Archive for the ‘Daisy Chain’ Category

Loud and Proud

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

I dedicate this blog to a group of women who have not forgotten how to dance, sing, and paint the leaves on a tree any color they want! 

I love you Daisy Chain!

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.” ― Martha Graham

“I have no desires, save the desire to express myself in defiance of all the world’s muteness.” 
― Vladimir Nabokov

Saturday night, Daisy Chain blew the roof off Knuckle Heads in San Clemente.  Knuckle Heads is a little biker bar by the sea with a big beating heart.  They loved us.  We loved them.  It was a blast.  But the truly big heart was the band we got to play with, Hurt and the Heart Beat!  They were so much fun.  I want to play with them again and again and again.

The really cool thing about this, I fantasized about being the lead singer in an all girl rock band for years.  Today, I am living it.  Today, I am living the dream of my teenage girl self.  Sometimes I need to pinch myself to make sure it’s all for real.

Daisy Chain with Angela on vocals and Debi on Guitar

Raundi Moore Kondo with Hurt and the Heart Beat

So why did it take me so long to sign up for this?  Why didn’t I put a band together when I was 16, 18, or 20?  The simple and not so proud truth is that I was afraid.  I thought playing in a band was for the highly trained, the talented, the excellent; the musician.  I thought it was for other people.  I thought I wasn’t good enough.

What a bunch of hogwash.  I was good enough.  I am good enough.  Am I perfect?  Hell no!  Is our band going to get signed?  I highly doubt it!  Are we going to put out a platinum album?  Probably not.  But, are we having fun?  Yes!  Are other people having fun?  Absolutely!  Am I happy?  Enormously!

I am happy because I get to dress up in a hot sexy outfits, dance, sweat, and belt out my story to the world.  And, as you all know, I have a story.

After the show. Hot and sweaty with Amy our keyboardist!

Our Goddess Drummer Isis

I have to admit, it takes some courage to get on that stage.  And, it takes courage to tell my story.  And what I have learned over the years, courage doesn’t just happen.  It’s a choice!  And, we all have a choice.  The first time I chose to sing into a microphone, my words were barely audible.  I pulled a Jim Morrison, turning my back to anybody that was watching. It was scary shit.  My heart was racing, my palms were sweating, and that stupid little voice in my head kept saying, “What the hell are you doing Deanne?  Who do you think you are?  Thank my lucky stars I didn’t listen to that little voice because Saturday night would have never happened.

I have heard people say “I don’t have a creative bone in my body.”  Not only is this an absurd statement, it’s a deadly belief.  We are all creative beings; every last one of us.  It is in our nature.  We were each born with the incredible ability to make something out of nothing.  We were each born with the need to express our self.  As Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist.  The problem is staying an artist when you grow up.”

Unfortunately, something happens to many of us as we grow up.  Our creative spirit gets lost along the way somewhere and we forget.  We forget to dance.  We forget to sing.  We forget to color outside of the lines.  As Brene Brown, my favorite author who writes extensively about living a creative life says, ‘it gets shamed out of us.”  God forbid you paint the leaves of a tree pink, purple or black.

If you have forgotten and are unsure of how to truly express yourself, go back to your childhood.  What did you enjoy doing when you were a kid before shame set in, before you didn’t care if you made a fool of yourself, before failing was considered a bad thing and perfectionism was overrated?  Painting perhaps?  Building model planes?  Maybe baking cookies with your mom, singing to Glen Campbell’s Rhinestone Cowboy or dancing to Donny and Marie…”I’m a little bit country, I’m a little bit rock’n roll.  Whatever it was that you enjoyed back then may give you a clue to something you may enjoy today.  If you can’t come up with something, maybe there is an activity or outlet that helps you connect to your childhood; maybe something that helps you “reconnect to the freedom you felt as a child.”  (Brene Brown)

"The Swamp"

Our guest guitarist Dylan sitting in for the lovely Diana!

