Cherry Poppin' Daddies, 'White Teeth, Black Thoughts': Exclusive Album Premiere

Rod Black

Cherry Poppin’ Daddies

Frontman Steve Perry talks about the Oregon band's first full-on swing outing since 1997's "Zoot Suit Riot"

Though he still likes to keep his music diverse, making Cherry Poppin' Daddies' first full-on swing album since 1997's "Zoot Suit Riot" with the forthcoming "White Teeth, Black Thoughts" felt a little bit like coming home for frontman Steve Perry and his Oregon-based group. 

"I definitely think so," Perry tells Billboard. "When we made 'Zoot Suit,' I was younger. There's a lot of good songs on 'Zoot Suit Riot,' but they're not as subtle. I guess I'm just a little smarter at doing it. So this (album) is like a better 'Zoot Suit Riot,' at least in the sense that the songs are more mature and more nuanced." Listen to Entire Album Here:

Recorded at the group's Gung Ho Studios in Eugene, "White Teeth, Black Thought" is actually a two-album project -- one featuring 11 swing songs, including covers of Louis Jordan's "Doug the Jitterbug," Hank Penny's "Bloodshot Eyes" and Bull Moose Jackson's "I Want a Bow Legged Woman," and a deluxe edition with a second disc of nine more songs from the session that explore rockabilly, Western swing, Zydeco and other styles along with a different version of the main album's lead-off track, "The Babooch." Perry says the socio-political nature of the songs, inspired by the economic crash of the late 2000s, the Occupy movement and other events, provided the impetus to create the two different packages and to lump all the swing songs together on one disc.

"We thought about making it another mixed-genre record -- an Americana record, or my version of what Americana is," Perry explains. "Then we had a lot of swing songs and they all had the kind of tenor of 'Brother can you spare a dime?' and the great depression and stuff like that -- only the issues I was dealing with in the songs were contemporary. So this seemed like the right way to go." And, Perry adds, "At the same time we want people to have fun. We make dance music. That's one of the goals of this project, to make music people can just enjoy and dance around to even if we're dealing with heavy duty subjects."

"White Teeth, Black Thoughts" drops on July 16, and Cherry Poppin' Daddies hit the road July 20 for a short summer tour and also has dates booked into December. 

"We don't tour full-on like we used to," Perry says. "We all have families and stuff like that, so we're not gonna go get in the bus and do a million shows. The whole point of this is to do the thing we love but have a home life." Meanwhile, the group has already recorded its next project -- a "salute" to the Rat Pack that will feature 15 songs and likely be released in 2014.

"We've always been inspired a little bit by the Rat Pack," Perry explains. "In our early bands and punk rock days, we'd be playing and the crowds would be jumping off the stage, and to chill everybody down we'd do a Sinatra tune or something. That's always been in our quiver and we love that kind of vibe. It's a different thing than the sing music of the Daddies; the Daddies is more insistent and rock-driven, and this is a way to back it off and play in a different swing style, but we picked a lot of tunes that still have a danceability to them. It really sound tremendous."

Cherry Poppin' Daddies - 'White Teeth, Black Thoughts' by billboard