Cherry Poppin' Daddies Zoot Suit Riot 20th Anniversary Tour
On Wednesday, April 19, the Community Center for the Performing Arts and KRVM proudly welcome the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies 20th Anniversary Tour to the WOW Hall.
The year 2017 marks the 20th Anniversary of the release of The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies seminal, double platinum, worldwide swing smash Zoot Suit Riot, and to commemorate the occasion, the Daddies went back into the studio to remix and re-master the entire record from the original two inch tapes! They also dug out some vintage 24 track recordings of the band playing live and ridin' high in 1998, and mixed some of that stuff in to include in a package that’s the definitive, audiophile friendly 20 song version of Zoot Suit Riot.
In addition, the band will for the first time ever be releasing Zoot Suit Riot on beautiful silver VINYL! The package includes a download card included so you can upload the new mixes to your computer, if you so desire. But why not listen to it on VINYL like the Gods should have intended!
“We took care not to ham-fistedly compress and over limit this baby so that the full dynamic range of the music (music crafted to actually have dynamics) would shine through,” notes Steve Perry.
The LP opens up onto a deluxe gatefold sleeve featuring a vintage photo of the CPD onstage from back in the day… the birthing pangs of it all… when the neo-swing scene was a still burbling up from the underground: when people still responded to “Drunk Daddy” with slam dancing, when the Stern Brothers were still in Royal Crown Review, when Jump with Joey was rippin’ up the King King at 6th and La Brea with equal parts Swing and Jamaican Boogie… a landscape of small tinsel stages and confused audiences… right before the swing explosion codified everything. (Sigh) Those really were the days.
Zoot Suit Riot was a compilation and most of the songs on it were culled from earlier albums. The earliest song used, “Dr. Bones”, was from 1989! The band got together in 1996 to record the final four tunes so that the record would have some new stuff on it. Those songs were: “Zoot Suit Riot”, “Brown Derby Jump”, “No Mercy For Swine” and “When I Change Your Mind”.
“When we recorded our early records, we had zero in the way of budget and so tended to rush through the mixing process out of necessity,” explains Steve. “For instance, when you hear me say ‘I think I am ready to sing it now,’ at the end of ZSR, it was because the first take sounded pretty good to our engineer, Billy Barnett of Gung Ho Studio, so he called me in from the iso booth. I was supposed to be me warming up my voice. But I concurred with his assessment and so we just moved on to the next tune. As a joke, we left the thing I said in there. Now it’s on the sheet music.
“The song ‘Zoot Suit Riot’ was inspired by my love of jump blues, boogie and the Pachuco culture of 1940’s Los Angeles. As the neo-swing scene grew throughout the early 90’s I wanted to write an “anthem” for our scene to kind of distinguish the swing tribe from every other tribe in the underground. I wanted it to be what ‘My Generation’ was for Mods. For the song, I appropriated a despicable and unfortunate actual historical event, the 1943 ‘Zoot Suit Riots’ that happened in Los Angeles. The violence between the zoot-suited, jump blues listening Mexican Americans and the angry, drunk, misguided sailors who attacked these young men solely based on their ‘weird’ clothing and otherness, was a shameful event in American history. To me, the simplified duality I used as I wrote the song was: we swingers were in solidarity with our counter cultural ancestors the ‘Zoot Suiters’ and we were opposed to the ‘sailors’ who represented the squares who weren’t yet hip to our growing communal jive. I pictured the future of the swing scene as being rougher, realer, weirder and more of a hybrid, like the punk or psychobilly scenes... like if The Clash or The Kinks were a swing band, except with revived speakeasies, martinis, couples dancing and equal amounts of men and women. That was, and still is, if I can be totally honest, my vision of the exciting place we, the swing ‘scene’, should be striving for as a musical movement.”
For the release of this 20th anniversary record the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies will be reviving that dream by doing a couple of tours on both coasts where they will play down the entire album, in order, and in its entirety, live.
For the 20th Anniversary the Daddies are also releasing the official video of “Ding-Dong Daddy”. This song has been used countless times in TV dance shows, stage shows, and not to mention having been the group’s stage show closer for years.
“The story of how I came to write this is as follows,” states Perry. “I had this acquaintance who approached me one day and said ‘Hey I was demo-ing a house the other day and I smashed my hammer through a wall and between the joists I pulled out this old yellowed paper. I saw the headline and I knew I needed to get it over to you.’ The headline read ‘Ding Dong Daddy Gets Short Term.
“I scanned the piece and it seemed that in San Francisco during the war in the 40’s all the able bodied, young cable car conductors were drafted so the city began to fill the slots with older gentleman and basically whoever they could find. One of these hires was a portly, balding ex- Lion tamer (?!) named Francis Van Wie. Francis used his ‘man in a uniform’ charm and conductors position to woo a number of lonely ladies on his cable car route. He ended up actually marrying 13 women before he was inevitably found out! This lovable lothario spent time in San Quentin for the offense, but his unlikely story ended up being a sensation nationally. After his release he somehow got married a couple of more times and always to great acclaim. Such was his notoriety that he ended up, many years later, in the 60’s as an MC in the world famous burlesque club in Oakland, the El Rey Theatre, where Blaze Starr and Tempest Storm did their bump and grind.
“Obviously, when I finished reading this story I rushed home and wrote a song about it.”
Current members of Cherry Poppin' Daddies are: Steve Perry (singer/songwriter/rhythm guitar), Dan Schmid (bass), Dana Heitman (trumpet), Zak Johnson (guitar, banjo), Willie Matheis (tenor sax), Joe Freuen (trombone), Paul Owen (drums) and Andy Page (alto sax).
Tickets are $17 in advance, $20 at the door. Doors open at 7:00 pm and showtime is 8:00.