It is extremely important to find that outlet, to express yourself in a way that helps you reconnect to that freedom, because if you don’t, it will bite you in the ass.  “A wound is like a mouth.”* If you don’t say it, if you don’t sing it, if you don’t write it, paint it, perform it, build it, design it, wear it, or sculpt it, the unused creativity will come out in other forms, and I can assure you, you will not like the way it comes out.  As Sigmund Freud said, “Unexpressed emotions will never die.  They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”  And Brene Brown explains that “unused creativity is not benign–it metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgment, sorrow, shame…”

These days, I spend my life making sure that my creativity gets expressed so that it does not metastasize.  It has been suggested that breast cancer is repressed energy; anger and grief eating away at you from the inside.  That’s why I let it all out now, on stage, in my writing, any form that comes to me. Loud and proud!

I have realized over the years as I have learned to live out-loud, that self expression is highly correlated to joy.  And we are all hungry for joy.  Not only is it a means to freedom, connection to ourselves and to others, it is the reason we are all on this planet as one; to bring a little bit of our quirky little selves to the cacophony of other quirky little selves, resulting in the most amazing of harmonies.  So go ahead.  Show up!  Let yourself be seen!  Say it loud and proud my friends!  Because we are all in this together!

 

** Michael Meade

Daisy Chain – The Magnificent Seven

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

 “Nobody throws me my own guns and says run.  Nobody!”  Britt….The Magnificent Seven

Daisy Chain at Still Water, Dana Point

We may be carrying guitars, drum sticks and mics instead of guns, but we Daisy Chain women are not so different from Yul Brynner and his men in The Magnificent Seven, as we work hard to protect our rights, preserve our way of life and defend our freedom to rock in spite of our crazy busy schedules, umpteen kids, minimal time, and hearing loss!

I love my life but sometimes you have to fight hard to take time for yourself, follow your passions or simply have fun. We may not be fighting bandits from taking over our village, but our kids, hubbies, bosses, even though they love us, will monopolize our lives if we let them.  And, society with all of its expectations of us as women and mothers will swallow us whole if we don’t stay strong, stand our ground, and kick convention in the ass with our sexy high heels from time to time.  

So, for those of you that missed it last year, I am re-posting a blog I wrote, “Music has Charms to Soothe a Savage Breast,” to remind all of you and myself the importance of taking time for ourselves, music and good girlfriends!  It was published in November 2011 on Chris Karr’s website, A Crazy Sexy Life.  I have decided to re-post it here, today, because Daisy Chain not only continues to be an integral part of my life, our band is growing bigger and better every day (just like me).  Not only is the beautiful and talented Angela now singing with us but our Goddess and bad ass drummer Isis is back, lovelier and badder than ever.  

Like the magnificent seven, Debi, Raundi, Amy, Diana, Isis, Angela and myself  will continue to rock the boat, rock the ages and rock the summer with our Daisy Chain Tour!  And, you are all invited!  Our first stop: 

Orange County High School of the Arts Commercial Music End of the Year Party

Saturday, June 1st

The Gas Lamp, Long Beach

Doors open at 1:00 pm

 

Quin Murphy Foundation Silent Auction and Celebration

Saturday, June 8th

85 F St. Chula Vista, CA 91910

Starts at 1:00 pm

 

The San Diego Luna Chix Cycling Team Fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Fund

Featuring The Mammary Chronicles and Daisy Chain

Saturday, August 10th

The Bamboo Lounge, Hillcrest, CA

Starts at 6:00 pm

 

Pondwater

Saturday, September 7th

4:00 pm

I hope to see some of your happy shiny faces at our shows.  Send me a message if you need any more info about Daisy Chain, The Mammary Chronicles or if you would like to book a show!

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Music Has Charms to Soothe a Savage Breast

First published on Crazy, Sexy Life November 2011

 

 “Mommmmmmmm, the police are here again! The neighbor is complaining and wants you to stop the music!”

Stop the music? That’s like asking Kris Carr to stop juicing! It’s blasphemy.

