Eclectic swing band and beyond touring new album White Teeth, Black Thoughts
“You can’t fake something that’s fine,” says Steve Perry, founder and frontman of the one and only Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.
Masters of both extraordinary elegance and bird-flipping fury, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies are indeed the real deal. Ever impossible to pigeonhole, White Teeth, Black Thoughts sees the Eugene, Oregon-based big band pushing themselves to the outer limits of inspiration and invention, resulting in two-count ‘em-two distinctive collections. The primary album marks CPD’s first jazz and swing-powered outing in more than a decade, while the exhilarating bonus disc is built upon a twisted frame of guitar-slinging rock ‘n’ roll. Perry once again affirms his standing as a songwriter, bandleader, and bomb thrower of the first order with songs like the defiant “I Love American Music,” utilizing deeply embedded textures of the past to directly and provocatively face up to our present and future. As brave and articulate as it is boisterous and celebratory, Cherry Poppin' Daddies’ White Teeth, Black Thoughts is the souped-up, swinging sound of America’s dance band playing as the ship goes down.
“We’re a modern band talking about modern problems,” Perry says. “This is not a nostalgic record. If anything, it’s a record about nostalgia. I’m not interested in old things, I’m interested in how old things function now.”
Despite scoring a 2x RIAA platinum certified smash with 1999’s cutting “Zoot Suit Riot,” Perry and the Daddies never made another swing record, choosing instead to try their hand at Motown soul, R&B, psychedelia, funk, and country, not to mention Latin, Caribbean, and other world musics.
“’Zoot Suit Riot’ allowed us to continue to do our art,” Perry says. “None of this would’ve been possible without it. I didn’t make a record like this new one then because I didn’t want to. A lot of the other bands did and that’s what I didn’t like. It was so orthodox."
Perry spits the last word like a slur, confirming the contrarian principles long entrenched in the Daddies aesthetic. The band has kicked against the pricks since day one, inspired by iconoclasts from Marcus Aurelius to Frank Zappa and driven by a committed anti-establishment bent forged in the fiery crucible of punk.