In January, Spencer Brown – who performs as Daisy Buckët at Missie B’s and elsewhere and as Trampolina in The Kinsey Sicks – will begin work in the recording studio on Daisy’s long-awaited CD, called Pansy. We caught up with Brown via email in between performances in Eugene, Oregon, and Cotati, California, with The Kinsey Sicks, known as America’s Favorite Dragapella® Beautyshop Quartet. He found time to answer some questions about the new recording and his recent, frightening car accident in Mexico.
Our community knows you as Daisy Buckët and Trampolina. Do you remember when both personas were born (or adopted, in the case of Trampolina)? Were there ever any other drag entertainer names you used?
Daisy was born out of bar Natasha (now where Affäre restaurant is) in August 2006, and I adopted the role of Trampolina in October 2008. I try to keep my personalities limited between the two unless my schedule coordinates with something fabulous from Late Night Theatre. I was honored to play Sharon Tate as Jennifer North in their one-night production of Valley of the Dolls at the Folly Theater back in September. I also have an annual stint each October as Winifred Sanderson in Hocus, Poke Us! The Staged Reading.
The album is very exciting. Have your cabaret shows in Puerto Vallarta and other cities, including Kansas City, helped develop the songs you chose for the CD?
This album has been toiling away in my mind for the past couple years. Some of the songs I picked two years ago, and as I continued to revisit working on it, I’m thrilled to say that my mind didn’t change much. I’ve had a pretty solid outlook on what I’ve wanted for this album. Only one song was really inspired from touring and being in another city.
What has it been like creating your first CD? I would imagine it is daunting when choosing musicians, the recording studio and of course, the cost.
It’s absolutely daunting. That’s why it’s taken me so long to make it happen! But I’m determined to produce a piece of my work that will last a long time and also showcase a piece of what Kansas City has to offer. It’s very expensive and not likely to net much of a profit, but it’s something that will live on forever and that’s worth something.
Are there other singers on this CD?
Yes, there are! I’m doing a duet on an old Andrews Sisters song with local jazz impresario Molly Hammer. Her and I have known each other for years, and it’s been a dream of mine to record a song with her. She just released her first album, out this last fall  … called Out of This World. I can’t get enough.
I’ve also got The Philistines doing not one, but TWO tracks on the album with me. And I’m absolutely giddy. Cody Wyoming previously worked on the arrangements for my 2009 stage version of The Rose: A Rock Tragedy, and The Philistines are one of the finer indie rock bands out there today. Their last album, The Backbone of Night, is what convinced me to ask them to work with me.
Most of the collaborations on this album are with the fabulous duo of Victor & Penny (Jeff Freling and Erin McGrane). Jeff has made some stunning arrangements on some really classic songs, and the sound is breathtaking –even with Daisy singing on them! They play locally pretty often, but also continue to tour pretty extensively. We’ve got a lot of great Kansas City musicians working on this, and it’s really something I’m proud to put out into the world.
Have you written any of the songs on the album?
The album is mainly covers, but I have written two original songs for this album that have never been performed or heard before – the title track of the album, “Pansy,” and a funk pop tune called “Balls of Brass.”
Your travel schedule this year seems to have doubled, between Daisy’s shows in other cities and your schedule with the Kinsey Sicks. Can we trust that Kansas City will be your home base for a while, or should we expect any changes?
Kansas City’s my home. I don’t expect that to change any time soon. I love getting to tour various cities and countries and tell people where I’m from. But Daisy has been finding her way out and about – this past fall, she was in St. Louis, Connecticut, Puerto Vallarta, and this month is returning to The Duplex in New York City with Justin Van Pelt in Do You Queer What I Queer? A Holigay Cabaret Dec. 19. In fact, he’ll be back in Kansas City in February reviving his role in Hedwig & the Angry Inch!
I know you’re a fan of Uber services. However, you recently experienced an unplanned marriage between your Uber and a taxi in Mexico, resulting in your fractured ribs. How are you doing now? And what was it like having to perform on stage while going through such pain from the car accident?
Yikes! Yes, at the end of October, The Kinsey Sicks had a gig in Pennsylvania, and we were leaving Puerto Vallarta when my Uber was T-boned by a taxi running a red light. I would say that my life flashed before my eyes, but I drink a lot, so there wasn’t much to remember anyway if it did. We had to cancel the first week of shows, but thanks to some incredible Mexican painkillers and a wheelchair being used from another show’s production of The Rocky Horror Show, I was able to do it!
Daisy’s Team Buckët has been one of the most powerful teams in AIDS Walk every year. Do you anticipate being able to participate at your usual levels in 2018?
We’ll see! We’ve been raising money for AIDS Walk for over 10 years now and have raised well over $100,000 for local HIV/AIDS organizations. Last year, I was gone a lot, but that didn’t stop some of my other team leaders from stepping up to the plate to raise money and throw some fabulous events. Genewa Stanwyck is a co-captain of mine, and we’ve already had some discussion about our plans when the kickoff for AIDS Walk 2018 fundraising begins at the end of January. I really want to tap into the younger demographic to make sure that discussions are being had and that even though we live in a world where preventive treatments exist, we don’t forget that there are still people living with HIV/AIDS who need support and that we don’t stigmatize people living with it.
Getting back to the CD, will there be a release party? How can people purchase one, and is there a release date, I believe, in March?
Yes! It will be released in the spring, though I can’t quite say March yet, but that would be the earliest. It will be available through my website (www.missdaisybucketkc.com) and digital download services like iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby. We’re expecting to do a crowdfunding campaign in late January to secure additional funds. Between production, distribution, copyrights, and paying for studio time and musicians, the costs are easily $10,000. If the funds are there, we’ll even have a limited vinyl release. People can sign up on Daisy’s mailing list via her website to get first updates on it or follow her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter @missdaisybucket.
Do you care to acknowledge or talk about anyone instrumental in advising you or inspiring you to create this CD?
The concept of this album didn’t really start to meld until late last year after the election. A lot of the material I’ve pulled has a lot of gay flair and, in fact, a lot of gay history to it and is not shy about it. The title song is about being bullied as a young kid. The Trevor Project [suicide prevention hotline] and Harvey Milk are big inspirations for this work.
The artwork for the album was inspired by another famous Kansas City queen, Jean Harlow, the sex symbol of the 1930s who was dubbed the Blonde Bombshell long before Marilyn Monroe was a household name. Despite having a lot of contemporary elements to the album, it’s knowingly dragged a lot of history with it.
Would you care to tease us with the names of any songs you’ve chosen for the album?
I won’t give too many away, but there’s a cover of Charles Aznavour’s “What Makes a Man” that I think will surprise people and a dirty ditty from the 1950s by Ruth Wallis called “(It’s Been) A Long, Long Time” about a woman lamenting about how her man can’t get it up in bed. There’s a pop song from 2006 that sounds like it should have been sung by Doris Day, a disco dance anthem that will tickle anyone who clubbed in San Francisco in the ’70s and ’80s, and even a cover of Kirsty MacColl’s “They Don’t Know” with The Philistines. And that’s without giving too much away! It’s a roller coaster of an album with lots of highs and lows, just like a Daisy Buckët show.
Will we see any creative work or records from Spencer Brown in addition to Daisy in the future?
I doubt it. Daisy’s the breadwinner in the family, and I’m just happy to butter that bread.