Four years ago, six of us crazy sexy forty-something suburban housewives went out on a limb, bucked convention, defied stereotypes and started our own rock ’n’ roll band. There was only one glitch. Not one of us could play an instrument. But that didn’t stop us. We bought guitars and a bass, replaced the couch and coffee table in the living room with drums, amps and a PA system, and hired Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin’s very talented and handsome doppelganger to teach us how to play.

Twice a week, we left the dishes and laundry behind, stealing a few precious moments away from our kids, husbands, “shoulds and ought to’s” to follow our soul and play some rock ’n’ roll. We practiced until we had blisters on top of blisters and that up-up-down-up pattern was ingrained in our brains. Our kids and hubbies thought we were nuts, but I know in my heart they loved our crazy sexy guts.  

I am the one with the smile on my face in the picture above. Oh, wait, we are all smiling. That’s because we are having so much effing fun. I literally feel my endorphins kick in, the negativity leave my body and a sense of all is right with the world when belting out Blondie, KT Tunstall or Joan Jett. “I love rock ’n’ roll. Put another dime in the jukebox baby!”

In fact, not only does it bring me a sense of well-being and peace, I am certain that it has helped me stay sane in the midst of much insanity over these last few years, saving me thousands of dollars in therapy bills. Between the six of us, we could keep a psychologist employed full time trying to make sense of all the crap we have been dealt during our mid-life: financial difficulties, marital stress, parenting issues, job loss and cancer. But, rocking out with our band helps us keep perspective and stay strong.  

It has been proven that music, whether playing it or listening to it, can help heal the body, relieve depression, accelerate the healing process, boost the immune system and lift ones spirits. William Congreve, a playwright from the 17th century brilliantly understood this as well. He wrote, “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast.” Funny, but I always thought this quote was “to soothe a savage beast.” Apparently it gets misquoted often. But just my luck, it is perfect for this blog. Sir Congreve was right. Music certainly helped sooth my savage breast. 

Ten months ago, I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. After the initial shock, I refused to feel sorry for myself. I pulled myself up by my sexy bootstraps and got to work. I guzzled green juice, worked out at the gym, partook in dry rubs and daikon leaf baths, ate whole grains and huge organic salads, and took my omega-3s and vitamin D. And, last but not least, I kept on rock’n.  

The docs cut off my breast and the chemo took my hair, but the cancer did not take my spirit. When I was feeling down and out, our band gave me a reason to pick myself up, brush myself off and get my butt to practice. Next to veggies, rocking out with my girlfriends is the best medicine in the world. Like Bob Marley said, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain,” although that may have been the ganja.  

According to Dr. Mike Miller, “Music gives us an overall feeling of good, well-being, a sense of euphoria in some cases … and may be one of the best de-stressors, either by playing or even listening to it.” He used high-tech imaging to measure the size of blood vessels while people listened to music. Not surprisingly, he found that “the inner lining of the blood vessel relaxed, opened up and produced chemicals that are protective to the heart.” That’s some powerful stuff. If music can do that for the heart, imagine what it can do for the soul. Plato once said, “Rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.” 

Music surely found mine.  

By the way, we call ourselves Daisy Chain. We liked the name because it represents women connected to each other through music. (It also has something to do with multiple female participants, but that is for another site.) Little did we know when we chose the name that daisies were widely used in homeopathic remedies. During the 15th century, it was believed that drinking crushed daisies infused with wine could cure insanity. So does a night rocking out with six beautiful strong women and a bottle or three of organic Pinot Noir.  

Some moms like to shop, we like to rock. Some plan play dates, we book show dates. Some go to the spa, we bring the law. Some play “Farmville,” we play “Margaritaville.” Some believe we are disturbing the peace, we believe it brings us peace. Our band is living proof: In the midst of adversity, annoyed neighbors and cancer, we have found a creative connection to each other and to our own souls playing rock ’n’ roll.  

We recently performed at our biggest show ever, “Cocktails for a Cure,” in honor of both breast cancer awareness month and six women who refused to let anything stop them!  

