Tuesday, January 31, 2006

my breasts have been censored in arcata, california

My breasts have been censored in Arcata, California

It’s not the first time my breasts have been censored even when they weren’t exposed. Newspapers have refused to run the cover photo of my sixth cd Whole Lotta Love in a couple of narrow-minded cities. Some papers and magazines have even refused PAID ads by my record company if they used the cover photo. One reviewer liked my CD but remarked “the cover photo is obscene and in bad taste.” (Hey, I’m sorry my God given body offends you!) And now, the poster for my upcoming show (Feb. 7th) in Arcata at Mazzottis, apparently was too hot for this restaurant. They hung up the poster in front with a large bar across my cleavage, in an apparent attempt to cover up my 44 GG bounty.
I am always amazed as to what constitutes obscenity in this country. Why is a fat girls cleavage more offensive than a thin girls cleavage? Cher, Madonna, Brittany Spears, Liz Hurley, Halle Berry and countless others have all worn dresses cut so low that another inch would show their navel, pubic hair or lack thereof. They parade around on prime time awards programs and are never censored. It isn’t even considered unusual. But if a fat girl does it, suddenly we have crossed the line of decency. I can’t help it that I have more flesh than thin people. Clothes just look different on me. There is more of me to cover, and more of me that shows, when I am in the same styles that skinny women are wearing. Why is cleavage any more offensive than a belly shirt or a pierced naval? I happen to think it’s all beautiful but that cleavage is especially luscious. And in a day and age when women are paying thousands to buy larger breasts, why on earth would we want to cover them up?
I am not surprised that the folks at Mazzotti’s gave into the pressure. Apparently a woman with a child came in and said she didn’t want her child seeing such a vulgar picture so the management followed suit and covered me up. It is just a shame that one uptight person can cause an uproar that forces others to react in such a puritanical way. Did the management really think my poster was obscene? Or did the loud mouth woman bully them into submission because she hates her own breasts and doesn’t want to see mine?
Whatever the case, it makes me sad that people are so threatened by a woman with large breasts who is fully clothed. Yes, my boobs are huge and so is my ass. But that won’t stop me from taking pictures and wearing the clothes that are made for me, even if they happen to offend someone else. Yes, I will continue to wear a bathing suit at the beach, low cut dresses on stage and in photographs and no amount of scorn, censorship or “NO FAT CHICKS” stickers will make me shut up and disappear.
Ironically, my newest CD White Trash Girl has a cartoon caricature of me showing just as much cleavage as the photo in question. No one has ever censored the cartoon version of me or mentioned it, yet. Color me puzzled - and stacked.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

the lord was a woman from mexico city

My fiance surprised me with a trip to Mexico City for my birthday. I didnt know where we were going until the very last possible minute. It was so much fun. I have long been a fan of Frida Kahlo (way before the Salma Hayek movie) and it was amazing to finally get to visit her house and her town, Coyoacan. I saw the house where she and Diego Rivera lived together, connected by a little bridge. I dream of such a house where I can have my own space and my lover can have a private space connected by a bridge. How civilized! I also visited the pyramids in Teotihuacan. It was awesome. I cant help but wonder how the Egyptians, the Aztecs and the Mayans had the same ideas about contacting the Gods on two separate continents before the information age. I know there is a theory that aliens were in contact with them but that seems pretty crazy. Still, it is perplexing to ponder how they shared the same theories and built the same elaborate monuments without ever meeting one another. It was sad to revisit how the Spaniards destroyed the temples atop the pyramids in their attempt to convert the indigenous peoples to Christianity. I witnessed the same weirdness when I visited Jerusalem and saw the Jewish tomb of King David, beneath the room where they had the Christian last supper and the Arab mosque built atop it. It really is tragic how religions dont respect each other and just build their own monuments to their faith right on top of someone elses, destroying the sacred places of others in the process.

We visited the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe also and witnessed people crawling to the shrine on their knees. I almost got a tattoo of our lady many years ago and so it was super cool to finally visit the shrine. But again, I felt so sorry for the native mexicanos whose own historic faith was annihilated by the spanish christians in their zeal to convert everyone in sight. The Pyramids and their history speak of a faith that was at one with nature, worshipping the moon and the sun and the rain Gods. Now these people live in abject poverty, many of them barely surviving, and at the same time, worship at a gold plated altar and give their money to a church that hides child molesters and turns away from their suffering. It just doesnt seem right.
Religion has caused so much misery throughout the ages. I know it is a deeply personal thing and I also know that faith has brought comfort to people when they really need it, but visiting those pyramids and the holy shrine really made me re-examine my feelings about religion and religious institutions, once again. Religion has always divided, more than it has united and continues to do so today. Fanatics exist in every branch of religion, even in our own Oval Office and they continue to twist and distort religious doctrine to fit their own purposes. Have we really made any progress at all since the Spaniards conquered Mexico and stole their beautiful culture, only to replace it with Christian idealogies?

I wrote my song "The Lord Was a Woman" from my cd Diva La Grande, many years ago just to introduce the idea that God (if she exists) could be female. I was sick of hearing about this all male, grudge holding, score keeping God who was vindictive and punitive. A God who turned his back on the suffering of the poor and the innocent. When Country Dick recorded the song "Are you drinking with me Jesus?" he inspired me to write my own song about the subject. After visiting Mexico City, I am still more convinced than ever that the traditional, historic ideas about religion are continually manipulated by men to serve their own economic and selfish purposes. Any religion that tramples on other peoples faith and sacred feelings is a distorted sham.

