Flor Bromley Keeps the ‘Fiesta’ Going in 2021 with New Music and an Earthy Vibe

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

Children’s music artist Flor Bromley loves blending so many genres of music that it’s hard to describe her sound. It’s jazzy, with a touch of island calypso, a dash of pop, and a folksy vibe. 

But we can all agree it’s pure, universal sonic happiness, even when the rest of the world is crumbling. Flashback to just one year ago, when, in the midst of the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, the Peruvian-born artist released her album Fiesta Global, and the catchy single ‘Fiesta de los Globos.’ It brought much-needed mirth to the long, drawn-out homeschooling days.

Flor Bromley (Photo by Carmen Stevens)

[RELATED: Bilingual Music Mama Flor Bromley Brings Virtual ‘Fiesta’ into Your Home]

“Musically, I want to share the Latino-American experience through my songs with a new generation,” Flor tells Rockmommy

So what’s next for 2021? We recently caught up with Flor to find out. 

Rockmommy: What were the biggest challenges you encountered in the last 12 months?

Flor Bromley: Finding a time to create and allow the process to “just be” has been challenging. I also teach music classes and do live concert shows virtually, and even though the tech aspect has been manageable, Internet connections are not the most reliable. I’ve had a couple of ‘live online’ shows that have been interrupted, and I had to scramble my things and go to my neighbors or do the streaming from my car. I will never forget what 2020 has made me do lol. 

Flor Bromley (photo by Sightseer Studio)

Rockmommy: How did 2020 influence your music and creative process? 

Flor Bromley: I dared to release an album in 2020. I’m really proud of what we were able to do with Fiesta Global, even in a pandemic year, thanks to Waldmania PR. The album was given great publicity and is on several “Best of 2020” lists by kindie bloggers/publications, and my virtual show “Fiesta with Flor” was mentioned on the grammy.com list of music shows to watch during quarantine. 

Rockmommy: Any recent or upcoming projects you’d like to share? 

Flor Bromley: I’m releasing my third family album in late Summer 2021. This one is a dual language album (English/Spanish) and will be called “Pachamama” which means Mother Earth in Quechua, the language of my ancestors. This album has a lot of Peruvian influences, in sound and themes. It’s a Peruvian music mash-up, where I bring elements from my culture and mix them up with Hip-Hop, Pop, Bachata, Country, Tango, and more. The theme of the album has to do with valuing nature and taking care of our planet. If there is anything this past year has shown us is that we have no planet B and we need to appreciate all of the little (and big things) Mother Nature gives us everyday.

Rockmommy: What advice do you have on balancing parenthood with creative life? 

Flor Bromley: Every day find a time for yourself to do something you really like by yourself. It could be listening to song in your car and singing while you go grocery shopping, eating a piece of chocolate by yourself without having to share with the littles, running, reading, watching a TV show.

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy

Tracy Bonham’s New Children’s Record, ‘Young Maestros Vol. 1’ Explores Music, Movement and More

by Marisa Torrieri 

Singer-songwriter Tracy Bonham gained international fame for her iconic ’90s rock song “Mother Mother” — the post-grunge-era anthem for so many young adults getting their first taste of the real world. Fast forward to 2021, and Bonham’s now a mother herself (of a 10-year-old son), navigating the daily struggle of work-life balance and channeling her expansive musical talent into new projects. 

Tracy Bonham (photo by Shervin Lainez)

This month, the singer-slash-guitarist-slash-violin player debuts her very first children’s album, with Melodeon Music House: Young Maestros Vol. 1, an energetic 11-song record for kids of all ages. It’s available now on all media platforms (iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, etc.), and CD. 

Bonham fans — including older millennials and Gen X’ers of all ages who fell for her soaring vocals and angst-ridden rock in the pre-aughts — will be delighted to share this set of super-fun, danceable songs that highlight musical concepts the whole family can appreciate. The first single, “Me Symphony,” is my favorite so far, with its fun animation, big band vibe, and rhymes that linger in the listener’s mind, hours later: “I lost my tuba in Aruba/I lost my piano in Indiana.” 

