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Aiming to Tackle an Uncomfortable Subject and Drive Attention to the Topics of Earlier Screenings & Family History, Singer Steve Perry of Cherry Poppin’ Daddies Goes Public with Wife’s Recent Ordeal with Colorectal Cancer
(Published: September 05, 2014)

Aiming to Tackle an Uncomfortable Subject and Drive Attention to the Topics of Earlier Screenings & Family History, Singer Steve Perry of Cherry Poppin' Daddies Goes Public with Wife's Recent Ordeal with Colorectal Cancer

Interviewed via Huffington Post

In a new interview via Huffington Post, Cherry Poppin' Daddies' Steve Perry goes public with his wife's recent battle with colorectal cancer. His hope is to promote earlier screenings (not waiting until age 50,) a more aggressive look at family history (since colorectal cancer is inherited in approximately 50% of cases,) and a more open/direct conversation about a form of cancer that is perhaps ‘uncomfortable' to talk about. He and his wife Yvette are using social media and any/all routes they can to shine a light on this - to save lives.
Filming of the band's new Addam's Family-inspired video for ‘Fly Me To The Moon' happens to have overlapped with Yvette's unexpected diagnosis, and as Steve mentions in his interview, below, there are some odd parallels relating to Carolyn Jones, the actress who played Morticia in the series (she died of colorectal cancer at age 53).

