Colin McGuire and Chris Perry discuss their podcast, Could Be Better Meh, their take on the industry, and a fan from the other side of the world.
When Colin McGuire and Chris Perry are keenly aware that the business of music is difficult. Both young men are musicians in their own right, having played in various bands and running into one another socially rather often. They now host a podcast called “Could Be Better Meh,” in which they feature many bands and upcoming musicians from around our area—perhaps as a way to pay it forward by providing a platform for others seeking their big break.
The pair bases “Could Be Better Meh” in Frederick, Maryland. Recent episodes have featured players from such local talent as Feed the Scene, Suburban Avenger, and Roy Ghim. McGuire and Perry recently spoke with Alchemical Records about their podcast, their take on the industry, and a fan from the other side of the world. Our discussion has been edited and condensed.
ALCHEMICAL RECORDS: How did you two meet?
CHRIS: Colin and I played in separate bands. I always admired him from afar. One day, both of those bands [folded], and as they were kind of winding down, Colin and I were trying to find ways to continue our blossoming friendship. He was bartending at a local dive, and I was a frequenter of said dive. He said, “We should do shows at this place [because] we always have fun.” So we had a really cool rundown of shows set up…
COLIN: It [was during] the pandemic, so it must have been 2021.
CHRIS: Yeah, we were getting back into [performing live]. We had all these cool shows lined up. A couple weeks before we were going to start, they canceled them all. And out of that, we decided [to] start a podcast and give bands a platform to talk about the stuff that they were really excited to play and shows that ended up being canceled.
That would have been the first time bands had the chance to play anything new since covid. We kind of said, hey, this podcast might blow, but at least you can come and talk about your stuff.
In those bands you mentioned you were in, what instruments did you play?
COLIN: I play the drums, and Chris plays every form of guitar, I guess, at this point.
CHRIS: Yeah, guitar and bass. Do you count the sitar as a guitar? Because I cannot play the sitar.
Are you native to the area?
CHRIS: I refuse to say I’m D.C.-based. I’m an hour away. But I’m proud to say I’m from Frederick, and I’ve lived here my entire life.
COLIN: I got to Maryland about 12 years ago [from] a little small town in northwestern Pennsylvania.
Because there are so many podcasts out there, what is your recipe for success?
COLIN: I don’t know that we have one. I don’t know that we’re noticed.
CHRIS: I like to say, Eric, our goal is to blend in actually. We try to not stand out, and I think the least amount of effort we can provide gives us the maximum result—and then we don’t disappoint anybody or ourselves.
COLIN: We’ve done, what, 60-something episodes so far? I would say [most] of them, the guests have been some form of friends. A big component of this was to be able to prop up bands, like Chris said earlier, during the pandemic. So if you have a new record or you have a new song, we’d love to have you on and talk about it. I don’t know if there are a lot of podcasts, at least around this area, that do that on a regular basis right now.
When plotting out your next show, do you start with the guest and work backwards from there?
COLIN: Yeah, pretty much. I think there’s only been one or two times we’ve tried to go without a guest, so pretty much we’re guest-dependent. The whole point was to help out other artists. We showcase the guest’s music heavily on the episode.
I would like someday to have an actual live performance on [the program], but I think we’re light-years away from that.
After appearing on “Could Be Better Meh,” do the artists report back that they have experienced a noticeable bump in streams, bookings, etc.?
CHRIS: Oh yeah, that’s why we keep having return guests. We give everybody the Could Be Better bump every time they come on the show. So we see noticeable [increases in] TikTok streams and revenues. Colin is a trendsetter. It’s crazy.
By any chance, have you gotten messages from someone listening from very far away?
COLIN: We got [information] that one person has listened in Australia. I don’t know how that happened.
Because the bands you used to play in have since folded, what do you do with your non-podcast time?
COLIN: [laughs] Too much bullshit, that’s what it looks like. It’s actually become really hard because we’re kind of busy. Non-podcast hours for Chris involve being a dad now.
CHRIS: I’m a parent to a 15-month-ish-old, so that’s been kind of preoccupying my time for sure. He’s not old enough to guest on the show, but maybe one day, he can start mixing the show.
COLIN: I cover pro wrestling for some websites. I’m also in another band now called DUBlernuthin.
CHRIS: They have a super sick single called “Peachy Keen” that is out now—and just gets stuck in my head all the time.
How did you find your sponsors? I’m guessing you patronized at least some of them in the past.
CHRIS: Olde Mother Brewing Company is the best brewery in Frederick. We actually book all of their musical entertainment at their establishment, so they are a sponsor of the show. This season specifically, Texas Roadhouse is a sponsor. We do gift card giveaways because why not.
Where can people find your program?
CHRIS: Everything can be found at our website, CouldBeBetterMeh.com, and you can see our other shows that we have on our podcast network. YouTube is where things are at for people who like to watch things that you can also listen to.
What do you foresee happening for the podcast this summer and beyond?
CHRIS: The fall should be just about the same as what we have today, which is mediocre content with extremely great guests and terrible hosts.
To find episodes of the Could Be Better Meh podcast, go to https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/could-be-better-meh/id1601887457 or wherever you download podcasts. Visit CouldBeBetterMeh.com for even more.
A native of New Jersey, Eric Althoff has published articles in “The Washington Post,” “Los Angeles Times,” “Napa Valley Register,” “Black Belt,” DCist, ScreenComment.com and Luxe Getaways. He produced the Emmy-winning documentary, “The Town That Disappeared Overnight,” and has covered the Oscars live at the Dolby Theater. He lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia, with his wife, Victoria.
Queer duo Witch Weather discuss new album and the influence of the DMV on their sound.
Philadelphia-based queer punks Witch Weather have a message for anyone who feels hopeless and worthless: you are not alone. With an irresistible sound that draws from 80’s goth and lo-fi grunge, the indie duo wears their heart on their sleeve, giving voice to complex emotions that many would opt to suppress in the recesses of their minds.
Join Alchemical Records as they connect with Witch Weather to discuss the band’s new self-titled album, their search for a sense of belonging as members of the queer community, the important element that keeps the duo’s creative bond strong, and the influence of the DMV on their sound.