I dont really believe anymore in the God of traditional religion. In fact, now more than ever, I believe God is the love inside of each one of us. The conscience that makes us do the right thing. The power we have inside us to overcome individual suffering and obstacles. The energy inside us that gives us purpose. The warmth inside us that we feel when something beautiful happens like a sunset, or a sunrise or an act of kindness that we give someone else. We each have the power to change our own destinies and make this planet as good as we can, while we are here on earth. Any person who hurts someone else in the name of some so called religion is as far away from the concept of God as they can get.

Thats what I got out of my birthday trip to beautiful Mexico City.

desensitizing the word "pussy"

de-sensitizing the word "pussy"
I am getting really tired of the bum rap that pussy gets. Whenever someone or something is negative, people tend to say "Oh, don't be such a pussy" or "that dude was a pussy." Pussy is a beautiful, sacred thing and each of us owes our very life to a pussy somewhere on this earth. I think we need to use "pussy" in a positive way, as an adjective...such as "have a pussy day" or "that dress youre wearing is just pussy!" We can also use it to describe something really cool ie; that movie was like "french pussy" or "the candye kane show was like a warm inviting pussy." Let's all make an effort to treat pussy with the respect and holiness that it deserves. Pussy is HOLY and should be treated as such.

signed your favorite white trash pussy diva,

the fight to legalize prostitution

Each year, I host a vigil for fallen prostitutes who died in the line of duty. It is dedicated to my friend, Robert "Tiny" Gibson who was a beautiful drag queen who often performed with me during my shows. Tiny was murdered in Santee a few years ago after he had sex with a client. The murderer claimed that he didnt know that Tiny was a man (as if Tinys gender somehow justified murdering him.) Tiny was not dressed in drag at the time of the slaying and in fact, wore cut off shorts and a t shirt. Though he had long hair and fake nails, he was unmistakably male when he was in normal clothing. The murderer had sex with Tiny and then stabbed him 25 times, leaving him to bleed to death in the pre-dawn streets of a pleasant suburban San Diego neighborhood. Tiny was a sweet, friendly, gentle person who did not deserve this agonizing death. He was giving an act of pleasure and was murdered for it.

Countless women and men of the streets are victimized, by police, johns and society. Prostitutes are one of the only groups of people left, whom it is perfectly legal to harass, shun, ostracize and arrest. At this time of year, the time of year when I remember my wonderful friend on my Day of the Dead altar here at home, I feel its important to point out that prostitution should be decriminalized.

If prostitution were legal or tolerated, as in Amsterdam, hookers would be able to ply their trade in safe houses complete with security guards and medical care. They wouldnt be walking the streets while little Johnny and Susie go to school. They would be able to work in the privacy of their safe house, where people who wanted their services could seek them out if they wished. There wouldn't be soiled condoms littering the streets, or extortion by the police, as so many hookers must endure.In our so called civilized society, it is shameful that prostitution is condoned and permitted a few states away in Las Vegas, but in major cities everywhere else, hookers are harassed by the law and society.Because of the public scorn directed at the world's oldest profession, men like the green river killer think its perfectly okay to murder street walkers because "they will never be missed."

It is my firm belief that we should outlaw poverty, not prostitution. Only until it is legal or decriminalized, will working girls and men be able to work safely and in peace. It is a victimless crime since both parties are consenting adults. Once it is legal, we could find out who is being forced into "the life" by an abusive pimp, or who is an underaged runaway, or who is hopelessly drug addicted and can find no other way to get their drugs. We could find out who chose their occupation with an open mind or to work her way through college. We could provide services to prostitutes such as at the famous St. James Infirmary in San Francisco founded by Margo St. James or the AIM (Adult Industry Medical) clinic in Los Angeles founded by my friend Sharon Mitchell, where sex workers can get free access to medical care.

When I walk the red light district in Amsterdam and see the beautiful women of all ethnicities, ages and sizes, I am grateful for the the civilized and tolerant people of the Netherlands who allow people of all types to live and work in peace. I am grateful for the lovely bodies and scantily clad shapes that stand behind the glass doors and I often thank these women for sharing their beauty with me. People who dont want to see them dont have to enter their neighborhood and that is the real power behind decriminalization.

I believe everyone has the right to control their own body and the right to do whatever we want with that body. Whether I am posing for the covers of adult magazines, dancing nude for the public, playing piano with my breasts or just singing and exposing the most vulnerable parts of myself, ( my poetic soul through music) I believe it is my divine right to do so. Whether I am covering my body up in a burka for only my partner to see, or whether I am sharing my body with strangers, it is my body and my right. God Bless dear sweet Tiny who will never have another chance to give the beautiful, unselfish gift of an orgasm to another partner. May we all have multiple orgasms and the right to give and receive them with whomever we want, whether it's for good old fashioned money or for good old fashioned love.

For more information on this and other sex work related subjects, please visit: www.unrepentantwhore.com www.bayswan.net , www.swop.org, www.swas.com www.carolqueen.com www.anniesprinkle.com

Don't be afraid to organize your own vigil in your town! Dec. 17th is the International day to end violence against sexworkers. Wouldn't it be great if we made our presence known throughout this Bible belt nation? It doesnt take much to organize. You can copy my press release and insert your own name and location. You can add your own comments about why you feel this is a valid and important cause and send it to your local paper. You can write letters to the editor and to the legislators. Just by having a small gathering with a few friends on dec. 17th will do much to raise awareness and you will feel so much more powerful having done something!

breasts not bomb - our boobs as public enemy number 2

Breasts! Public enemy number two!

