333. The Innocence – Dave Perkins


Dave Perkins

Dave Perkins first solo project was released on the single greatest four release label in history, What? Records. the label released only four albums and all four made the list! It could be the label released impressively talented artists with thought provoking and challenging content, which has proven to be a death knell in the CCM industry. But fortunately for all this album was released.

Perkins made a name as a great musician and producer working with Mark heard, Steve Taylor, Randy Stonehill, Phil Keaggy, Over the Rhine, Squeeze and many, many more. The sound is American rock with a wall of guitars. And when I mean wall, I mean like the Great Wall of China type wall. The sound is HUGE!

I have always loved Perkin’s scratchy and straining voice. It always seemed to be on edge and pushing the limits. In fact, every time I hear Stonehill’s “Wild Frontier” album that Perkins produced, it always sound like Stonehill is trying his best Perkins impression.

The sound on the album will draw positive comparisons to the famed Steve Taylor lead Chagall Guevara album. This makes sense given that Perkins played guitar, co-wrote many of the songs and sings on that albums closer. But there are also touches of The Alarm’s epic anthem rock.

One may also here the pounding and thrashing of the short-lived band Passafist as well in a few songs. Again, no coincidence given that Perkins was also a driving force behind that band as well. One of the great joys of What? records was in the freedom with which the artists on the label were allowed to produce their art. There was no “go back and get us a single” mandate. This is clear as there are no ballads for CCM radio to be found. The closest thing to a potential single was a cover of Turn, Turn Turn. But even there the song arrangement was way too heavy for Christian radio at the time.

Here is another album worth trying to track down. The short-lived nature of the label did not allow for a lot of copies to be made available and they were quickly taken out of print as the label dissolved. Given that, it is still an AYSO.

  1. Blake R
    October 29, 2010 at 4:35 am

    Solid album all the way through and definitely one that’s still a great listen two decades later. Thanks for all of your work on this list. Reminding me of so many albums I forgot I ever owned and some that I was never familiar with but am tracking down now. Great fun.

  2. Shawn McLaughlin
    October 30, 2010 at 5:47 am

    Perkins is now a Ph.D. student at Vanderbilt’s Center for the Study of Religion and Culture, and currently serves as Administrative Director for Vanderbilt’s Religion in the Arts and Contemporary Culture program. He released a GREAT blues record last year called Pistol City Holiness.


  3. Tim
    November 18, 2010 at 4:51 am

    I have to disagree with the comment that Turn, Turn, Turn is the only possible single on this record, even though it’s all a matter of opinion. My nominees, in order, would be:

    1. Every New Day
    2. Make Me Feel
    3. Innocence
    4. Revolution
    5. Orbit
    6. Turn, Turn, Turn

    I’d say 2, 3 and 4 are a 3-way tie. I simply didn’t care for the other songs, kind of a love-hate thing with this record!

    Fun fact: he bought recording gear with his budget and made the record. He still has all that gear and uses it. (he’s a Facebook friend and I asked him questions about this record.)

    Anyway, just wanted to chime in with my 2 cents!

    • low5point
      November 18, 2010 at 2:02 pm

      A few of 1 thru 5 were rock radio singles. When I mention Christian radio singles I am primarily speaking about the more pop or CHR stations. No station in the late 80’s would touch anything as progressive or heavy as 1 thru 5

  4. Brett C
    December 2, 2010 at 6:57 am

    Every album that was ever released on the too short lived What? Records is a AYSO.

  5. Shawn McLaughlin
    May 13, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    I think “Every New Day” was borderline for what would have been on CHR radio at that time. It certainly wasn’t much “harder” than “Turn, Turn, Turn.” Definitely the most ‘Byrdsian’ original track on the album.

  6. Rob Karhukangas
    July 31, 2012 at 2:25 am

    Which Squeeze project(s) was he involved in? Squeeze is one of my favourite secular bands, especially from my teen years.

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