Tracy Bonham and Melodeon Music House ‘Me Symphony’

My kids love the joyful, silly ‘Let’s Take The Subway,’ which might be the only song I’ve heard that cheerfully name-drops the NYC C Train, B Train, and the elusive G train (which I’ve still never managed to catch). 

We recently caught up with Bonham to find out what’s next: 

Rockmommy: Hi Tracy! How did ‘Young Maestros’ record come about?

Tracy Bonham: Everyone was forced to stop during the pandemic. I don’t like being told what to do so I was pretty mad at the world. I would say F**k COVID to myself… often. During this time my bassist and collaborator, Rene, and I were figuring out how to create a business plan for my music education music curriculum and remote classes. I had been teaching my original curriculum at the Brooklyn Preschool of Science for a number of years, and little did I know it would become a laboratory for this new endeavor! 

In October, I had an incredibly uplifting conversation with my manager, Patrice Fehlen, where we decided that we would jump head-first into releasing an album of my music education songs.These songs had been laying around for years and thankfully they had already been recorded and mixed a few years prior with my dear friend and founder of Gowanus Music Club, Josh Margolis. Josh is a musician, a teacher, a business owner and another music enthusiast / music theory nerd. We recorded and mixed these songs over the course of six years knowing that someday it would become something really cool. However, my career as a singer-songwriter, and being a parent, would always kick the project to the back burner. Once Patrice and I put it out into the universe, that early October day, the whole thing started to take shape. Rene became my business partner and we started creating Melodeon Music House with the first album release, and accompanying music education program, called Young Maestros Vol. 1, slated for release on April 16, 2021.

Rockmommy: The video for ‘Me Symphony’ is so fun, and all the songs on this record are so great! Did you ever think you’d make a children’s album/family record in your pre-parenting days? Is it wild to think about that? 

Tracy Bonham: It is totally wild to think about. I have never been one to follow trends and I probably would balk if someone told me (pre-parenting) that I would follow the ranks of artists who make children’s albums after they become parents. When I started writing these songs, they were meant to be teaching tools.

Rockmommy: So my rock band Trashing Violet covers “Mother Mother.” It’s one of my favorites. Is it a blessing or a burden to have one iconic song because you have so much other great music?  

Tracy Bonham: I would rather have one iconic song than no iconic song! Thank you for saying that about my other songs, but if they didn’t have ‘Mother Mother’ as the beacon, they might not have reached so many people. That song was iconic because it touched a universal nerve. Pretty much everyone can relate to it in some way. I don’t think I nailed that kind of transparency and universality with any of my other songs. 

Rockmommy: What are you most hopeful for in 2021?

Tracy Bonham: I am really hopeful the vaccine will give people their lives back. I hope the people of the world can heal and rise out of this pandemic in a more thoughtful and mindful way. I especially hope that in 2021, the United States and all of its inhabitants, from whatever political affiliation, can heal in a psychic way. The patriarchal system is being challenged and I am so excited to experience the age of femininity taking shape. 

Rockmommy: What is your advice on balancing parenting and creative life?

Tracy Bonham: My advice to any creatives out there who are new to parenting — do not freak out thinking you will get writers block or lose your creativity. First of all, you have just done the most creative thing there is to do in the history of creation! You have created a family. 

For both men and women, your creativity is on fire! It is what you do with it from this day forward that matters. Whether it is creating a loving environment and an inspiring relationship for the child to thrive in, or whether it is taking care of your individual muse by creating loving boundaries for your art to cultivate on it’s own, these things you CAN do and will do if you believe you can. Of course, it is incredibly hard to find the time and energy when you are a parent of a young child. But what I found was that creativity FOUND me as long as I stayed open to it. 

