Oh Kay, You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do

When the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus tour hits Worcester’s DCU Center tonight and tomorrow … the most talented singer won’t be center stage. She’ll be to the side, her normally straight hair curled up in ringlets. She’s Kay Hanley, once a real life rock star … now providing backing vocals for a fake one. There’s no business like show business folks!

Kay and her band Letters To Cleo burst out of Boston in the early 90’s. Their breakthrough CD “Aurora Gory Alice” produce the excellent single “Here and Now.” That song’s inclusion on the “Melrose Place” soundtrack shot them to short-lived stardom. The follow up, “Wholesale Meats and Fish” only received a tepid response … the single “Awake” being the exception … but that was pretty much it. One minute you’re on Conan O’Brien performing for millions … then you’re back at The Paradise where the faithful try to keep the torch lit.

Kay has spunk, chops, and ‘tude … but she’s a pragmatist. Nobody’s gonna pay the rent for you. She was the singing voice for Rachael Leigh Cook in the “Josie & The Pussycats” movie … she sings the theme song for “My Friends Tigger and Pooh” on the Disney Channel. She grew up in Dorchester and knows the value of a buck. I know and understand all this … but I still hate the fact that she’s doing the Miley Cyrus thing.

Kay can hide her tattoos and take well timed cigarette breaks to please her Disney handlers, but it was to be a drag. Kiss, kiss. Hug, hug. It’s all prefab happiness with the Mouse Mafia. Letters to Cleo took on real issues with real edge … it wasn’t great, but it was true. Or was it? The guy on the drum kit for LTC was Stacy Jones … now he’s the musical director for the lovely Miley. Nice of Jones to bring Kay along on his new adventure … but I hope next time he gets the machine when he calls her. “Kay can’t come to the phone right now, she’s working on her own music.”


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