Pop music and the government rarely work as partners, but Orange County rocker Jennifer Corday has found that a common foe has a way of bringing even longtime antagonists together.
Corday has won state grants to get the anti-smoking message of her song "Inhale" into the hands of Orange County students.
She wrote the song after a close friend died of lung cancer, and when she heard the state had money from Proposition 99 to use for promoting anti-smoking messages, she applied and received a grant to duplicate about 4,000 CD singles of "Inhale" for free distribution to junior high and high school students.
She won a second grant for a 30-second anti-smoking public-service announcement, shot recently at Orange High School, using some of the "Inhale" music. The announcement is scheduled to air over the summer on MTV and VH1.
Neither grant was very large, she said, adding that "We're probably losing money in the end because it costs a lot to package them, plus we basically donated all the time it took to go out and give them away, and it took a lot of time to give away 4,000 CDs."
"But this is something I feel strongly about," said Corday, who works as a substitute teacher in the Orange Unified School District when she's not fronting her band, Corday, which opens for Joan Osborne tonight at Anaheim's House of Blues.
"When we perform at the schools," she said, "I always preface the song by talking about how my friend got lung cancer and died last year, and that the album we're working on is in her memory. That usually makes everyone sit up and take notice."
She also said she has a shot at getting through to teens because "The song is not like 'Don't smoke!'--It's kind of poetic."
Besides teaching students nearly any subject--except physical education, because playing music by night makes "mornings a little early for me to be physical"--Corday sometimes gives concerts for assemblies.
"Because I'm a substitute teacher and because we play other material on campuses as well, I've already established a rapport with a lot of kids," she said. "They've seen me sing at The Block [of Orange shopping center], so I wasn't someone new pounding this idea into their heads."
"Inhale" will be on her new album, which she is recording in studios in Orange County and in the San Fernando Valley, and which she hopes will be ready by September.
It also will include "Pie," a saucy track that gained Corday some valuable exposure after it was included last year on MTV's "Undressed" soundtrack.
* Corday opens for Joan Osborne tonight at House of Blues, 1530 S. Disneyland Drive, Anaheim. 8 p.m. $25. (714) 778-2583.
Marc Corey Lee Rides the Web With 'Cowboy'
Speaking of giveaways: O.C. country singer-songwriter Marc Corey Lee is giving away not just a song, but his entire new album through a promotion with the music distribution Web site FightCloud, http://www.fightcloud.com.
Lee's "Stardust Cowboy" album also is being sold in retail and online stores, but he and FightCloud executives believe that the giveaway can give rising artists a break by getting their music to listeners who might not be ready to pay $12 or $15 for a CD by an unknown.
Lee has toured with Merle Haggard, Jo Dee Messina, Dwight Yoakam and Alabama, and headlines periodically in area clubs.
Mark Davis, Rosie Flores a Listening Room Earful
Singer-songwriter Mark Davis, whose 1995 album, "You Came Screaming," was lauded by area music critics, has a new album, "Immaculate," to draw upon when he plays Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Coach House's Listening Room Concert Series, an evening topped by roots-rock singer-songwriter-guitarist Rosie Flores.
Davis will do double duty on Sunday, playing not only a solo set but again as a member of a new band, Everything Divine, that's making its first Orange County appearance.
The group also includes singer-songwriters Brett Perkins, David Zink, Robyn Rosencrantz and Michael Glover. Rosencrantz and Glover add to the communal feel by also playing twice Sunday, in Everything Divine and then during a set with their other band, Bright Blue Gorilla. Information: (949) 496-8930.
Ill Scotty Moore Cancels From Hootenanny 2001
Scotty Moore, the seminal rock guitarist whose work on Elvis Presley's early Sun Records sessions earned him a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has been forced by illness to cancel his appearance Saturday at Hootenanny 2001 in Irvine.
Moore was to play with neo-rockabilly bassist and singer Lee Rocker, and also was to do a trio show with Rocker and British roots-rock guitar great Dave Edmunds on Thursday at the Roxy. The Roxy show has been postponed until Moore, who is 69 and has suffered heart ailments in recent years, is back on his feet.
Rocker will play as scheduled Saturday with another guest. Don't be surprised if Edmunds steps in to help fill the void left by Moore's absence.
This year's bill is headlined by two very different rock veterans: Hall of Famer Chuck Berry and O.C. punk group Social Distortion.