Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Apr 25th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Back in Full Swing

event CherryPoppinDaddiesCherry Poppin’ Daddies battle identity crisis and pigeonholing and come out on top

Steve Perry, the lead singer of Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, never thought the band would make it as far as it has when the members first joined forces in 1989.

“Oh, hell no,” Perry laughs. “At our first show there was so much of an us-versus-them thing going on. We gave ourselves an ironic and off-putting name to keep people away. We didn’t want people to see our show, so we didn’t think there would be people who would like us.”

Fast forward to 1997 when their megahit album Zoot Suit Riot hit shelves, and everything changed overnight. Hits like the lively title track and its follow-up “Brown Derby Jump” catapulted the band into the spotlight. But that success came with some drawbacks—a few of which are still felt even today.

“When Zoot Suit Riot became a hit, people saw us as being a swing band, and not the way we wanted to be and not as what we had been for 10 years, which was a band that did whatever we wanted to do,” says Perry. “After that record came out, we tried to say ‘This is what we do. We’re a punk rock band with horns,’ but that was hard because so many people had already put us in this little box. We still get pigeonholed.”

Cherry Poppin’ Daddies has actually spent a large portion of its career not making swing music, but rather pumping out ska, punk rock, rockabilly and psychobilly tunes. In fact they haven’t made a full-on swing album since Zoot Suit Riot until now. The band’s newest effort, White Teeth, Black Thoughts, released this week, puts them right back in the swing game. But although the album is largely upbeat, the lyrics are just as subversively sinister as anything the band members have ever written.

“We started the writing process back in 2008 or 2009 when the economy was really cratering,” Perry says. “You started seeing more cardboard signs and the Occupy protests were everywhere. So it got me thinking about that whole, ‘Brother, can you spare a dime,’ 1930s kind of vibe.”

The lively track “Whiskey Jack” puts a dreary, modern-day spin on the Jack and Jill nursery rhyme by shining light on the sometimes down-and-out reality of life. And though the title track has a romantic, jazz lounge feel to it, the lyrics criticize gamesmanship and deceitfulness. Still, “The Babooch” is the album’s most stark commentary on the economic crisis.

“I think of The Babooch as being like Nick Carraway in ‘The Great Gatsby,’” Perry reflects. “He wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but he’s getting all the benefits of being one of the rich people—the Haves, the One Percent. So I wanted to write a song about his dilemma of being part of the One Percent, but not. I wanted to write about these people that are the winners and how that must feel.”

Perry says he is excited to share the new material on Wednesday at The Catalyst, but promises fans that they’ll hear old standbys as well.

“We don’t get out that much and there are so many songs people want us to play, so we’re not just going to play the new record when the fans don’t really know it yet,” Perry laughs. “So we’ll play some of the new stuff, but some of the old stuff as well, the ‘Zoot Suit Riot’s, ‘Brown Derby Jump’s and all that.” 


Cherry Poppin’ Daddies will perform at 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 24, at The Catalyst Atrium, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $16/adv, $20/door. For more information, call 423-1338.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

We Can Rebuild You

A look back at how downtown Santa Cruz recovered from the 1989 earthquake

 

International Earth Day—Mother Earth Day

Every April 22, humanity celebrates International Mother Earth Day and Earth Day. As more than a billion people participate in Earth Day activities every year, Earth Day has become the world’s largest civic observance. The massive concern to build right relations between humanity and the living being we call Earth is evidence of humanity’s love of the Mother. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 22 International Mother Earth Day, with a significant resolution affirming “the interdependence existing among human beings, other living species (the kingdoms—mineral, plant, animal and human) and the planet itself, the Earth which we all inhabit.” The Earth is our home. Celebrating Earth Day helps us define new emerging processes (economic, social, political) focused on the well-being of the kingdoms. Through these, humanity seeks to raise the quality of life, foster equality and begin to establish right relations with the Earth. We dedicate ourselves to bringing forth balance and a relationship of harmony with all of nature. Learn about planting a billion trees (the Canopy Project); participate in 1.5 billion acts of green. Disassociation (toward Earth) is no longer viable. We lose our connection to life itself. Participation is viable—an anchor, refuge and service for all of life on Earth. Visit earthday.org; harmonywithnatureun.org; and un.org/en/events/motherearthday for more information. From Farmers Almanac, “On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, companionship with nature! Go barefooted. Walk through woods, find wildflowers and green moss. Remain outside, no matter the weather!” Nature, Earth’s most balanced kingdom, heals us. The New Group of World Servers is preparing for the May 3 Wesak Buddha Taurus solar festival. We prepare through asking for and offering forgiveness. Forgiveness purifies and like nature, heals.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Mission Critical

How reading Lisa Jensen’s reviews taught me to love film
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Oral Fixations

Blown away by a Tuesday night dinner at Oswald

 

What would you like to see a TED talk about?

Hydrogen-gas cars that are coming this summer. Scott Oliver, Santa Cruz, Professor

 

Sarah’s Vineyard

Sarah’s Vineyard of Gilroy is known for crafting fine wines—and one of my all-time favorites is its Chardonnay. But this time, its Viognier has my vote.

 

Munch

East Coast meets West Coast in new meat lover’s paradise