Cherry Poppin’ Daddies are a ska-swing band from Eugene, Oregon. It was formed in 1989 by singer and sole lyricist Steve Perry and bassist Dan Schmid. As of January 2013, there are three founding members remaining: Perry, Schmid, and trumpeter Dana Heitman. According to Wikipedia.org, “The Daddies' music is primarily a mix of swing and ska, characterized by a rhythmic rock and roll influence, a prominent horn section and Perry's darkly mordant lyricism. While the band's earliest releases were rooted mostly in punk rock and funk, their subsequent studio albums have since incorporated elements from many diverse genres of popular music and Americana into their sound, including rockabilly, rhythm and blues, soul and world music.” In 1990, the band’s first studio album was released; it is entitled Ferociously Stoned. Rapid City Muscle Car followed; it was released four years later.
In these early days of Cherry Poppin’ Daddies,’ the band’s style was often described as “extravagant” and “provocative” due to its stage shows. Costumes were flamboyant, and “a typical Daddies performance would often feature go-go dancers, phallic stage scenery, prop-heavy vaudevillian skits and choreographed dance numbers. Perry — performing under the mad scientist stage persona of "MC Large Drink" — would engage in absurdist shock rock antics such as mock crucifixion, flag burning and slathering his body with various foods and liquids.” –Wikipedia.org
The band found itself embroiled in controversy due to some of its stage props and antics; it had on occasion received unfavorable and unwanted attention from feminist groups who condemned the band’s performances as “pornographic” and promoting sexism. Boycotts against the band’s venues were organized. For a period of time, the band dropped “Cherry Poppin’ from its name. (It shorted it name to “The Daddies” and “The Bad Daddies.”) Once the negative attention waned, though, the band recaputured its full name: Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.
In 1994, the band began touring full-time, traveling coast-to-coast. It developed a steady following in the San Francisco Bay area, and that same year it was awarded the title “Best Unsigned Band” by SF Weekly. From 1996 to 1997, there were at least 15 line-up changes. Most importantly, original keyboardist Chris Azorr and co-founder Schmid left the band. Stress from full-time touring has often been cited as the reason for so many band member exits.
In 1996, the band’s studio album Kids on the Street was released. Cherry Poppin’ Daddies received mainstream attention in 1997 with its swing compilation Zoot Suit Riot. To date, it has sold over two million copies in the United States alone. It became the first album of “swing revival” to make it onto Billboard 200; it peaked at #17 and spent 53 weeks on the charts. The single by the same name received much airplay. Later that year, Mojo signed the once staunchly independent band to a full recording contract. (The band had previously refused to sign with any label because it refused to align itself with any one musical genre.)
However, in 2000 the band went on hiatus after its follow-up album Soul Caddy was a commercial failure. “Soul Caddy interwove swing and ska with glam rock, soul, psychedelic pop, folk and funk.” (Wikipedia.org) Soul Caddy lacked the swing music that had helped the band gain not only success, but its own following. “The Los Angeles Daily News placed Soul Caddy on their list of the 10 worst albums of 2000.” -Wikipedia.org. Mojo released the band from its contract. In 2002, the band regrouped and began touring part-time, but it would be 2006 before the band would once again tour full-time.
In 2008, Susquehanna (the band’s fifth album) was released. “Susquehanna featured prominent strains of Latin and Caribbean-influenced music, incorporating flourishes of flamenco, Latin rock and reggae into the band's traditional fare of swing, ska and rock. Though its low-profile DIY release went mostly unnoticed by the mainstream media, response from internet-based publications ranged from mixed to positive, with reviewers once again polarized over the album's eclectic blend of genres. In support of Susquehanna, the Daddies embarked on another full-length tour in mid-2008, followed by a headline tour of Europe, their first visit to the continent since 1998.” -Wikipedia.org
“In July 2009, the Daddies announced having signed to independent label Rock Ridge Music for the release and national distribution of two albums, a re-issue of Susquehanna and Skaboy JFK: The Skankin' Hits of the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, a compilation of the band's ska material.” -Wikipedia.org
The band’s next album, White Teeth, Black Thoughts, is set to be released in February 2013.