The damn dishes can wait; my rock ’n’ roll soul is calling.

 

“Take Off” the Sweat Pants

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Sleep is a big tease these days.  I fantasize about it but can’t quite get it in my grasp.  Watching late night television at the time only vampires and security guards are awake, I was thinking about a woman’s post I read on a breast cancer forum recently.  She said that the most she expected of herself each day during her chemo treatment is to take a shower, get into her sweats, curl up on the couch and watch “Desperate Housewives”.  She considered that a good day. 

The Desperate Housewives are not wearing Sweats!

As I was channel surfing, thinking about this woman and vowing not to end up on the couch all day every day during my chemo treatment (but secretly worrying this could happen to me), a Delta Airlines Commercial caught my attention.  I was captivated by the voice and tone of the narrator, as if he were personally talking to me.  The commercial shows a plane taking off from the runway, as an entrancing voice says, “The thing you push against is the thing that lifts you up.”  Wow!  I thought to myself as I ran to find my notebook and pen frantically writing it down before my chemo brain absorbed it into oblivion.  Not only is it a simple law of physics based on Newton’s laws of motion, there is such truth and humanness in this simple but profound statement, I knew at that moment I had been transformed yet again.  The Universe is now reaching out to me through a Delta Airlines commercial.   

What brilliant marketing, “The thing you push against is the thing that lifts you up.”  In the case of an airplane wing, the wing exerts a downward force on the air and the air exerts an upward force on the wing.  You have take-off.  In the case of my battle with cancer and my current chemo treatment, my body exerts a downward force on my mind and spirit and my mind and spirit exert an upward force on my body.  You have healing.

There is an incredible mind body connection that we are just beginning to understand.  Our thoughts and feelings can positively or negatively influence our bodies.  As Lawrencw LeShan, Ph.D. and father of mind-body therapy states, “Feelings affect body chemistry (which affects the development or regression of a tumor), just as body chemistry affects feelings.”  We all know that when we are stressed or anxious about something, we experience physical symptoms such as muscles tightening, upset stomach, headaches, sleeplessness, back pain, pain in chest, shortness of breath, pounding or racing heart, and sweaty palms.  Every one of us has experienced most of these symptoms at one time or another.  This stress will eventually wear our immune system down and we will get sick.  Research shows that when one is diagnosed with an illness, it is important to minimize these negative effects so that the healthy, healing aspects of our mind-body connections are maximized. 

How do I minimize negative effects while faced with cancer and undergoing chemo treatment?  By not choosing to watch T.V. all day in my sweats like the woman in the forum!  I know myself and I would definitely slip into a state of depression as I slipped into my sweats.  Depression sucks all the energy, optimism and joy out of life.  Visiting the dismal swamplands of sadness and despair does not seem like the best way to kick cancer’s ass.  And of course, studies show that I am right.  Tumors shrink, cancer’s go into remission if not cured and a patient’s life prolonged when one has a positive optimistic outlook on life. 

I admit chemo has not been easy so far.  Hours spent at the doctor’s office attached to an IV, sore tingly legs and feet, a cloud like feeling in my brain, debilitating  fatigue, fever, chills, muscle and bone pain, no appetite, horrible mouth sores, a disgusting metallic taste in my mouth, and extra saliva that makes me want to carry a spittoon with me at all times.  There have literally been moments when I had only enough strength for my legs to carry me up the stairs and into bed.  Symptoms vary from day to day.  And, as I get further into the process, symptoms will intensify due to the cumulative effects of the drugs.  Knowing all of this is very trying.  My newest challenge this weekend is watching my hair begin to fall out in clumps.  It’s in my brush, in the kitchen and bathroom sinks, on my clothes, on my man and pillow, you name it, traces of my DNA are everywhere.  How does one not give up and slip into her sweats?    

