Oregon’s Cherry Poppin’ Daddies got their big break two years ago with “Zoot Suit Riot,” one of the biggest hits in the short-lived neo-swing movement.
The band didn’t mind having a hit, but it did feel like the song and its attendant album — a collection of swing numbers from its previous releases — weren’t fair representations for the band. So while the new Soul Caddy might surprise some with its mix of swing, glam, punk, reggae, and R&B, frontman Steve Perry says the album offers a more accurate picture of the breadth of styles the band determinedly pursues.
Surprise for New Fans “We made our first three records more like Soul Caddy than Zoot Suit Riot,” Perry explains. “This is really a return to what we do. We lucked out in that the way the modern world is, fads last two seconds and change every two seconds, and we were there for one of them. But now swing has had its two seconds.”
Perry says that besides making a broader record, the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies also feel that they can do the same with their concerts and play material that they once feared would fall flat with Zoot Suit Riot.
“When we had Zoot Suit Riot, we knew most people expected swing all night long,” Perry explains. “If we were going to play a punk rock song, you’d see some blue-haired lady who loves your swing stuff — she somehow heard us after her kids got her the album or something — and you go, ‘God, she’s not going to like this. It’s too loud.’
“We don’t want to disappoint people. We don’t want them to be unhappy. Hopefully, now we can give them a sense of what they want but still be able to be ourselves. The ultimate thing would be to be popular and have a lot of people know what you’re really like and like you for it. We’ll see if that happens for us.”