I would be changing a diaper, singing to my son, and a new melody would come out of my mouth. Of course, I would be singing the word “diaper, diaper baby, diaper, diaper baby” but I was creating a future melody for a future song. I always kept my iPhone nearby so that I could hit record on the voice memo app and save the fleeting but inspired moment for when I had a half hour to myself (yes, that is possible) to go back and listen and create something out of it. I guess what I am saying is, please don’t think creativity goes out the window just because you have a new focus. Remain open to possibility. It may come in different forms. But creativity will always be available for you if you are available for it. 

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the founder and editor of Rockmommy. 

Cyndi Dawson of NYC Band The Cynz Talks Rock, Poetry and Supporting the Music Scene

The first time I listen to NYC band The Cynz, I’m in rock n’ roll heaven. Frontwoman Cyndi Dawson’s aggressive, low vocals soar over layers of delicious, distorted guitars, bass and drums. It’s fierce, it’s intense, and suddenly I’m fired up! Ready to go! Let’s do this.

Then I remember that we’re in a pandemic. And damn. It’ll be a while before I get to bathe in the manic fury of loud, live rock n’ roll in the city. None of us do. But hopefully, God willing, soon. 

Cyndi Dawson (photo by Alan Rand)

Until then, we can only dream. 

Recently, our friend and fellow rockmommy Rew Starr interviewed Ms. Dawson, on what’s next for the author of Outside Girl (Poets Wear Prada Press)— and what we can expect in the post-pandemic future. — MTB

Rew Starr: How’s it going? What have you been doing these days?

Cyndi Dawson: It’s been a tough year as you know. Trying to save a business, keep a band together — between no gigs and some personal stuff going on with various band members) has been a creative equation we are continually trying to resolve. We are writing new songs, recorded some early on and trying to help others with fundraising events. 

Rew Starr: I know you are the Queen of decorations, how long does it take to put them all up? Put them all away? What’s the next one?

Cyndi Dawson: It takes me a full week of working every day for hours to put it all up and probably the same to take it all down. That’s not even counting the outside decorations. I kind of am over it by New Years so basically I decorate September until January.  


Rew Starr: What are your kids up to these days? 

Cyndi Dawson: I have one human daughter, who is on her own already, a Yorkichon named Bowie and a litter of three once feral cats I took as a unit — two boys (Bob and Bree) and a girl (Puck, who was named Puck because I thought she was a boy. Now I call her MISS Puck!) 


Rew Starr: Your daughter is beyond gorgeous inside and out. What do you see of you and what do you see that’s all her?

Cyndi Dawson: She’s artsy and creative — more so than me — and she’s very musical. She plays several instruments which I could never figure out. My brain cannot comprehend notes and stringed things. I’m rhythmic so I’m a good dancer; I feel music in terms of beats. She is great at yoga which is way too slow for me. Her sense of humor reminds me of me but her sarcastic bent is my mother all the way. 

Rew Starr: I remember the first  time it hit me you looked exactly like [Barbara Eden of] I DREAM OF JEANNIE. How long have  you been hearing that?

Cyndi Dawson: Probably since I was 18! 


Rew Starr: I know  gymnastics, dance, acting and poetry came first, so how did it all begin and what led you to being a ROCKSTAR?

Cyndi Dawson: My first band was when I was 17 — an all-girl band with great backing and management waiting for us. Great concept — Kamikaze Kitty and the Attack Kats and all the songs were based on mysticism and Kitty vibes. Unfortunately it didn’t last because of our key members moved back to the South. How I ended up a front woman SINGING is solely due to Henry. I’ve always fronted s band doing poetry. Henry said I should sing. I thought he was nuts. 


Rew Starr: We met when you came to ‘ReW & WhO?’ and it was all kizmit from the start, do you follow a spiritual path?

Cyndi Dawson: I do. Probably a mix of several things I’ve delved into over the years, probably more Wiccan-based than anything. 