I get angry.  When depression, lack of energy and pessimism begin to push hard, I push back.  Anger you might ask?  Here is a quote from a letter written by Maestro Lorenzo Sassoli, a physician to a patient in 1402:

….let me speak to you regarding things of which you must most beware.  To get angry and shout at times pleases me, for this will keep up your normal heat; but what displeases me is your being grieved and taking matters to heart.  For it is this, as the whole of physics teaches, which destroys our body more than any other cause.

Yes, there are many reasons to be angry about cancer and let’s face it life in general.  And, since depression is anger turned inwards, it seems logical to assume that to avoid depression it might be a good idea to turn that anger outward.  Of course, it needs to be kept in check and does not mean letting anger run amuck.  No plans of going postal.  Instead, I have found that anger coupled with a splash of frustration and flavored with a bit of optimism can be an incredible positive driving force, just the push I need to help me get back on my feet, face my problems head on and keep me going in the face of pain, exhaustion and hair loss.  This is when I take-off, where I have lift-off, and I am certain when healing occurs. 

Debi, guitarist, up front and center

Yesterday, I mustered enough energy for band practice with Daisy Chain.  During practice, I lost a big clump of my hair, the biggest so far.  Thank goodness my girlfriends were with me at the time.  My friend Debi suggested I take my hair outside and donate it to the birds to build their nests.  Birds build the most beautiful intricate nests with all types of materials including human hair.  Debi’s idea was just what the doctor ordered.  It brought tears to my eyes and felt so right.  What a perfectly creative approach to help me cope with my hair loss, turn a negative into a positive and stay on the road to healing.

Every day, whether I feel like it or not, I put on my sexy jeans, a cute top, make-up and heels (ok sometimes my comfy Ugg boots) and go back to work, business as usual.  Morning walks, carpool, shopping and an occasional band practice fill my days.  Yes, I feel yucky, tired, sore, and sometimes I simply have to find a place to sit down or lie down for a minute to catch my breath, but I refuse to stay in my sweats and get stuck in the swamplands.  When my body pushes, I push back.  Learning to convert my anger and frustration into positive energy gives me just the push I need to help lift my body, mind and spirit from the dismal swamplands of despair to the clear open blue skies.  On the way to school the other day, Maggie said to me, “Mom, sometimes I forget you have breast cancer, life seems normal.”  Then she added, “Well, normal for the Browns.”  I have take-off!

“I Can Sleep When I’m Dead”

Monday, September 27th, 2010

I was driving carpool this morning like I do every Monday morning now that Casey is in school, and I asked the girls in the carpool if they had a nice weekend.  One of the girls replied, “I did absolutely nothing”.  Nothing, I thought, absolutely nothing?  How is that possible I deliberated, as I was driving up the I5 freeway at seven in the morning still trying to recuperate from my crazy busy weekend? 

It all began Friday evening with Casey’s 15th birthday bash.  After making a decadent chocolate chip mint brownie ice cream dessert, preparing a yummy barbecue dinner, and clearing all the furniture for a dance floor, twenty teenage kids showed up and were dancing, grinding, jumping and singing “Poker Face”, “Dynamite” and “Shots!” into the wee hours of the night. 

Saturday morning came, I went for my run, the rest of the kids from the party were picked up and we hurriedly cleaned up the mess and got ready for a realtor to bring a prospective buyer to see our home.  Yes, our house is up for sale.  We had to leave for a bit while the possible future owners checked out the place.  We used the time to run a few errands;  the pet store for mice for our hungry California King Snake, Pep Boys for a tail light for the Jetta,  then off to Maggie’s soccer game in 100 degree weather.  We were under time constraints because our bands, “Disturbing the Peace” and “Maggie and the Maggots” were asked to perform at Gary’s 50th birthday bash that evening.  This means packing up all our guitars, drums, PA system, setting up at the venue, performing, breaking down, blah, blah, blah.  It’s a huge job.  I finally crawled into bed after midnight exhausted only to wake to another crazy day. 

Sunday was our friends Bar Mitzvah, Riley and Casey’s basketball game, soccer pictures for Maggie and another birthday party on the beach.  I passed on this one and did some laundry and sent Kevin off with a “honey do” list.  Whew!  I will stop here.  It’s exhausting rehashing it all. 

