Cherry Poppin' Daddies' Steve Perry

Vocalist/guitarist Steve Perry, a.k.a. MC Large Drink, is the leader and

co-founder of Cherry Poppin' Daddies, an eight-piece ska/swing revival

band that formed in Oregon in 1989.

Perry was born 36 years ago today and was raised in industrial Binghamton,

N.Y. He studied chemistry at the University of Oregon, where he met bassist

Dan Schmid.

The two formed the Daddies and were soon joined by trumpeter Dana Heitman.

Over time they added guitarist Jason Moss, drummer Tim Donahue, tenor

saxophonist Sean Flannery, alto/baritone saxophonist Ian Early and

keyboardist Dustin Lanker.

Initially a fan of punk rock, Perry found his songwriting was more suited

to the retro/swing genre. The Daddies developed around the style, though

they maintained a punk-inflected energy and sensibility.

The band was first known as Big Yank or Mister Wiggles. The moniker

Cherry Poppin' Daddies came about when the group was listening to a

raunchy blues LP containing the lyric "I'm your cherry-popping daddy,

man." Someone suggested the name as a joke, but Perry felt it suited their

music despite its suggestive nature.

Cherry Poppin' Daddies debuted with Ferociously Stoned (1990) on

the indie Sub Par Records. They attracted fans despite the onslaught of

grunge music at the time. Perry brought a '90s view of street life to

swing music.

Rapid City Muscle Car (1994), featuring "Sockable Face Club" and

"The Ding-Dong Daddy of the D-Car Line," expanded the Daddies' following.

By that time, other bands such as Squirrel Nut Zippers and Royal Crown

Revue were helping to bring attention to the retro-music revival.

The Daddies' third album, Kids on the Street (1996), was picked

up by Caroline Records. On their healthy-selling Mojo Records debut,

Zoot Suit Riot (1997), the group compiled favorite tracks from

their first three releases, such as "Shake Your Lovemaker," plus four

new songs, including the title cut (RealAudio

excerpt).

Perry's favorites of the big-band era include Louis Prima, Fletcher

Henderson and Count Basie. He was honored when radio veteran Jazzbeaux

Collins, host of WNBC's "The Purple Grotto" in the '50s, appeared in the

"Zoot Suit Riot" video, a favorite of MTV's "120 Minutes."

The Daddies have toured with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Reel Big Fish,

Less Than Jake and others.

Next year the band will release its fifth LP, Soul Cadillac.

Moss said of Perry: "He writes songs like movies in which he creates

characters and a setting, which he pairs with a dark lyrical theme with

bouncy music. Sex is [the] universal theme ... everyone except priests

can relate to that, and alcohol is a frequent inspiration for his songs."

Other birthdays: Fred Cash (Impressions), 59; George Bellamy (Tornadoes),

58; Ray Royer (Procol Harum), 54; Tony Wilson (Hot Chocolate), 52; Hamish

Stuart (Average White Band), 50; Robert "Kool" Bell (Kool & the Gang),

49; Johnny Ramone (Ramones), 48; Cliff Adams (Kool & the Gang), 47; Ricky

Lee Phelps (Kentucky HeadHunters), 46; C.J. Ramone (Ramones), 34; Byron

Reeder (Mista), 20; and Doc Green (Drifters), 1934-1989.