizer. And that’s not a bad thing in a record store anyway. It really wasn’t a huge thing. I mean, to be honest with you, when we shut that down my job at UMass Lowell became really weird, too. We were doing everything with this new thing called Zoom. We were living our lives virtually as workers. So not having the store for four months allowed me to do that. But here’s the thing, Mike – we were never a business that took money out. We literally didn’t need the income from this to survive as people so we were incredibly fortunate and spoiled. We had that great privilege going for us that we didn’t have to do that. I didn’t apply for any twenty six thousand dollar relief for being a business owner or any of that. And the reason is that we didn’t deserve it. We didn’t do anything. We didn’t need it.

MM: I heard that the estimate is that 260 billion dollars that went out during the pandemic was fraud. People put in for it who didn’t even own businesses.

DP: And it was so easy to get the money because they wanted to get the money into people’s hands. The intentions were good. But we didn’t need it and I also felt like there were a lot of people who really needed it, including people who have businesses here. I watched them put things together and work really hard to do that and I felt like good for them, but I also felt like how lucky I was. We were very fortunate.

MM: How much inventory did you hold onto when you closed the store?

DP: For me?

MM: Or for you to sell at record shows.

DP: That’s a good point. Not that much. Only a few hundred records. I mean, we had this huge sale the last basically two weekends that we were here. I wanted to get rid of as much as I could then. But I did pull some stuff that would do well at record shows. We’ll see how that works.

MM: At what point did you and Adam start talking about him opening a shop here?

DP: Last summer. Because I was still fighting with that. I was like, if I do that, this would be the perfect person to be able to do this. It was just a hint then. We didn’t even really talk about it too deeply. And then when I finally decided to close I was kind of gung-ho about him getting it. But there’s still money stuff to work out. That’s the thing, you know? It’s still a business and you still have to get the minimum of what you need.

MM: So how will things work? Is he buying the business from you or…?

DP: No, he’s buying the leftover inventory. What’s here after the sale and everything. As for the business, when Dan and I started this we kind of said, you know what, the name is going to die with us. I can’t imagine Adam wanting to be Vinyl Destination anyway. He would want to very much have his own thing. He has a different focus and it’s going to be a different store. And it’s going to be a better store for some people. I think that’s great and that’s what I want him to have.

MM: I know you mentioned that you wanted to travel when you were closing the store. You went to Ireland recently, right?

DP: Last fall in September. I just loved it. It was great. Me and my wife, we didn’t really do a lot of that over the years. We were kind of family-centric so we didn’t do that. I think we’d like to do some trips. We’re talking about a Norway trip in the fall. We’re going to Hudson, New York for a few days. We’re going to just do some stuff we couldn’t do. A lot of day stuff, probably, but I’d love to see this country more. I’d love to get on a little train trip and go across the country. We’re still talking about it. I haven’t done anything about it yet but now I’m just starting to wind down from this.

MM: Did you go to a lot of record stores in Ireland?

DP: Of course. Oh my goodness, yeah.

MM: What were they like?

DP: There were a few that were pretty mundane, to be honest with you. In Kilkenny we went to this place called Rollercoaster Records, which I loved. It was just this really good guy who had started a store and it was very much a reflection of him. He played a part in this local festival they had, which is going on now, I think. It’s an arts fest with a lot of music. I said, to him, yeah, I have a store in the States and he was like, oh, where? And I said that it’s in the Boston area in a city called Lowell. He said, “I’ve heard of Lowell.” I said, yeah, we’re Vinyl Destination. And he said, “I’ve heard of you guys.” I said, “Get out of here.” I’m still not sure I believe it but it was pretty cool to talk to this guy. He was a great guy. And there was a metal store in Dublin that I really liked. The Sound Cellar. But we were with friends – this other couple — and I didn’t want to make it this record extravaganza excursion. Plus, that’s just not what I wanted.

MM: I bought so many CDs in Paris. Once a week I would be going to the post office to mail them to myself. [Dave laughs] If I came back with 500 CDs at once in a suitcase, they’d make me pay something.

DP: That’s true.

MM: Plus, it’s heavy to carry them all around.

DP: That’s a good point. That was pretty smart.

MM: I bought the boxes at the post office there and they fit six piles of CDs perfectly. Like they were designed for that. And, oddly, I can’t say that any of them arrived damaged.

DP: That’s good.

MM: Maybe there were one or two jewel cases that were cracked but I honestly don’t remember that.

DP: There’s some great stuff over there, too. A lot of bootlegs and things where you can’t get the music here.

MM: Yeah. And I listen to a lot of music in foreign languages, especially French. So I was buying tons of French music.

DP: Well, there you go. Perfect.

MM: What was the inventory like in record stores in Ireland? Was it mostly the same stuff you see here or was it a lot different?

DP: I’ll tell ya, the metal store was a lot of the same stuff as in the States. The other place was more European. Fewer U.S. artists, although they did have a lot of them. Just from a casual look, it was pretty Eurocentric. As you would expect it to be. They were pretty good with local artists. The music in Ireland, though? It’s great. Not as much in the stores as it is when you walk into a pub. There’s a place called The Home Rule club there that we walked into the same night I went to that record store. They had four guys playing in a corner. Just two other people in the pub. And we found out later that it was a private pub and they could have thrown us out at any time but they didn’t. They welcomed us. And these guys that played, it was so good. You have it all of the time here at The Folk Festival, too, but when it first started there were these parties at the hotel afterwards and they were wonderful. It was like you’d see Alison Krauss and the Irish people were in the corner. People who just have to play. And so that was the great thing about Ireland. That’s the part I loved most – the music part. We went to some other place – I forget where it was – but these four women were playing these revolution songs and I was just enthralled. It was incredible.