I hope it does not sound like I am complaining. I’m not, although I admit that I get tired and a bit overwhelmed at times.   I think I am simply surprised (OK, I admit it, I am shocked) that an entire weekend can go by without doing anything.  I realize that our carpool friend has been in school all week.  She is a busy girl.  School does not get out until 4:50 at OCSHA and she has homework in the evening.  She deserves some time off.  The parents both work so they also probably need a rest.  I get it!

I was just wondering why my days seem to be so full.  Then I laugh at myself and realize this is a silly question coming from the “Yes Mom”, since my goal is to experience as much as I can in this life before I die.  Sometimes I wonder if I should say “no” a little more often.  But then I realize that if I said “no”, there would be no decadent cake for Casey’s birthday bash and Maggie would have never made that great assist in her soccer game.  I would never get to experience feeding a snake first hand or watch Casey make 10 points in a game.  I would have never had a chance to see my daughter sing on stage with her two big brothers playing bass and drums or heard Gary’s incredible speech about following your dreams as he introduced our band right before our performance at his 50th birthday party.  So, I have concluded that I will continue to say “yes” and remember what a friend of mine, Bob De Pauli said years ago, “I can sleep when I am dead”.  He died way too young, before his 30th birthday.  Rest in Peace Bob.

Disturbing the Peace

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

The police have come to my house so many times I have lost count.  They came again the other day.  Why?  Our band was practicing and one of my neighbors complained about the noise.  Apparently we were disturbing the peace.  All of my other neighbors love our band.  In fact, some have asked me to keep the garage door open so they could hear us play.  But this one particular neighbor does not appreciate us.  She doesn’t seem to hear the music.  It is just noise to her.  She is that person Megan Fox is referring to on her tattoo, “Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.”

I have chosen to dance and so have my fellow band mates, Raundi, Isis, Diana, Amy and Debi. 

The police seem to get a kick out of us.  Once they see who we are, they laugh and shake their head.  Sometimes they even stay to listen.  I suppose they expected a bunch of young gnarly pot smoking teenagers rocking out in the garage, not six women all over the age of 40 wearing high heels, guitars and ear plugs.  I suspect we are an anomaly of sort.  A bit strange, definitely unique, absolutely a deviation from what one would expect. 

I’m used to it, living life on the fringe, stretching the limit, “Disturbing the Peace”, hence the name of our band. 

How did this all get started?  Several years ago, a group of my friends decided it would be a blast to put a rock band together.  We wanted to rock out and share our passion with the world, or at least Orange County.   Our kids were our inspiration.  Most of our kids were already playing in a band.  We thought if they could do it, we surely could do it.        

There was only one glitch.  Not one of us could play an instrument.  In fact, most of us did not even own an instrument.  We were not the only band in history that went into it backwards.  U2 did it.  The Go Go’s did it.  We believed we could do it too.  We had passion, the desire to try something new, and we were willing to make complete idiots of ourselves, a definite recipe for success (or at least some fun).

Soon, we found ourselves practicing a couple of times a week in my garage.  We hired our own Jack Black, a young talented musician (and eye candy to boot) to teach us.  I practiced every day until my fingers turned to blisters and the blisters turned to calluses.

Now I am the lead singer by default.  Secretly, I always wanted to be a singer but was scared to death.  When the opportunity arose, I said “yes” of course.  What else would you expect from the Yes Mom?  When I first attempted to sing into a microphone, I pulled a Jim Morrison.  I literally had to turn my back to the crowd.  Now, I never want to get off stage.  It is one of my happy places.

I have a magnet on my refrigerator that reads music is the language of the soul.  I bought it at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.  It’s an amazing place.  There are exhibits of instruments and music videos from countries all over the world.  As you walk around, you see all kinds of people playing music, men, women, children, white, black, purple, young and old.  That is the beauty of music.  It is for everyone that chooses to dance! We are living proof!