Sacramento police arrested two women from the Mendocino based organization Breasts Not Bombs after they removed their tops during a protest on the steps of the California State Capitol on Monday, November 7th, 2005.
Sherry Glaser 45, and Renee Love 40, of Albion were charged with indecent exposure, disorderly conduct and going beyond the scope of their permit to demonstrate on state property. The two women were hauled off in front of at least 100 people while protesting Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ballot measures. Officials at the Sacramento district attorney’s office were to decide whether to prosecute the protesters and if they did, whether to include them on the state’s list of registered sex offenders.
YES. You read that correctly. Going topless is now a crime so heinous; an offense so serious, it could land you on a list along with pedophiles, violent rapists and other sexual predators. The idea that a woman’s bare breasts could be considered a crime worthy of description as “sex offenders” should outrage every citizen with nipples! Since when has the human body become so dangerous and subversive that it is a crime to show it under any circumstances? Only in the United States of American can you view guns, shootings and violent crimes to your hearts content on prime time television but you will NEVER, EVER see a naked boob. Only in the United States are we proclaiming our superiority as a nation, while our leaders like John Ashcroft cover the marble breasts of benign nude statues in shame and disgust. Is it any wonder, then, that our beloved country has given birth to some of the most violent criminals in the world? Men like Jeffrey Dahmer, Gary Ridgeway and Charles Ng are all home-grown America sexual predators who grew up watching gun slingers on television but were censored from seeing psychologically damaging nudity.
Glaser and Love held up signs at the protest with slogans that read: “War is indecent” “ Poverty is indecent” “ George Bush’s agenda is indecency.” They bared their breasts to call attention to their cause but also to illustrate the graphic hypocrisy in our flawed society. When we are force-feeding our so-called democracy down the throats of third world countries but are unable to show our beautiful bodies in the sun, what kind of freedom do we really have? While we are piling up billions in debt to spread democracy, American women are still unable to perform a natural act like breast-feeding their infants in some public places. While it is perfectly legal for men to go shirtless in public, women risk being classified as sex offenders for baring the same body parts!
I love breasts. I think they are all beautiful. Little perky peach sized ones - Big ol’ floppy ones - Skin tags and flesh bags – Silicone implants or prosthesis - ain’t any of us would be here today without a pair of tits somewhere in the world who gave us life. I think more women should bare their breasts as a protest symbol. I think all people should have the right to walk around topless on a hot summer day. I have seen many hairy chests with large breasts on males at the beach and I. for one, would much rather see more naked female breasts.
I am ashamed sometimes of this civilization that treats half of its people so uncivilized. In Europe, it is common-place to see naked breasts and bodies at the beach. No one notices. No one cares. Why are we so hung up on nudity? Why are we treated like little impressionable children in this country who cannot even handle viewing the human body in all its glory?
I dream of a time and place where women’s breasts will be honored and worshipped as sacred and cherished; a time where we will all be able to embrace the similarities of our bodies and love each other because of our collective humanity. Yes, we are all different in our languages, races, customs and religions but when we are all naked, we are all one human species.
Breasts are not dangerous weapons. They are beautiful symbols of life. They give life to suckling infants. They make life better because of their existence. We are all cradled in the bosom of Mother Earth. The sooner we realize how much we are alike and how little really divides us, the sooner we will all evolve and reach our higher ground.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

blues survivor (published at www.blueswax.com)

Blues Survivor

What happens when you take three in-charge divas from different countries and put them all together on a bus in the dead of winter for 65 shows? Each one of them used to calling the shots and running the show, each with distinctly different personalities, playing styles and communication skills. Who will fold? Who will triumph? Who will cry first? Who will get their period? Who will cheat on their boyfriend? Who will throw a tantrum and have to be coaxed back onstage? Who will have it out with the band? Who will show up late? Who will get drunk and forget the words? Who will have a catfight? Who will rise above it all and overcome the challenge? Find out in this edition of Blues Survivor!

First, meet our divas:

Sue Foley

Canadian citizen Sue Foley is a blues veteran. She has been playing guitar and recording since the age of 17. She has been nominated for a WC Handy award and has won beaucoup Maple awards (Canadian Grammy) over a decade and a half career. She is known for her laid back, groove heavy simplicity and her genuine love for traditional style blues. She is sensitive and thoughtful both offstage and on, but she is no pushover. A fiery redheaded Mom to seven-year old Joe, Sue shoots from the hip and is always down to earth, blunt and funny. Her song writing has been compared to Bob Dylan and she is writing a book about guitar women and interviewed numerous female guitarists while on the road.

Ana Popovic

At 28, Ana was the baby of the Blues Caravan. Ana pulled herself out of communist Serbia, moved to the Netherlands and built a career out of nothing but sheer talent, determination and gorgeous long legs. Her father was a blues fan and a Milosevic protester and he’s the one who first encouraged her to sing and play guitar. Ana helped her younger sister Maya leave Serbia and finances her education with her music salary. She has only three CDs out but rose to success quickly when she was nominated for a WC Handy award for “Best New Artist” In 2003. She has a sexy stage style and she loves jazz and rock fusion along with Chicago blues.

Candye Kane

Candye (that’s me!) is a super sized belter from East Los Angeles with huge knockers. She has been touring for over 15 years and has released seven internationally acclaimed CDs. She has appeared on countless television shows both for her music and for her background as a plus size porn star. She raised two children and escaped the welfare rolls, all the while pursuing a musical career and touring 250 days a year. She is a flamboyant show person who loves to inspire and communicate with an audience. Her newest CD White Trash Girl is available in stores now.

