Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Loves Epcot, Eat To The Beat
Back for another year, Scotty Morris says BBVD loves the America Gardens Theatre
Full disclosure, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (BBVD) is my favorite band. Period. End of story.
Ever since I saw them perform in the movie Swingers back in 1996, they’ve captured my attention like no group before or since.
Going strong for over 25 years, BBVD mixes traditional swing with rockabilly, blues, modern jazz, and what-have-you to create a sound that transcends the neo-swing genre. Named by blues legend Albert Collins, the band stands unique in its ability to sell out major venues (play Super Bowls, college football games, and the Hollywood Bowl), while still being able to peel the paint off the walls of small clubs nationwide.
Last year, I was lucky enough to watch nearly all of BBVD’s sets at Epcot’s Eat to the Beat Concert series, and that energy has not yet left me.
Eat to the Beat with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Just before Eat to the Beat 2018, I sat down with the band’s founder, leader, and lead singer Scotty Morris. In a wide-ranging interview, he spoke about the band’s interaction with The Walt Disney Company and why they look forward to The America Gardens Theatre and the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. But back in the beginning, BBVD began playing the now-defunct Pleasure Island.
“1998 we had a day off because we were playing Pleasure Island,” explained Morris. “There was a big huge concert stage there, and we had a night off, and I had never been to Epcot, so me and a bunch of the guys and our road manager, Brian, went over to Epcot and went to go check it out. Somebody was playing on that stage on the garden, on the American Gardens’ stage, and Brian said, ‘This is the place we should be playing. I don’t care about Pleasure Island. This is the place we should be playing. 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…’ And then as it happened he was, he was 100 percent right because it’s been a great fit for us.”
A Great Fit
So, for many years BBVD has entertained guests 8-to-80 in the comfortable venue on the shore of World Showcase Lagoon flanked by the Epcot’s America pavilion. During last year’s set of shows, it was clear that the entire band was “in-it” as the place was packed night after night. Morris spoke to that fact and feeling; how the fans carry the group through a jam-packed weekend of performances.
“When I’m onstage, I’m in 100-percent,” said Scotty. “Like I’m, I’m in that moment right there. I’m looking at the audience. I’m trying to relate to them and trying to get them on board as soon as possible, because as soon as they succumb to any kind of, you know, the idea of what they think Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is going to be, the quicker they’re going to have fun.
“Because, I guarantee you — whether you get hooked on song one or song five — you’re going to get it; it’s going to get you, and you’re going to feel good. And that’s just the way it is. And I would rather you get it early so you can enjoy the whole show,” he said.
Back to Epcot: Scotty Morris on the America Gardens’ Stage
That’s 100% truth. I got hooked on the band by watching them play in the Jon Favreau (yes, that Jon Favreau) penned Swingers back in college. Something about the beat, the attitude reminded me of all the best of what my beloved grandparents listened to, with a significant dash of modern rock and jazz.
And now, so many years later, that mix remains as fresh and uplifting as ever!
“I love it actually,” admitted the ever-cool Morris. “It’s a really good experience, and it’s been going on – oh, I don’t know. I want to say we might be on our th year of doing it. That’s one of those things where 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.'”
That’s why, as the band heads south in the fall, anticipation builds.
“And when we get closer to [that] time of year… I cannot tell you how many people told me they’ve already got their tickets and they’re going to Epcot to see us,” said Morris. “So, it’s become this kind of an annual thing where people come out.
“It’s just, it really is just a really fun, fun gig and, hey, you get to be at Disney for four days.”
I’m hoping to be there in November! How about you? Tell us in the comments below!
“Eat to the Beat” Details
- Where: America Gardens Theatre at World Showcase, Epcot
- When: Daily from August 29 through November 19, 2019
- Showtimes – Sundays to Thursdays: 5:30 PM, 6:45 PM and 8:00 PM
- Showtimes – Fridays and Saturdays: 6:30 PM, 7:45 PM and 9:00 PM
Valid Epcot admission is required. All entertainment and artist appearances are subject to change or cancellation without notice.
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Portions of this report appeared previously on DSNYnewscast.com, MakingStarWars.net.