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With Daddies in Ephrata, time’s ripe for a road trip

One of the best parts of my job is watching pop culture collide. For instance, look ahead to Oct. 1. On that night, in venues that are next door to each other on West Sprague Avenue, are shows scheduled by the Dark Star Orchestra, a Grateful Dead tribute band that recreates specific set lists from specific Dead shows, and Tech N9ne, the nationally known hip-hop artist and frequent Spokane visitor. I can only guess that there will be some excellent people-watching opportunities from my desk, which happens to look over both the Bing Crosby Theater and the Knitting Factory.

This coming weekend, there are plenty of chances to watch pop culture collisions. Ephrata, for instance, is hosting Basin Summer Sounds, where for free you can hear the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies – the band that hit it big during the neo-swing revival of the late 1990s.

The Daddies were seen as bad boys when they burst on the Eugene scene in the late ’80s. Their live shows were legendary, complete with a full horn section, go-go dancers and, typically, phallic stage scenery. Even their name was enough to spark protest in politically correct Eugene, as feminist groups called their name and music misogynistic. For years they had to perform as The Daddies or The Bad Daddies in town, lest their posters be defaced and their shows picketed.

Ultimately, the hue and cry faded, and the Daddies found huge success with the album “Zoot Suit Riot,” which sold 2 million copies.

And now they’re playing in Ephrata. For free. If you’ve not seen them live, it could be worth a road trip. As the guys say on their website: “The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies have always held to the bohemian ideal, vagabond outsiders merrily pranking and poking at the mainstream.”

Oh, and lest you think it’s all resting on their laurels, the Daddies – featuring founding members Steve Perry (vocals), Dan Schmid (bass) and Dana Heitman (trumpet) – just this week put out a new album, “White Teeth, Black Thoughts.”

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