The beginning

At first I was reluctant when Thomas Ruf asked me to participate in the Blues Caravan. Thomas and I had emailed back and forth, discussing the possibilities of a package tour show. Thomas Ruf is the charismatic label owner of RUF records from a small town in Germany. He started his career in music as Luther Allison’s booking agent and eventually became his Manager. His deep love and respect for Luther and his extensive knowledge and respect for the blues as an idiom, prompted him to start his own record label. He asked me for my advice about a revue show because he knew that I had participated in several different revue shows starting with the Texas Blues show with my Antone’s label mates, Teddy Morgan and Miss Lavelle White in 1994 and most recently was part of the Netherlands Night of the Blues theater tour with Melvin Taylor, Sax Gordon and the late George Wild Child Butler. I enjoy packages because the hustle and bustle backstage is so colorful and interesting. I love the opportunity to learn from my co-stars and be entertained by their music and personality. As much as I love the company aspects of a troupe, I had experienced them with mostly male co-stars. I knew that playing with other women might be difficult. We have so much more to prove in this male dominated business. We all must have big egos to start with to have any kind of longevity. And when I saw how many shows were involved, I was really worried.
I knew Sue Foley and I already loved her. We were label mates at Antone’s and toured together on the Texas Women in the Blues tour in 1997 with Lou Ann Barton. Sue and I have followed each other through the blues world from Austin to Germany, from Antone’s to RUF records delicately balancing motherhood and music. I like Sue’s musical style and am a big fan of her guitar work. I was excited about hanging out with Sue again and catching up on her life.
I met Ana Popovic only one time prior, at the Bay Car Blues Festival in France. We met in the lobby of the hotel (a moment Ana doesn’t remember.) My first impression was that she was very pretty but maybe a bit self-absorbed. I heard her show and I have to be honest, I wasn’t blown away. I am a traditionalist musically although my music takes on provocative themes sometimes. Ana’s electrified sound and all those wah-wah pedals she uses made me cringe and I didn’t stick around for her entire set. I didn’t know how the three of us with our distinctly different styles, could come together, make music and be mutually supportive. I was certain that there would be many fights to come. I wasn’t convinced that it could work but I knew it would be an interesting bill and crowds would love it. I committed to joining the Blues Caravan and vowed to put aside any pre-conceived notions.
The first fight we had was the back up band. We all agreed to choose a common rhythm section both to save money and to keep the continuity of the show fluid. Of course, each of us wanted our own rhythm section. Committing to 65 shows without your own band is risky. Our bands could quit during our absence. They are devoid of income while we are running around the world, getting paid to play music. Each of us are used to our own band of musicians. We all had to compromise a certain tightness with our regular groups to make this happen. Finding musicians who could play all of our collective styles convincingly was another challenge. Sue and I are similar in our love of low down traditional blues grooves. Ana had more of a rock edge coupled with jazz-fusion. It was hard to find a rhythm section that could do it all. I suggested a few Austin and a few Los Angeles musicians including Preston Hubbard from The original T-Birds and Greg Boaz, who plays bass with Dave Alvin. Sue and I discussed her former bassist John Penner who is now playing with Junior Brown. Ana wanted her own band of French musicians.
Eventually Thomas Ruf suggested Billy McClelland and Mike Griot from Michael Hill’s Blues Mob. I had just played with them down at the Narooma Blues Festival in Australia. I knew they were nice guys and I respected their style and musicianship. Both men are from the New York City area and they carry with them that hard edged East Coast confidence. If anyone could do this difficult job, it would be them. I decided to bring along Tucson pianist Lisa Otey. Lisa and I played together on other occasions when she accompanied me at the Blues Passions Festival in Cognac, France and many times in her hometown of Tucson. She played on my Rounder CD The Toughest Girl Alive and I sang on her self released CD. Piano is an important part of my show because of its barrelhouse sound, but also because if all else fails, I can always crack up the audience with my impromptu breast piano solos. I was sure that Lisa would add a lot to the rhythm section and I knew that Sue would use her on some songs, once they met. Now that the band was complete, we had plenty of time to stress out about the months ahead.
The tour commenced on January 13th 2005 in Oldenburg, Germany. We all flew into Frankfurt for a rehearsal day before the launch of the Blues Caravan. I had a horrible cold and there was snow on the ground when I landed in Germany. It was our first chance to rehearse together and we met in an old social hall in Lindewerra, Thomas Ruf’s hometown. The musicians had learned our material from CDs that had been sent through the mail. The rehearsals went amazingly smoothly and we adjourned to Thomas Ruf’s Swiss Family Robinson style home for dinner. His girlfriend Sabine made homemade pizza and we had a lovely time drinking wine and laughing. Sue, Ana and I listened to his record collection trying to decide on a few songs that we could perform together. After many, many vetoes, we finally decided on a song I had never heard before Etta James “Come to Mama” and a song Sue and Ana had never heard before, Koko Taylor’s “Mother Nature.” With the songs in place and a rehearsal under our belt, we were ready to take on the European Union with a vengeance.