By Mike Ragogna, 9/1/14

Video Premiere: http://www.youtube.com/watch'v=D6Lrgfdc7QA

A Conversation with Cherry Poppin' Daddies' Steve Perry
Mike Ragogna: Steve, your wife Yvette has had colorectal cancer and you and she have decided to go public about it. Please can you go over the history or her ordeal and why you decided to share this with the press'
Steve Perry: Well this all happened quite suddenly over the summer. My wife, who is 41 years old, began feeling like something was wrong with her. I had just had my 1st colorectal screening at 50, and my wife said to me, "I am not sure, but I think I am the one that needs the colonoscopy". Because she is comparatively young we would have had to pay out of pocket for the procedure. She has health insurance thanks to the ACA. She had a "pre-existing condition" in that she has a mild case of asthma, but now thanks to the ACA insurance companies cannot deny her coverage. It was an ordeal getting the doctors to approve a colonoscopy before the suggested age, but we pressed on.
Sure enough, my wife had not only pre-cancerous polyps, but full blown cancer! Fortunately, the tumor was small, but unfortunately the cancer cells went all the way down to the bottom of the biopsy, so it was impossible to tell what stage her cancer was without an additional excision surgery, which had to be scheduled after she had healed. The two month long waiting period was excruciating on her and the family, and this is when we educated ourselves on colorectal cancer and shot the video for "Fly Me To The Moon."
The Cherry Poppin' Daddies and our label Space Age Bachelor Pad Records is a family business and Yvette is my business partner. There is a lot of sacrificing that goes on when one partner is busy with composing, recording and touring. Our struggles are one in the same. Yvette and I hope that sharing our story through social media will inspire a few people to get screened for colorectal cancer and educate themselves on the symptoms as well as their own family history of disease.
MR: This may seem too personal but why wasn't it caught when it was at an earlier stage like as polyps'
SP: Because the protocol for getting a colonoscopy is to wait until you are 50 years old, unless you have a family history of someone getting it early. My wife is 41. Her doctor advised her to just wait, but my wife, was convinced there was something wrong. Her family doesn't share these things, so she didn't know her history- it required a great deal of coaxing and sleuthing, thankfully, made easier by social media. She found that several members of her family including her father had polyps removed at a young age, and that her great grandmother actually had the disease. It was only because of this history that the GI protocols were met and we were even able to schedule a procedure. Once she was able to prove a family history they allowed her to schedule a colonoscopy. No doubt she unwittingly had polyps for years.
I'm no expert, but it seems obvious that some government agency has done a cost benefit analysis and determined that the tens of thousands of lives lost by setting the suggested screening age at 50 is acceptable.
MR: What was Yvette's treatment like'
SP: Her second surgery was a difficult excision of the tumor that they managed to do with laparoscopic tools. This saved my wife from having a bowel resection, which is considerably more damaging to the organs. The surgeon also burns around the site in an effort to kill any remaining cancer cells. Thankfully, that surgery ended up showing no sign of any more cancer, so when we got the call from the lab, there were tears of relief and celebrating.
MR: Does it seem like in the US, there isn't enough emphasis on preventative measures and if so, what kinds of changes might you and Yvette suggest'
SP: I am guessing that the high protein/ high fat diet here in the US can't be all that helpful. My family eats primarily fruits and vegetables, and exercises all the time, just like you are supposed to, but my wife still got cancer. The best preventative measure is to be your own advocate and trust your instincts about your body. Doctors have their protocols but you must understand that to them you are just one of a zillion faces. Researching your family history is one key. Sometimes families don't communicate on colorectal cancer because the booty is taboo, that being said, even though there is a genetic component to colorectal cancer, it is also a random mutagenic event. You can just get it for no reason. The fact that my wife hunted down her family history not only saved her life, it potentially staves off problems that our kids no doubt will inherit. You can learn about symptoms and coping strategies from http://fightcolorectalcancer.org and particularly their very helpful Facebook page.
MR: You have a new album and its video for "Fly Me To The Moon" features Yvette playing Morticia Addams. How did you react to discovering that Carolyn Jones, the original Morticia Addams from the TV show The Addams Family, died of colorectal cancer'
SP: That was a strange realization. We chose to do the video for "Fly Me to the Moon" as an Addams Family send up because we really liked the idea of the passionate Gomez (played by me) and Morticia (played by my wife) relationship. Even though the Addams' are a family of creeps, their familial love is strong. It's them against the world. We can relate to that on a family as well as a musical level.
We started watching the original series to get ideas and in the course of doing the research my wife came across the Wikipedia page of Caroyln Jones- the actress who initially played Morticia. It detailed her struggle and subsequent death by colorectal cancer at age 53. That added a creepy resonance to the proceedings that was in hindsight kind of appropriate. The shoot and editing ended up being very emotional for both Yvette and I. We barely got through it to be honest. All I could think of when I was editing was "please don't let me lose her."
MR: After this line of discussion, it's hard to bring in questions about the new album but I did want to ask you about it as well. Please Return The Evening pays tribute to The Rat Pack and covers many of their signature songs. What are your personal memories regarding some of the songs on this project'
SP: In some ways the Rat Pack era, lets call it 1958-1962, is kind of the high water mark of the swing era. It's the Kennedy/Camelot years. It's the can do, confident American century at its cocksure apex. America today is much more uncertain. The swagger is gone. We are kind of grumpy and divided as a nation and unsure about the future. To re-contextualize "Come Fly With Me," and "I'm Gonna Live Before I Die" in an era where many of us sit at home on the internet and grouse all day long behind some carefully curated avatar is funny, like jamming a donkey into an ill fitting suit. Not funny ha-ha, but funny uncanny. You can really feel the loss that has accrued over the past 50 years.
I have always loved Frank, Sammy and Dean and it was a challenge to our craft to make recordings in our tiny studio with our 8 piece band that had the richness of those early recordings, recordings that were done with huge studio orchestras. We ended up recording mostly live and tried to get as far apart from each other as possible to get that combination of lushness and grit that those 20th century recordings have.
MR: You realize that this era--and the era Cherry Poppin' Daddies gives a nod to--wasn't exactly known for its health consciousness. After having such a crisis hit home with Yvette's health, does this maybe change the way you look at that period of time' Like if you could go back in time, would you warn these guys to at least slow down a little so they wouldn't be such poster children of smoking, drinking, etc.'
SP: When I was young and stupid I "lived it up" too. My feeling is that the way to health is moderation, but sometimes you've got to take a flying leap or life is not worth living. Here is the thing though, when you grow up you realize that the best thing in your life is to give to somebody else, not to just get "experiences" for yourself. In fact, you feel sorry for everyone who doesn't realize this yet. I wanted to clean up every phase of my act so that I can be there for my daughters and my wife, when they need me. I'm sure that all those Rat Pack fellas felt the same as they got older
MR: What is your advice for new artists'
SP: Work on songwriting. Think about an artful and poetic way to say what you want to say. Say something interesting or that you feel needs to be said. Study the classics, in all genres. Get smarter. Don't get wrapped up in "music scenes" or "being famous." Be a writer because you are into music as an art form. Find out what this means. If you aren't into it because you have to be then please reexamine your life for the good of everybody who will have to listen to your future half assed efforts. MR: With Yvette's complete remission and the Cherry Poppin' Daddies having this new album, what are the plans for the future'
SP: I am beginning work on new music. My plan is to do a Psychobilly/Zappa/American Idiot/R. Crumb type record that paints a picture of the American socio political scene circa 2014. I want to use genres like rockabilly and psychobilly because of the creepy reverb washed echoes into our nations hillbilly past, I'm hoping that will paint the recording with a cartoonish quality. I picture a buffoon burlesque of a record...but hopefully subtle about how ridiculous everything is. But you know, fun and danceable too.

As referenced above, CPD offers their take on the music of ‘The Rat Pack', with an homage that honors the artistry and evokes the can-do spirit of the beloved era but also manages to infuse the recordings with an ‘in-the-room' sound that gives the album a wonderful tension. With the recent release of ‘Please Return the Evening: The Cherry Poppin' Daddies Salute the Music of the Rat Pack,' CPD taps into the undeniable swagger and cool confidence of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., and introduces the Kennedy-era music of Cole Porter, Sammy Cahn, Frank Loesser and others to a new generation.

