Charity, Church and Puppies

Claira's Daze are the cutest band in Orange County. Why so cute, you ask? They prefer to play charity shows rather than raging house parties. They go to church. Vocalist Katie teaches kindergarten music classes on the side. Drummer Jason and bassist Corey are twins (twins!). They brought a puppy named Little Miss Sunshine to the interview. They're so sweet I think they gave me a cavity.

Aside from the upstanding morals and all-around adorableness, this band is also incredibly talented, especially for teenagers.

All four band members (lead guitarist Adrian couldn't make it) met in high school. Katie was the one who was originally trying to put a band together, but Jason wanted no part of it. "I would always tell her no!" Jason says. "Until I saw her play. Then I was the one asking her!"

Katie's stage presence is both vulnerable and strong, and she sings with an aching clarity. The whole band truly shines onstage. Their recorded tracks are excellent, but oh, my God, the first time I saw them live, I was blown away.

Claira's Daze easily go from folk to upbeat dance songs, which makes the band incredibly entertaining. My favorite Claira's Daze song is "October," a catchy, heart-wrenching, country-twanged melody with the hook "I lost my name in the family tree for you."

The next show on the band's schedule is for the charity Invisible Children. "We play lots of charity shows," Katie says. "We want to give back somehow."

Corey starts laughing and interjects, "We're not making any money, but we still want to give!"

Katie gives me a rundown of the current situation in northern Uganda, which many are calling a civil war. "The Rebel Movement kidnaps children from their homes in the night and brainwashes them to use them as soldiers. . . . About 120 kids are taken every month, one of which gets brutally murdered to set an example to the rest." To avoid such a terrible fate, the children of northern Uganda often leave their homes at night and walk miles to a nearby city where there are "safe" places, like hospitals. In the morning, they walk back to their town to go to school. These children have hopes and dreams of a better situation, and that's where the Invisible Children organization steps in. The money donated goes to improving the current conditions of the schools and to give the children a chance to live a life not completely destroyed by war.

Okay, so the mood of our interview took a sharp turn from fun to sullen, but at least the puppy was still there.



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