It was difficult deciding who would go first on the bill. None of us wanted to give the impression that we were opening the show. I really wanted to go first because out of the three of us, I felt that my show was the most laid back. I don’t play guitar and Sue Foley was going to be playing guitar in my set as well as hers. We knew she would need a break in between her set and mine. I felt that Ana was so powerful and rocking, she would be a hard act to follow with my cabaret approach to the blues. Thomas Ruf wanted me to go last. He said I was too hard to follow. I think it’s because my jokes, banter and breast piano playing provide the comic relief. At any rate, it was decided. Sue would play first, Ana in the middle and I would close the show, followed by the finale when Sue and Ana would rejoin me onstage. It was also agreed that we would do an opening number all together to give the show the revue element and to diffuse the idea that Sue was opening. This was another obstacle for us to overcome. I didn’t like the idea of an opening song. I am from the old-fashioned vaudeville school of entertainment where you don’t show the audience your best bit until the end of the show. I like a show to build gradually, culminating in the high-energy finale. Plus, I wear goofy outfits onstage. I feel that I am a black drag queen trapped in a white woman’s body and so I glam myself up with feathers and sequins. I like my costumes to have the impact of surprise. On this point, I was overruled. I agreed to do the opening number with my blues sisters and found it to be a lot of fun.
The first shows went surprisingly well. No train wrecks and no noticeable mistakes. I enjoyed the band immensely especially in the low down blues numbers. Sue is such a great guitarist and she played her best when she was accompanying me. I enjoyed watching the shows those first few nights. I learned to appreciate Ana’s flying finger technique and the more I got to know her as a person, the more I enjoyed her music. Sue’s homespun candor was a great opener. She tenderly led the audience on her musical journey in her gentle, down to earth way. By the end of her set, she’d have the audience cheering and jumping up and down to her songs “Doggie Treats” and “Shake that Thang.” She was the perfect prelude to Ana and her complicated, well- amplified guitar gymnastics. Ana is so easy to look at with her ultra-high, over the knee, suede boots and her sexy barely - there stage outfits. Then, when she starts wailing on that guitar, she gets them eating out of her hand. By the time my set rolled around, the audience was well-lubed and ready to laugh. Ana and Sue aren’t big talkers in between songs so my one-liners and story telling was welcomed and well received. By the time Ana rejoined us onstage for the finale, the rhythm section were exhausted. They played three hours non-stop with only the briefest bathroom breaks when each of us did an acoustic number, mine with just piano, Sue and Ana with guitar. Billy and Mike had the hardest job and yet they did the least complaining. Each night, they got up there and did their best performance behind us. I think the audience perceived the difficult job they had and rewarded them nightly with thunderous applause.
We traveled from town to town in a night liner bus. Our bus had twelve bunks, a bathroom, two televisions and VCRS, a DVD player and even a Sony Playstation. It was a bit of a bummer to find out that our USA purchased DVDS would not play in the European system but we all started buying movies to watch while we were over there. We had a driver who took us from venue to venue. This made it a lot easier than touring in the states where we have to drive our own vans in shifts, pay for the gas and navigate the map. We had two crew members who traveled with us, Hermann and Sebastian. Hermann did the lights and Sebastian did the sound. Thomas Ruf was with us as well, on the road, selling merchandise each night and fielding requests and complaints from us all, day in and day out. There’s not many record label heads that would get on the bus and travel with the group. I think it’s a real testament to the kind of man he is. It was fun getting to know him and his little quirks. For instance, he never wears matching socks. It’s just his thing. And when I found the “Best of White Snake” CD in his Walkman, I was very surprised. I guess even he needs to escape from his job now and then.
It was hard for me to hurl my 200-pound plus frame up into my bunk every night. I found out early that I couldn’t sleep at all on the bus when we had overnight drives. I am from California where a little bumping and shaking makes you run for the nearest doorway. On the bus, if I did actually fall asleep, I was haunted by dreams of earthquakes and volcano’s. I was happiest when we had a hotel for the night. Ana on the other hand, held the record for the most hours of consecutive sleep on the bus. She once lay down at midnight after the show and didn’t wake up again until noon the next day! I envied her ability to sleep soundly while the bus flew down the autobahn.
We had a lounge area in the back of the bus and that’s where I spent most of my time. We had band meetings back there to discuss arrangements and show changes but mostly we three divas sat back there and wrote on our computers. Sue was working on her Guitar Women book, I am writing my memoirs and Ana had a new laptop and was always working on songs and pictures for her website. It was here we really got to know each other. We shared photos of our boyfriends and children. We shared stories about our previous tours and our recording plans. We exchanged record company horror stories and gossiped and laughed about people we had met in clubs and in the audiences. We commiserated about being women on the road and each of us got our periods! Sue informed me that the dominant female in the group always gets her period first and yes, it was I! It was there, in the back of the bus that I really started to love Ana and her earthy friendship. Underneath all that beauty is a simple Taurus girl who longs for a family and a normal life. Getting to know her made me really appreciate her music and the effort she puts into her art.