MM: I listen to music from all over the world but I can’t think of any contemporary Irish artists that I listen to. Well, there was a band I liked called The Corrs.

DP: Oh, sure, yeah. The Corrs were great. They were a family band, too, so they had those incredible harmonies. But the stuff I like tends to be the traditional stuff that gets picked up by younger people. This band Planxty that just lead a revolution out of there. And they were just so good. They were like the Metallica of Irish music or something. But then you find out there are other people who are just as good who you don’t know.

MM: When you heard Irish music there, did the accents come through or do they kind of lose the accents when they’re singing?

DP: The women were the ones who sang. The guys in The Home Rule club just played. But the women sang and there’s a certain cadence in Irish music that the vocals fit to. So I think the accent part was there a little bit because it’s rooted in traditional music but we didn’t hear people sing in Gaelic or Irish at all.

MM: When was the last time you made a mix CD or playlist or anything like that?

DP: Hardly ever. It’s funny. I was reading a book called Why Vinyl Matter and Nick Hornby was talking about how he didn’t really make a lot of lists either. I could do it but I don’t even have a cassette player and my CD players don’t have a burner at all. So I can’t really make those. I tend to be sometimes hyper about what I listen to. I’ll play one song then I’ll go to some other thing. So I guess I do sort of mix it up in my basement for myself live.

MM: I make a lot of playlists.

DP: Like what? What do you base them on?

MM: Some of them are mixes, like 20 artist mix CDs, but then I also have all of these playlists that are like French Music 2024 and anything I download in French this year will get thrown into that. So it’s kind of like an organizing system.

DP: Yeah, that makes sense.

MM: I used to make a lot of mix CDs. I had a home stereo component CD player that recorded. And those mix CDs that I made 25 years ago still work. But I’ll tell you, every damn mix CD I made on a computer that many years ago won’t work. You put them in a CD player and it can’t even find anything on it.

DP: I will have to try that. I was going through a bunch of stuff the other day because that’s what you tend to do when you get old, you go through stuff. So I was going through this box and I found a mix tape I made for my wife back in 1980. I mean, c’mon, that’s crazy. And I realized that I made them a lot back then.

MM: What was the most you ever paid for a record and what record was it?

DP: It was a Bob Dylan box set. And it was two years ago this week. I was at the Austin Record Convention. I went down there as a vacation. I was going to go by myself but my wife said why don’t we go? So we spent four days down there. It’s a really good record show. It’s the largest in the U.S. And this guy had the box set – it’s called Ten of Swords – and it’s a bootleg but it’s really good. Truly state of the art for bootlegs. So I paid four hundred bucks for it. It’s like twelve hours or something. I thought it was like a bargain. [Laughs] But I have a hard time paying a lot of money for stuff.

MM: Was the material on it like previously released stuff or was it all unreleased studio tracks or live music or what?
DP: Well, now some of it has been released on The Basement Tapes but back then none of it had come out. It was a revelation. It was incredible back then. It was one of those things that made Dylan and Columbia finally do The Basement Tapes series.

MM: I imagine people had been trading that stuff for years.

DP: Some of it, yeah.

MM: The last time we did an interview Hulu was about to debut that High Fidelity series. What did you end up thinking about that?

DP: I really liked it a lot. It was good. I mean, I was a little concerned that it might just be some kind of rip off but they did their own version of it. So I thought that was really nice. And I’m a big Zoe Kravitz fan, too.

MM: Yeah, I really like her, too.

DP: I thought she was great in it. It was nice having a female lead it it. They did flip a few things. And they closed the first episode with “I Can’t Stand the Rain” by Ann Pebbles, which most people didn’t know that Tina Turner didn’t do that originally. Ann Peebles did it first. And it still blows me away. So they used music really effectively in it. And I thought the acting was great.

MM: I really liked it, too. Unfortunately, Hulu didn’t renew it.

DP: Nope, nope, and there’s another one that I just revisited that I just love. It’s called Loudermilk and it’s about a guy who is a cantankerous former music writer who leads sort of a twelve step-ish program. It’s about all of the things that he goes through and the people he comes across and it’s really good. Tons of music.

MM: Does any of it take place in record stores?

DP: Yes, some of it does. I mean, some of the key scenes take place in a record store.

MM: I’ll have to check it out. I’ve heard good things about it but I didn’t know it had anything to do with music or record stores.

DP: Yeah, he’s a writer who is kind of sidetracked by other stuff.

MM: Did you ever see that movie About A Boy with Hugh Grant. It was based on a novel by Nick Hornby like High Fidelity. I always think of that because Hugh Grant’s character wrote that one-hit wonder.

DP: Yeah, it’s good. It was really good.

MM: What’s your home stereo system like? What brands do you have and such?

DP: I’m very fortunate to have had a couple of speakers – I don’t remember the brand, which were given to me by a friend who had just shifted his stereo about fifteen years ago. He was like, do you want these? And they were massive, valuable high quality speakers so I took them. And I also have a Macintosh amp and a Macintosh pre-amp. Those are really good and I have a Thorens turntable and those are great stuff but not fancy. And I don’t have it built up in a special cabinet or anything. It’s just out there and it’s there to use. It’s not there to be pretty or anything.

MM: My last question is have you thought about writing a memoir or screenplay or something about the Vinyl Destination experience?

DP: Oh, Mike, yes, I’ve thought about doing some kind of a fiction book that involves things that really happened in here. I just haven’t gotten there yet. There’s a lot of people who are not happy about that. People who I know who want me to do that. So, I may give it a shot. I have the computer ready to go. But to do something like that, you really need a direction or a thought about it and I’ve been close a couple of times but I haven’t quite gotten there yet.

Special thanks to Dave Perry for doing another interview with us and for all of the great Vinyl Destination memories. We wish you the best of luck with whatever you do next.


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