Blues-rocker Candye Kane puts aside her porno past

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 13, 2003

By Steve Newton

Some say that blues-metal was born in 1969 when Led Zeppelin released “Whole Lotta Love”, and indeed that tune’s thundering guitar riff and wailing vocals have launched a thousand headbanger bands. Today it’s still having a powerful effect. Just ask Candye Kane, who made it the title track of her upcoming sixth CD. As the blues diva explains from her home in Oceanside, California, she had a pretty legit reason for raiding the hallowed vaults of Page & Plant.

“It was kind of the perfect song for me,” Kane relates, “just being a big woman and celebrating my size. I mean, I am a whole lotta love.”

Like Kane’s previous recordings, Whole Lotta Love blends elements of jazz, rock, reggae, and swing with straight-ahead blues shuffles. It’s all tied together by her powerhouse vocals, which have helped her group win the best blues band award at the San Diego Music Awards five times. Those pipes have also got Kane featured alongside some of the all-time great shouters on the 30 Essential Women of the Blues CD.

“That’s an excellent compilation,” she raves of the 1999 House of Blues release. “I was very lucky to be included on it. And when they put me in the company of such luminaries as Etta James and Big Mama Thornton—I mean, that was really incredible.”

Although Kane would be the first to admit that she’s nowhere near to achieving blues-legend status, there are signs that she’s headed in the right direction. For starters, the Chicago Tribune chose her previous album, The Toughest Girl Alive, as one of the top 10 blues records of 2000.

“I’m not always readily accepted by blues communities,” she points out. “I like to bend the rules a little bit as far as what blues is, and sometimes I get criticized for that, so it was very vindicating to have such a blues city as Chicago name my CD one of the top 10.”

Another reason why blues purists might eye Kane with suspicion is her racy past. A former stripper, porn queen, and sex-advice columnist, she once collaborated with the late, great Country Dick Montana on a raunchy holiday single titled “Let’s Put the X Back in Xmas”. And then there’s her proclivity for playing piano with her breasts. No doubt ticket sales for Kane’s Thursday (February 20) show at the Yale won’t suffer once word of that gets out.

“It’s easy to get lost in the shadow of the controversy,” she states, “but at the same time I’ve exploited my own legacy to promote the music. And if that’s what makes people come to listen to the music, that’s great; I don’t really care why people are coming. Sometimes they come just to see how big my breasts really are, but I know that they’ll leave with a sound musical experience, so that’s my main focus.”

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