Sue spent a lot of time with the band and the crew up in the front of the bus, staying up late and playing poker or Texas Hold em’. Sue is like one of the boys and proud of it. She bonded quickly with the band, playing tennis with them and exchanging lots of laughter. During the day, she was often my companion. We’d look for Internet cafes and shoe stores. We both love shoes and shopping. We found cute little cafes and took turns treating each other to lunch. We’d go for long walks and sight see. After our shows in Holland, we’d have weed-smoking and wine tasting sessions with the band late at night after the show ended. We shared song ideas and started to write a song one night on the ferry between Finland and Denmark. On the last week of the tour, Sue, Mike, Billy and I went to a neighborhood bar, sat in with the local cover band and danced the night away. These were the times I really felt like a family with my road compatriots.
Little by little we got to know each other. Billy was the emotional, moody one. He was the one who would smile broadly behind those drums and put on a great show for the audience. He was easy to connect with onstage and off. Mike was the funny one, quick with a laugh and a story. Both of them were very proud of their children back home and carried pictures in their wallets. Sebastian and Hermann, our German road crew, were also sweet, hard working and fun. Sebastian had a great camera and took tons of pictures to chronicle our daily lives. Hermann’s wife and toddler joined us on the road, as did Thomas Ruf’s daughters. It made it feel more like family when there were kids around us. Kids always make everyone a little less frustrated and a little more human. The time went slowly and we took turns talking about what we would do when we got back home. We enjoyed each other but all of us had loved ones waiting for us and we all desperately missed them.
Like a family, there were a few arguments and confrontations. Mike and I had it out one night in Spain over some mistakes on stage. Ana and Billy had a shouting match on the bus one night in Avignon. I had a fight with my boyfriend on the phone. I made Ana cry when I said something insensitive. Sue and Ana had it out at one point, onstage. I ran off the stage crying one night when my voice finally gave in to my cold. Thomas Ruf had a fight with a promoter. Being professionals, we all managed to somehow move past our blow-ups with dignity and go on with the show. And what a show it was.
There were happy times along with the emotional ones. Billy celebrated his birthday in Stockholm and with the help of some friends we were able to surprise him with a birthday cake onstage. We featured some up and coming young female guitarists in the show. Holly Kinnear, a 16 year old from Great Britain, sat in and surprised us all with her thoughtful playing. Eve Monsees from Austin came over to take Sue’s place for a few shows. Just 19 years old, Eve really slayed ‘em with her singing and playing prowess. It was great to see the future of the blues right from the bandstand. We ran into my buddy, Bob Brozman in Copenhagen and met a Swedish all girl blues band, Little Jenny and the Bluebeans. Gary Primich sat in with us in Norway as did Norwegian guitarist Peer Gynt.
The audiences were unbelievable. It was fun seeing the fans discover us anew. Ana’s fans were becoming Sue and Candye fans and vice-versa. After every show, we stood out in the lobby with Thomas Ruf, signing Cds and taking pictures with the crowd. This is always my favorite part of every show.
From the packed out show in Amsterdam at the Melkweg where Ana filmed her live DVD, to the show in Benidorm, Spain where a freak cold spell made it so freezing cold, we wore our heavy jackets onstage; From the amazingly exotic Dubai Jazz festival to the standing room only crowd in Paris at the New Morning; From the funky sound and low ceiling at the Banana Peel in Belgium to the huge Erdgas Arena in Riesa, Germany where Mohammed Ali had boxed; From the Savoy Theatre in Helsinki where beautiful Finnish guitarist Erja Luittenin sat in, to the Blues Festival in Bergen, Norway where I sat in with my buddy Earl Thomas, the blues once again bridged cultures and the music brought us together. Once and for all, the blues proved itself the glue between fragmented peoples and the great healer when you are feeling lonely and heartsick. Once again the blues illuminated our common ground and diminished our differences, shedding light on our souls and bringing together those who might never have even met at all.
65 shows ago, I worried I might not be able to get along with the people of the Blues Caravan. Now, months later, I miss the new friends I made. Back in my mini-van, driving across the USA to Lincoln, Nebraska to start my Midwest tour, I keep thinking about how much fun it was on the bus traveling from city to city. I even miss my lumpy bunk and the morning breakfast raids we pulled in the hotels. I miss the strong coffee Thomas Ruf made for us in the morning and the family feeling of being in it, all for one and one for all. I don’t miss the way the bathroom smelled on the bus after all those months. I don’t miss the smelly cheese that someone left in the fridge that overpowered even the bathroom stench. I don’t miss the overnight drives and I don’t miss the long wait between the opening song and my set. I miss the people.
I think we all learned something about ourselves on the Blues Caravan. Each of us had a lesson to learn and a lesson to share. I am proud of myself for surviving that long tour with all its emotion and beauty. Music comes from the very core of our emotional being and sometimes it touches us in ways we can’t even convey. I realized that being on the road and tackling everything that comes along, being flexible and open to new experiences, being able to overcome my emotions and sometimes my frustrations, learning how to play well with others and appreciate their diversity, learning when to keep my mouth shut and when to open up, makes me a Blues survivor.
I know first hand that every one of us who gets in that van or bus night after night, driving hundreds of miles, just to play music for an hour or two on that stage is a blues survivor.

