Like most neo-swing bands who gained a greater measure of commercial popularity in the late 1990s, Big Rude Jake and his band have been living the life long before "Swingers" and the Gap commercials. Most of these bands, like The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Cherry Poppin' Daddies, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, had been playing small clubs and bars for years, shaking up the swing with jazz, Cajun, Rockabilly, and poetry. In Big Rude Jake's case hometown is the Great White North of Canada.
Big Rude Jake (the frontman, founder, and soul of the band) is a self-styled hepcat Canuck, a boisterous and entertaining live performer, and espouses the cool cat aura of a true swingman. Hoping to ride the wave of rising Canadian bands in the 1990s, the band cut their first CD Butane Fumes and Bad Cologne in 1993 and toured all over Canada on the strength of their live shows. Despite their loyal following and regional notice in the American Midwest with the single "Swing Baby," the band quit the Canadian music business in 1997 and moved to New York, where the band quit on Big Jake.
With a new set of bandmates and a new record deal, Big Rude Jake continued to tour with neo-swing headliners like Brian Setzer, and released a self-titled album in 1999. Mixing a variety of jazz-influenced styles from jump blues to swing to ragtime, the band boasts a crackerjack set of musicians, including Jake on acoustic guitar. Truly a student of jazz and it's related folk and literary traditions, Jake infuses the musical creations with vivid stories of imperfect cats and kittens tinged with dark irony, humor, and contemporary heartache.