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Candye Kane believes the universe makes no mistakes. Kane believes the universe, or your higher power - has already made decisions and already knows what you are capable of long before you take your first step. The universe has already strengthened you for the most radical endurance race of all - LIFE. You are ready to deal with everything that comes at you like a fast ball and it WILL - whether its heartbreak, the death of a loved one, cancer or all three. You can handle these hurdles and most importantly, you can become a better person for them.
In 1983, Candye was a teenage mom from the poor side of town. Welfare and food stamps by day and a hard drug using, nude model by night, yodeling alongside punk bands the Circle Jerks, X and FEAR in Hollywoods underground music scene – appearing on the covers of Hustler and High Society whilst peddling her cassettes of original hillbilly music to anyone who would listen. Before Laura Chavez was born, Candye signed a management deal with the Halsey agency, the first agency to promote American music behind the Iron Curtain. Kane was personal friends with Dave Alvin and Dwight Yoakum who wisely encouraged her to always be honest about her colorful past as a sex worker. “ Be yourself Candye. It’s what your good at,” said Yoakum.
It was advice well taken. Kane went on to record 12 CDS on a myriad of record labels from major (Sire/ London1998) to respectable Indys’ (Rounder 2000). She built a reputation around the world by touring 250 years a day, writing songs that appeared on television and in movies, appearing on numerous artists collaborations; Texas women in the blues – with Lou Ann Barton and Miss Lavelle White and the Blues Caravan series with Sue Foley and Ana Popovic. Candye landed interviews on television shows like Penn and Teller, Queen Latifah and Donny and Marie and wrote and performed a stage play about her life called “The Toughest Girl Alive” to sold out audiences and at the NY Fringe Festival. She was nominated for five National Blues Awards and won the best blues band award in her adopted hometown of San Diego a record 9 consecutive times while raising two sons to adulthood.
When she met Laura Chavez in 2007, it was Canadian guitar star, Sue Foleys’ fault. Candyes’ guitarist was quitting to start a band with his wife and Candye had an impending tour. Sue suggested Laura and that recommendation did the trick. Candye hired Laura sight unseen. “I’d never even seen a picture of her. But when I picked her up at the airport, we were both dressed in skull shirts and ordered the same cocktails. We felt the same on so many topics.” Now Kane and Chavez were ready to start writing songs together and delivering their promise to get on the road and make music but that pesky universe and its plans.
After an especially rough pain bout, Kane went to an ER in Germany. The doctor on call saw a mass on her pancreas. He sent her home with a tragic look and a bottle of pain meds. As Kane looked up the cancer she had, she realized her odds of surviving were poor. She had already lost a close family friend in a matter of months leaving behind a wife and two sons, almost the same age as sons Evan and Tommy.
Realizing her days were likely numbered, Candye told Laura she needed to find another band and get famous. I said, “look girl, you’re too GOOD. This world needs to see how awesome you are. You have to play with somebody else. I’d be robbing the world.” But Laura insisted on waiting until Candye had her first whipple surgery. A bright student who once dreamt of med school, Laura actually enjoyed researching Candye’s, rare type of neuroendocrine cancer and advocated for her in and out of the hospital. She’s not just a brilliant guitar player and an avid fan of "House" she’s a guitar slinging, blues lover who reads pathology reports for fun. And the cancer oddly brought Chavez and Kane closer, personally and musically. They did what all cancer fighters do – wrote and recorded two cds, jumped in the van and went on the road.
After the cancer came back and a second whipple revision was performed at Cedars Sinai, in May 2012, Kane and Chavez continued their hectic schedule around the world – playing music for people everywhere – Finland, Australia, Europe and Africa. They performed at the National Congress for Downs Syndrome for Candyes charity, United by Music and in spite of Candyes monthly injections to keep the cancer at bay, they show no signs of slowing down.
Kane and Chavez will release their third cd, together, "Coming Out Swingin” in June 2013. “Coming out Swingin’" features 13 songs, nine of them self penned as a team. This cd features enough string bending from Laura to satisfy any guitar geek. She wails, she swings, she jumps and boogies and she does it all with a medical journal in one hand and a guitar pick in the other. Kane is her no holds barred self, telling heart wrenching stories of pain and survival – lust and heartbreak. Still the sexual dynamo Kane was in the 80s, she now does it as a petite size 8 and lost none of the barrelhouse belting that made her a Bessie Smith contender. Its as if cancer has strengthened both of these women – turning them into one powerhouse of guts and determination and one dynamic duo to be encountered, on and off the bandstand. Coming out Swingin' indeed!