The New York Times World Premiered the full album via Press Play. Listen to it here:

A ‘throwback' video for the track ‘Come Fly With Me' was Exclusively Premiered via American Songwriter Magazine:

8/28/14 By Jack Goodstein

Capturing the musical vibe of a bygone generation, even when done well, isn't always a step up the ladder of success. Any relic of the past still around is just as likely to line up what you do against their own fond memories of the past, and find you wanting, while those who have no memories more than likely couldn't care less. There will be those who think of you as little more than a pale imitation or a hapless impersonator, at best. There will be those who find any attempt to make changes and rejuvenate the music nothing short of sinful. Still, do it well, and there will always be an audience-perhaps not a mass audience, but an audience nonetheless. And if one thing is sure, when it comes to the swinging jazz of the '50s and '60s, Cherry Poppin' Daddies do it well.
Witness their latest album Please Return the Evening: The Cherry Poppin' Daddies Salute the Music of the Rat Pack. The Daddies' salute does not go the imitation route. Steve Perry, one of the band's co-founders and an impressive vocalist, sings a bevy of rat pack standards, but he does it in his own way. He doesn't do imitation Sammy or Dean, and he certainly doesn't do imitation Frank. If he lacks something in rat pack cache, he makes up for it with talent. This is a man who can swing, and if he isn't Sinatra, well, who is' He is accompanied by the Daddies' regular eight-piece crew, supplemented by a crew of six additional musicians on most tracks. Together, they create a sound that will have aged feet tapping as they romp through a 15-tune set of some of the finest tunes ever written: Cahn and Van Heusen's "Come Fly with Me," Rodgers and Hart's "The Lady Is a Tramp," Kern and Fields' "The Way You Look Tonight." For many, these are the songs of their youth, the songs they danced to when they fell in and out of love. "The Best Is Yet to Come," "Fly Me to the Moon" and "I've Got You Under My Skin" - no matter how many times you hear them, you are always happy to hear them again. And for those who weren't around, it's about time they learned what they were missing. That, after all, is what Daddies should do: teach their children well. If, like me, you have Sirius set on 71, "Siriusly Sinatra," you've long been listening to these tunes from the source, but for music to remain relevant, it needs to grow and flower. It needs to be tended to and nurtured. It is good to know that with the likes of the Cherry Poppin' Daddies working on it, swinging jazz, old and new, is in good hands.

http://jpsmusicblog.blogspot.com/2014/08/cd-review-rat-pack-return-with-salute.html     8/2104 by Jim Pasinski

In Cherry Poppin' Daddies' updated biography (link below,) Steve Perry said the group challenged their studio craft on this recording, attempting to do justice to huge orchestrated arrangements while being limited to their eight-piece band inside a small Eugene, Oregon recording studio. "We recorded mostly live in the room together and as far apart as we possibly could in order to get the feel of those live recording sessions that featured large in-house studio orchestras", Perry explains. "We were hoping that some of our punky grit and jazzers conviction would shine through the final recordings so as not to seem too smooth or canned, but rather to achieve the same balance between authentic edge and technical competence that makes the Rat Pack's music so compelling."

Track listing for the album:
1.  The Best Is Yet To Come (Cy Coleman/Carolyn Leigh)
2. Come Fly With Me (Sammy Cahn/Jimmy Van Heusen)
3. The Lady Is A Tramp (Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart)
4. Ain't That A Kick In The Head (Sammy Cahn/Jimmy Van Heusen)
5. Fly Me To The Moon (Bart Howard)
6. I'm Gonna Live Until I Die (Al Hoffman/Walter Kent/Manny Kurtz)
7. Luck Be A Lady (Frank Loesser)
8. I've Got You Under My Skin (Cole Porter)
9. Mr. Success (Frank Sinatra/Henry W. Sanicola/ Edwin Greines Cohen)
10. The Way You Look Tonight (Jerome Kern/Dorothy Fields)
11. Ring-a-Ding-Ding (Sammy Cahn/Jimmy Van Heusen)
12. Just One Of Those Things (Cole Porter)
13. The Boys' Night Out (Sammy Cahn/Jimmy Van Heusen)
14. Come Back To Me (Alan Jay Lerner/Burt Lane)
15. That's Life (Dean K Thompson/Kelly L Gordon)

The band's live show is not to be missed. With a wink at the audience and a simultaneous respect for the source material that evokes David Johansen's Buster Poindexter persona, CPD and Steve Perry have created a crowd-pleasing show suitable for a wide range of venues and audiences. A recent concert at Jazz Alley in Seattle earned this write-up:  http://backbeatseattle.com/2014/06/13/photos-and-review-cherry-poppin-daddies-jazz-alley/

Upcoming dates include:
9/12/14          McAninch Arts Center             Glen Ellyn, IL
9/13/14          Schauer Arts Center                Hartford, WI
11/12/14        The Carolina Theatre              Durham, NC
11/13/14        University Of NC Wilmington      Wilmington, NC
1/31/15          Montalvo Arts Center             Saratoga, CA
4/16/15          Missouri Theater                     Columbia, MO
4/18/15          Sondheim Center For Perf. Arts Fairfield, IA

Visit https://www.daddies.com/tour.cfm for additional tour updates, including details of the band's international tour (Germany, UK, Italy and more.)

Cherry Poppin' Daddies Biography: https://www.daddies.com/bio.cfm

Visit: https://www.daddies.com/index.cfm
Visit: https://www.facebook.com/CherryPoppinDaddies

More Information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6Lrgfdc7QA

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