Eugene Weekly : Music : 4.24.08

Latin Lover
Cherry Poppin’ Daddies release new CD

A few facts: Off stage, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies singer Steve Perry is somewhat of a misfit loner, part greaser and part punk, with slicked-back hair and falling-apart jeans. On stage, he’s a geeky sex god, shaking his pelvis like Elvis and putting every muscle in his body to work. The band’s name is a reference to early jazz culture and not what you might think. And that one song, “Zoot Suit Riot,” is just the tip of the iceberg of what this band can do.

The Daddies are impossible to pin down musically. Fans who attend their concerts hoping for an evening of energetic swing music are doomed to disappointment. What they will get — if they’re brave enough to stick around — is a raucous, beer swilling crowd, Perry prancing half-naked and dripping sweat, the horn section blowing from here to Mars and the rest of the crew inspiring both men and women alike to dance with abandon. A Daddies show is more than a concert. It’s an event. Hyperbole? I don’t think so.

Their brand new album, Susquehanna, was independently released on their own Space Age Bachelor Pad label and is available for download or purchase on,representing a newly independent business model for the band. Until June 10, Susquehanna will only be available through their website or at shows. “We’ve been through the mainstream marketing machine,” Perry says. “We can put something out now, and no one can tell us what to do with it.”

Susquehanna, named after the river Perry grew up on in New York, has a decidedly Latin flavor, from the opening track, “Bust Out,” to the closer, “Arrancate,” with the same rhythm as the opener but sung in Spanish. “Roseanne” is a feverish flamenco number, but the album has ska and swing flourishes too, particularly on the punchy “Hammerblow” and a reworked “Hi and Lo,” a song Perry originally wrote for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

Perry says that he intended Susquehanna to be a narrative about memories; the song’s characters remember their childhoods and parts of their lives both tragic and wonderful. “It’s like a little movie, doing what I always do with genres, which is to use them kind of like paint,” he says. “I use various genres and grind them against each other. I like to put a flamenco song next to a song that’s a glam rock song next to a song that’s a swing song, so that the flavor changes.” As long as people appreciate what he’s trying to say, whether the album is a commercial success is beside the point for Perry. “We wanted to make this record because we’ve been a band since 1989. We’re all friends. We enjoy playing music together, and we weren’t ready to stop.” This is the Daddies’ first WOW Hall show in more than seven years.    

Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. 8 pm Saturday, 4/26. WOW Hall • $16.50 adv., $20 door