As excited as guests may be to enjoy the music of “Eat to the Beat” — the 32-concert extravaganza during “Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival” — the entertainers on the America Gardens Theatre Stage are just as excited to be there performing…
“Whether people know it or not, Disney sets such a high standard,” said Scotty Morris, the front-man of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the band that will anchor this year’s round of shows, which run from August 30 through November 12. “There’s such a high level of everything that goes on when you come in as a performer, you’re getting the ‘A’ game.”
25 Years And Counting…
After a quarter century, the same can always be said of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
Borne from a backyard trio of musicians with a desire to put modern interpretations on big band jazz, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy has grown into the hardest working act in music – a nine
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s
Yes, BBVD has appeared in major films, television shows, and even performed at the Super Bowl, but these blue-collar musicians are always more comfortable in venues like Epcot’s beautiful American Pavilion.
Fans of a certain age, but unfamiliar with the name Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, will probably remember the neo-swing revival and recognize the band from the movie Swingers; the film which helped spawn the movement. Intercut between Jon Favreau (who wrote and starred in the film) and Heather Graham’s famous swing dance, there is Scotty and his mates imploring the retro-threaded dancers to “Go Daddy-O”!
The soundtrack for that seminal film featured several BBVD staples, including a cover of a Sherman Brothers‘ classic, “I Wanna Be Like You” from The Jungle Book.
“That’s a great one, too, man,” said Scotty. “We had been doing that song live, and it was just thrown together because I love Louis Prima… That’s like a live version of the very first time ever playing that song that way.
“And it just came out how it came out, which I really enjoy.”
Familiar Faces At Disney
No strangers to familiar venues at Disney parks on both coasts, Disney fans of all ages have probably enjoyed Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s music at one time or another.
“We’ve had such a good relationship with Disney going back,” said Morris. “It’s really been something else.
“We did a movie, an animated movie called The Wild,” he continued. “Kiefer Sutherland was the voice of it and I wrote an original song for that. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy recorded it and it’s on the soundtrack and in a scene.
“That was, that was just unbelievably fun,” he said.
Also fun, according to Morris, was a holiday number they did for a little show called Phineas and Ferb.
“They came to us specifically for the sound of the tune,” explained Scotty. “[The co-writers Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh] were raised on that music. That’s their jam. And so, when they knew a young band — at the time — was out there doing that thing, you know, they came to us.
“It was pretty, pretty great because the hang was unbelievable. They were just like musicians because they grew up in [that environment]. Their parents are musicians; jazz, big band swing musicians.
“It was pretty insane.”
Back to Epcot
At times — after 2800 shows and mainstream success — it all still seems unbelievable for Morris and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy; especially as each year’s journey comes full circle in Florida, with the band and the fans meeting for a reunion of sorts at Walt Disney World.
“In 1998 we had a day off because we were playing ‘Pleasure Island’ — when Pleasure Island [in Downtown Disney, now Disney Springs – see photo] was still a thing — and there was a big huge concert stage there and we had a night off,” explained Morris. “I had never been to Epcot, so me and a bunch of the guys and our road manager, Brian, we went over to Epcot and went to go check it out and somebody was playing on the America Gardens stage.
“Brian, he was a road manager at the time, and now he’s our ‘Front of House Guy’ and he helps me manage the band, but he said, ‘This is the place we should be playing. I don’t care about Pleasure Island. This is the place we should be! This is the perfect spot because it’s the perfect demographic. It’s, it’s eight to eighty!’ And at the time I was thinking, ‘Yeah, okay.’
“But Brian was 100-percent correct
And the fans seem to agree.
I like going out in the country and we’re playing music and concerts and after the shows, people coming up to me going, ‘I have my tickets for Epcot. I have my tickets for Epcot.’
“And when we get closer to this time of year — like we just got back off of tour — and we were in the South and I cannot tell you how many people told me they’ve already got their tickets and they’re going to Epcot to see us. so, it’s become this kind of an annual thing where people come out and it’s just. It really is just a really fun, fun gig
“And, hey,” he added, “you get to be at Disney for four days!”
Agreed, see you there, Scotty! Big Bad Voodoo Daddy will play the America Gardens Theatre November 10 to 12. Check out this follow-up post at MakingStarWars.net.