cherry poppin' daddies


There’s a certain risk that comes with emulating the past. Not repeating it, mind you, but reshaping it in a way that puts it squarely in the present. Likewise, there’s an even greater risk that comes with attempting to remake it while trying to fit it to your own motif so that you can call it your own.

That’s the challenge the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies have faced throughout their career, and indeed it’s sometimes put them on a difficult path. The initial mission was to make swing music that sounded contemporary. They wrote hard-hitting songs with storylines of domestic violence and social alienation. Once this goal was accomplished, the Daddies went boldly forth into other genres as well: ska, rockabilly, glam rock, psychedelia, mod, and metal, to name but a few, choosing to follow their own muse regardless of the feedback of fans and critics alike. Truth be told, individuality and integrity are a part of the bands DNA and have in turn reinforced their reputation. Granted, that image is well deserved; the desire to explore and the exercising of a peculiar artistic integrity has been an integral part of their character since they first formed some 25 years ago.

According to the band’s longtime leader/singer/songwriter Steve Perry, the band’s mantra has remained the same – “the obstacle is the path,” that is, to pursue unexpected and difficult avenues that challenge both them as artists and individuals while at the same time encouraging audiences to follow. “We’re still anxious to bring people into the fold,” Perry insists. “Our iconoclasm has never been about to alienating anyone, but rather to make music that’s edgy, effusive and yet completely compelling on a larger level.”

To that point, the new band’s new opus -- descriptively titled Please Return the Evening: The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies Salute the Music of the Rat Pack – was designed as a challenge their studio craft, attempting to do justice to huge orchestrated arrangements while being limited to their eight-piece band inside a small Eugene, Oregon recording studio. “We recorded mostly live in the room together and as far apart as we possibly could in order to get the feel of those live recording sessions that featured large in house studio orchestras”, Perry explains. “We were hoping that some of our punky grit and jazzers conviction would shine through the final recordings so as not to seem too smooth or canned, but rather to achieve the same balance between authentic edge and technical competence that makes the Rat Pack’s music so compelling.”

The recording taps into a tradition established by three of the hippest singers of all time, unique personalities that helped patent the concept of cool. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. ruled the roost in Las Vegas as well as the trendiest nightclubs and watering holes from New York City and Chicago to the West Coast and all the way south to Miami Beach. When they worked in tandem as the legendary Rat Pack, Sinatra, Martin and Davis found the perfect combination – one that fused sheer swagger with an easy, amiable style. That approach helped define the cultural undercurrents of that critical period from the late ‘50s to the early ‘60s, while captivating and entertaining audiences in the process.

Please Return the Evening offers up a superb set of standards that have come to epitomize the Rat Pack’s repertoire – songs that look upward with the singular optimism that energized America at the dawn of the ‘60s, a time that would prove to be the twilight of the swing era. The song titles sum that spirit up succinctly – “The Best Is Yet To Come,” Come Fly With Me,” “Fly Me To The Moon,” “Mister Success,” “That’s Life” and “Luck Be A Lady” among them –the epitome of a verve and vibe that once shone oh so brightly, a sharp contrast to a pessimism that seems to have set in, dimly at first, after the Kennedy assassination, then continuing to darken through Vietnam, Watergate, the Challenger disaster and 9-11, right through to the cynicism of the present.


Cherry Poppin' Daddies can perform for parties, events, awards shows, nightclubs as well as festivals.