Entertainment Weekly

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

Cherry Poppin' Daddies vs Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Cherry Poppin’ Daddies vs Big Bad Voodoo Daddy — Make room for (swinging’) daddies

Posted on

Suddenly there’s an abundance of bands who want to be your father figure, but if you’re like us, you may have a hard time keeping straight the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Both are at the forefront of rock’s neo-swing movement, a wave that’s also brought us the jitterbug-scratching likes of the Royal Crown Revue and the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Such a revival might once have seemed impossible, but with Mighty Mighty Bosstones and No Doubt bringing horn sections back to the charts, the climate’s oddly conducive to jumpin’ jive. As for the proud papas, here’s EW’s paternity test.

BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY

ORIGINS
Formed in L.A., 1989; first indie album released in 1993; self-titled major-label debut (on Coolsville/EMI-Capitol) released in February
CLAIM TO FAME
Brought Heather Graham and Jon Favreau together, across a crowded dance floor, in 1996 film Swingers
WHAT’S UP WITH THE NAME?
Band leader Scotty Morris asked bluesman Albert King for his autograph, which King fatefully signed, ”To the big bad voodoo daddy.”
BROWN DERBY CONNECTION
Was de facto house band at the famed L.A. swing nitery, as seen in Swingers
ANTI-RETRO RHETORIC
”We’re an alternative to retro,” claims Morris. ”Back in the ’40s, swing was punk rock…. We’re as influenced by Black Flag as by Count Basie.”
WILL YOUR DADDY LIKE ‘EM?
Though the energy is often juiced up to a double-your-Krupa level, little — if any — of the band’s original material wouldn’t have passed muster in the original swing era.

CHERRY POPPIN’ DADDIES

ORIGINS
Formed in Eugene, Ore., 1989; first indie album released in 1990; major-label debut, Zoot Suit Riot (on Mojo/Universal), released last July
CLAIM TO FAME
”Zoot Suit Riot” an unexpected hit at alternative rock radio; now up to No. 18 on Billboard’s modern rock airplay chart, and No. 1 at L.A.’s influential KROQ
WHAT’S UP WITH THE NAME?
Band leader Steve Perry borrowed it from an old R&B record. ”It was sexy,” he says. ”Though it’s caused more hassle than I would have liked. I’ve had hot coffee thrown on me, I’ve been burned by cigarettes…”
BROWN DERBY CONNECTION
Their song ”Brown Derby Jump”
ANTI-RETRO RHETORIC
”I like to get a little angst into the material,” says Perry. ”The resurgence of partner dancing is cool. But I fear being karaoke for swing dancers.”
WILL YOUR DADDY LIKE ‘EM?
Maybe, till he gets a load of their darker and racier lyrics, which tackle everything from child abuse (”Drunk Daddy”) to, um, serpents (”Here Comes the Snake”)