I’m proud to be a blues survivor? Aren’t you?

BluesCaravan/ Ladies Night 2005

13.01. D - Oldenburg, Kulturetage, Germany
14.01. D - Siegen, Jazzclub, Germany
15.01. D - Worpswede, MusicHall, Germany
16.01. D - Bonn, Harmonie, Germany
17.01. D – off
18.01. D - München, Metropolis (Kunstpark Ost), Germany
19.01. D - Karlsruhe, Jubez
20.01. D - Tübingen, Sudhaus
21.01. D - Hannover, Bluesgarage
22.01. D - Berlin, Quasimodo
23.01. D - Soest, Alter Schlachthof
24.01. D - off
25.01. D – Aschaffenburg, Colos-Saal
26.01. D - Hamburg, Downtown Bluesclub
27.01. NL – Den Haag, Paard van Troje
28.01. NL – Rijssen, Lucky & Co.
29.01. NL – Tilburg, 013
30.01. NL – Amsterdam, Melkweg
03.02. United Arab Emirates - Dubai, Media City, Amphitheatre Park

03.03. E - Getxo-Bizkaia, Antzokia
04.03. E - Alicante, Universidad
05.03. E – Terassa-Barcelona, Jazz Cava
06.03. E – La Villa Joiosa (near Alicante), Centro Cultural
07.03. E – Benidorm, Calle Gambo
08.03. travel
09.03. F – Montpellier, Salle Victoire 2
10.03. I – Pisa, Metarock Live Club
11.03. I – Forlì, Naima Club
12.03. F - Strasbourg, La Laiterie
13.03. F – Magny-Le-Hongre, File 7
14.03. F – off
15.03. F – Paris, New Morning
16.03. F – Alençon, La Luciole
17.03. F – Clermont-Ferrand, Coopérative De Mai
18.03. F – Castres, Bolegason
19.03. F – Toulon, Omega
20.03. F – Avignon, Rouge Gorge
21.03. F – off (Reims)
22.03. D – Freiburg, Jazzhaus
23.03. B – Ruiselede, Banana Peel
24.03. B – Ruiselede, Banana Peel
25.03. GB – Burnley, Burnley Mechanics
14.04. CH – Rubigen, Mühle Hunziken
15.04. CH – Schaffhausen, Kammgarn
16.04. CH – Aarburg, Moonwalker
17.04. D – Riesa, VIP-Balkon der erdgas arena
18.04. off
19.04. DK – Aalborg, Skraaen
20.04. travel
21.04. FIN – Helsinki, Savoy Teatteri
22.04. FIN – Vaasa, Goodmood Club
23.04. FIN – Lathi, Bluesmafia
24.04. travel
25.04. S – Karlstad, Sundsta School
26.04. S – Stockholm, Fasching
27.04. S – Gothenburg, Neffertiti
28.04. N – Oslo, Rock Bottom
29.04. N - Trondheim, Festival
30.04. N – Bergen, Festival
01.05. travel
02.05. DK – Copenhagen, MOJO (showcase)
03.05. DK – Greve, Portalen
04.05. DK – Haderslev, The Moon
05.05. DK – Odense, Bluesdays

To vote or not to vote

I have always encouraged my kids, my family and my friends to vote. I come from a long line of Democrats and so of course I encourage everyone to vote Democratic, but it doesn’t matter who you vote for as long as you vote. It’s long been my belief that you have no right to complain about the system if you don’t vote.
I sat in Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood four years ago and watched the election returns on CBS over a plate of chili fries with a few friends. When Dan Rather announced that Al Gore had won Florida, everyone at Barney’s cheered. I ordered a round of drinks to celebrate and was feeling hopeful and happy but before the first frosty mug was delivered, a very strange thing happened. My trusted anchorman was back on the screen telling us that there had been a terrible mistake. Al Gore had NOT won Florida after all. In fact, there was a big problem – an unprecedented problem- and no one knew exactly how the election would turn out.
Four years later, at war with no end in sight, trillions of dollars in debt and hated pretty much all over the globe, I guess we all know how the election turned out. And now another election is coming; an election that will have a profound impact on our lives both here at home and all over the world. So how come I’m not excited??
It’s hard these days to encourage my kids and friends to vote. I mean, Al Gore WON the election and Bush was still elected so how much does our vote count, really??? Still I hang my John Kerry bumper stickers on my car, hang the placards in my yard and windows and hope for the best. But does it really matter whether we vote for Kerry, Nader or Bush? In the end, the election can be manipulated, just like it was in the last election. For the first time ever, I am not that enthusiastic about voting. I haven’t ordered my absentee ballot yet, even though I know I will be in Australia on November 2nd. My disillusionment hangs over my head like the dark storm cloud that follows Pigpen around in the Peanuts cartoon.
I want to be optimistic again. I long for the idealistic days of my punk rock youth. I pine for those long lost days when I thought the system could be changed by protest, letter writing and civil disobedience.
But I have seen things change drastically in the last four years. Europeans used to love us because we brought our blues and jazz music over the pond to their doorsteps. They loved American culture and wanted to watch our T.V. shows, eat our crappy fast food, buy our records and laugh at our jokes. Now too often they want to question us about our politics. “Isn’t it a Democracy?” my German road manager asks. “In a Democracy you choose your leaders, right?”
I try to explain how a few over-educated Jewish senior citizens in Florida who had voted their whole lives, suddenly had trouble sticking the pin in the right hole. I try to explain the whole “chads” phenomenon and how a few poor, African American voters had their votes thrown out because they, or someone who shared their name, committed a crime once. But in the end I don’t really know what to say or how to explain it. When I am not allowed on radio shows that I have always done because suddenly their format has changed to “European artists only” I feel the change. When I am staying in the Arab quarter in Paris (where I have always stayed because that’s what the promoter can afford) and now it feels hostile and unsafe when we speak English in the street, I feel the change. When I am followed in Amsterdam by angry Somali men who speak loudly about “Black Hawk Down” and “slaughtering all stupid Americans” I feel the change, deeply.
Of course, I will vote in this election because I feel its’ my civic duty to do so. I will vote for the guy who doesn’t have much charisma because I don’t think charisma equals wisdom. I will vote for the guy who went to a college I could never afford and lives a life of financial stability that I can only dream about because at least he seems to care about poor people and our struggles. I will vote for the guy who chose to protest the injustices of the Vietnam War instead of returning to his comfortable life of bourgeois leisure because I think it shows some integrity. I will vote for the wooden guy because at least he’s a moderate. At least he seems to understand that it’s not so simple as “You’re either with us or against us.”
I would prefer to vote for a woman who advocated legalizing drugs and prostitution. A woman who promised to run the country like a PTA meeting and provide access to affordable health care and education to all citizens. A woman who promised that with the new found revenue from prostitution and marijuana sales we could invent alternative methods of transportation so we aren’t dependent on foreign oil anymore. I would vote for that woman in a second and if I thought she would win, I might even run myself!
But for now I guess it’s more important to vote than not to vote. Even if the candidates aren’t the best choices - even if they are all rich, white male elitists who act like robots. I liked it when Howard Dean let out the whoop that was heard around the globe. I liked it when Teresa Heinz-Kerry told someone to “shove it”. I liked it when Clinton got a blow-job and I even liked it when scary Dick Cheney told someone to “Fuck Off.” I like politicians who are human or at least act like it. I’m not into voting for someone because they are pretty actors like Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura or Reagan. I want a candidate who will be honest and forthright and themselves. A politician who will say “Yes, I got some head in office but it doesn’t affect my job performance.”
I dream of a politician with actual life experience, who smoked some weed, inhaled, went to a hooker in Vegas, stood in line at the D.M.V. and got parking tickets occasionally. But until we get a human candidate, I will vote for the least offensive robot. I will choose the robot that has the best chance of unseating the other out of touch robot. Then I will pray like hell that my vote is actually counted. My vote is my ticket to complain bitterly for another four years. Don’t forget to get your ticket. It’s your duty as an American.
See ya at Barney’s in November.

