I wasn’t sure what to expect going in but I was hopeful.
I’ve had a long history with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy going back to “my” Swingers days, and when I say “my” I mean I and a certain number of my close friends had a relationship with this movie. In a weird way it was influential, almost tangible – its comedy, its life philosophy, its proximity to the life and times of young men trying to figure out what being “young men” meant in the 90s and all that it entailed in hitting the scene and finding a girlfriend and going right on down to the little things, like not brutally and catastrophically swallowing your tongue when trying to talk to a pretty girl.
The music was a part of it too, of course. Big brassy swinging horns and crooning vocals and wild jumping jazz rhythms as though out of a beat novel and into the flesh and alive. Far different, far more alive and joyous then the 300th recitation of Stone Temple Pilots mopy grunge tripe blaring from the tired radio, at any rate.
There was that scene, near the end of Swingers, at LA’s famous Brown Derby, of course, when Mikey (Jon Favreau) finally gets the girl and they’re dancing and Trent (Vince Vaughn) and his crew are drunk and there’s Big Bad Voodoo Daddy jiving for all it's worth on “You and Me & the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby)”:
Hey Jack...I know what your thinking
That now's as good as any to start drinking
Hey Scotty...Yeah! What's it gonna be?
A gin & tonic sounds mighty mighty good to me
Man I know I gotta go
It's the same thing every time
But I don't think another drink's
Gonna make me lose my mind
So I think about my next drink
And it's you & me
And the bottle makes 3 tonight!
And there I was with my old road pal and traveling companion several years after those early New York gin and tonic days, 3,000 miles from home on a road trip to end all road trips down the East Coast and across the desert wastes of the South. We had made it to Los Angeles and found ourselves in that very Derby under the blaring sounds of that smooth-yet-exhilarating retro swing beat.
My pal, far more daring than myself, ensnared two pretty young ladies in conversation and brought them back to our table, perhaps the very table that Trent caroused at whilst cheering his pal Mikey on to go-man-go. I found myself next to a redheaded gal who, it turned out, wanted nothing to do with me but made eyes at my pal. It turned out he had made an incorrect logistical assessment and had chosen the wrong girl. Nonetheless, the two ignored Fate and made cross-conversation the whole night through as I dug the swing and tried to act vaguely writerly and not at all Nervous.