a poem about the women I meet around the world

midwest girls and their cornfield tan
are down to earth and understand
they'll always extend a helping hand
they know what it means to stand by their man
she's my friend, not just a fan.
cali girls with their golden hair
the ocean breeze and the flowers they wear
they surf and swim with a sunkissed grin
convertible cars and drive – thru sin.
southern girls with their sexy drawl
please and thank you. can i help y'all?
they'll share some beer in the pick up truck
where country cousins try their luck.
arab girls with their haunting eyes
a thousand nights, a thousand sighs
they hide themselves from prying eyes
and underneath the dark disguise
is a girl who's longing to be wise.
northern france? cest magnifique
the height of elegance and chic
a slender hand, a crepe suzette
the most beautiful girls I ever met.
cava cava cava bien. can't wait to see paree again.
southern france and northern spain
or is basque the proper name?
gypsy eyes - red lips apart
muy muy caliente heart
pray and eat, drink wine and fight
sleep all day and fuck all night
mucho corazon amour, mucho mas por favor
fiesta, siesta y todo - i cannot let espana go.
east coast girls can get there fast
they fight to win. they're built to last
shrewd and cool. nobodys' fool.
she knows what she wants. she'll get it from you.
she weathers ice and blistering sun
and still looks better than anyone.
I am just a white trash girl
from my van, I see the world.
wherever I go, I am blessed from above
by the beautiful women who show me their love.
-candye kane

harriet myers - my new piano player

Harriet Miers – My New Pianist?

I need to hire new musicians from time to time. Currently, I need a new pianist since my long time key tickler has left for Canada. There just aren’t that many boogie woogie piano players these days who are ready to go out on the road. Many people think they can handle the road and then crumble when they finally get out here and see how many hours a day are spent sitting in a van on America’s highways. Some find that they miss their families too much when they are away from home, week after lonely week. My search for a pianist has taken me to music websites and college want ads. Perhaps I am looking in the wrong place. Maybe I should use President Bush’s logic and find a person who has never played the piano and try to teach them on the job. A good sax player or guitarist could learn over night how to be a piano player. Just put a piano in front of them and surely all of their musical knowledge will make their new job a cinch.

The Bush nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court has liberals and conservatives baffled. GW asserts that Miers is the single most qualified person to serve on the Supreme Court even though she has never sat on the bench. Miers is the best person for the job even though she would not have been listed on even one of the lists of the 100 most influential people in Law. She was Bush’s personal lawyer and White House Council. She is an avowed born again Christian who is a member of an ultra conservative evangelical congregation. She gave money to the Right to Life Foundation and taught Sunday School, where she signed up for “servant jobs” like making coffee and emptying the trash. She was president of the Texas Bar and a corporate litigator. Surely these experiences qualify her to sit in the most powerful court in the Nation. She has chosen the right coffee beans for the Valley Village Church congregants, has she not? She has allowed the State of Texas to execute more inmates than any other State in the Union. Of course, she is now qualified to sit on the highest court in the land.

Ms. Miers may surprise us all and immediately learn to be an effective, objective Judge from her on-the-job-training. Maybe she will separate her personal views from her decisions on the bench. Perhaps she’ll prove overnight to be a thoughtful, conscientious Barrister with only the best interest of American Citizens at heart. However, there is a good reason for all the hoopla and concern. Lawyers are not known for their objectivity. Lawyers defend murderers and child molesters alike, if they can pay for the service. Corporate litigators are not required to pass judgement on their clients. Their only role is to defend the case and win. It matters not whether the client is guilty or innocent. Nor does it count whether the victim suffered inhumane treatment or the corporation poisoned the well that provided water to families. It only matters that the bills are paid and the case is won.

Harriet Miers might turn out to make a wonderful, feminist role model for all women. She may prove to be a moderate or a liberal judge, although her extreme Christian views make that scenario unlikely. I have also heard that Ms. Miers plays a little acoustic guitar and has been known to lead sing alongs of Kumbaya and Jesus Loves Me at her Church. With credentials like this, it seems obvious that I should hire her to play piano in my band. After all, she has about the same amount of experience for both positions. With her little bit of basic guitar chord knowledge and her familiarity with the law, she is just as qualified to be my pianist as she is to be a Supreme Court Justice. She could learn to love the blues and set aside her Christian song list for the time being. She could adapt a strong left hand onstage as easily as she can hold up her right hand to be sworn in. Playing on Saturday Nights to blues fans is much safer for our country than overturning Roe vs Wade. And best of all, the cocktails are a lot stronger and usually free. And finally, though the pay is considerably less, she would hurt a lot less people learning on the bandstand instead of the Witness Stand. Somebody get me her phone number.

Candye Kane is an award winning blues diva and composer with seven CDs under her belt. She is a regular contributor to Blues Revue, Blues Wax online zine and Riverwurst. A Mother of two grown sons, she performs internationally 250 days a year. www.candyekane.com