Rew Starr: You also are a bar owner. That must be a giant challenge these days. How can people support your bar? 

Cyndi Dawson: Drinking in the bar supports the bar, there really is nothing more complicated to offer, lol! But that is complicated in Covid times. We’ve implemented all the safety mechanisms so it’s a matter of people’s comfort levels whether or not they feel safe in a bar or restaurant. We also built a beautiful beer garden with heaters, which is great when it’s not absurdly cold out. 

Rew Starr: Are you making any new music?

Cyndi Dawson: We recorded and released two new singles this summer which got great airplay. Pretty happy about that. We are also working on finishing other songs we recorded, recording more new ones we’ve started rehearsing and releasing a ‘best of with bonus new tracks’ to be distributed in Europe and the USA.  


Rew Starr: What about playing out? Have there been opportunities?

Cyndi Dawson: Early on [in the pandemic] I did the Thunder’s tribute for Steve Krebs at Bowery Electric but that was with Jesse Malin’s band. Then The Cynz did a fundraising gig for The Brighton Bar in Long Branch. Last week Henry and I did an acoustic set on Facebook Live for Outlaw Renegade Radio to help them out. Just trying to support radio and venues that support bands! 

Rew Starr: Tell us something we don’t know about you?

Cyndi Dawson: Oh boy! I’m such an open book online! As a poet I reveal a lot and I’m also a diarist. So I reveal so much. There is a reason I don’t reveal certain things but what I want people to know about me is pretty much out there. I’m a survivor — I also am easily hurt and I have a hard time with rejection or what I perceive to be rejection. I’m not as tough as I try to appear. 


Rew Starr: What’s the greatest part about being a rockmommy?

Cyndi Dawson: I think I instilled a love for music in my daughter. I also hope she gets that life in the arts doesn’t need to end because you aren’t in your twenties or you are a mom. 

Rew Starr is an actor and musician who lives in New York City

Elena Moon Park’s ‘Reimagined’ Folk, Inspired by East and Southeast Asian Classics, Offers the Springtime Songs We All Need

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

Elena Moon Park describes her music as reimagined folk and children’s music from around the globe — with an emphasis on East and Southeast Asia — but I’d also call it joyful, whimsical, and inspiring. 

After watching the video for “Flower Dance,” directed and animated by Andrew Benincasa, I felt the urge to step outside and twirl in the sunlight. I literally said to myself, “I can’t wait until my kids get home from school so I can show them this!” 

Elena Moon Park (Photo by Alexia Webster)

And as I navigated Park’s impressive video library, it became clear that this Spring-friendly song is just one of many jubilant tunes and impressive accomplishments. 

A freelance violist who calls Brooklyn, N.Y., home, Park has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and in other countries — including the Southbank Centre and the Melbourne International Arts Festival. When she’s not creating music, she’s the co-Artistic Director of the Brooklyn-based arts organization Found Sound Nation, which uses collaborative music creation to connect people across cultural divides.

“I love to learn and sing songs in different languages, and to incorporate a lot of different kinds of instruments and musical traditions into the song choices,” Park tells Rockmommy. All of the music I create is driven first and foremost by my love of collaboration, with musicians, visual artists, friends and family who I admire.”

We caught up with Elena recently to talk about life, artistic expression, and making “unhurried” music during uncertain times.

Rockmommy: What were some of the biggest challenges of creating music over the last year? 

Elena Moon Park: Like many moments in life, I think the biggest challenges in the last 12 months also revealed some big opportunities for me. Of course, we’ve communally faced a tremendous challenge, perhaps the greatest global challenge of our lifetimes; but hopefully in that process, we were given some opportunity to be able to reflect and focus on the things that are most important to us, whatever those things may be. 

Facing big challenges can remind us what we value most in our lives. And in particular, this challenge to stay in one place and to slow down, as many of us experienced this year, gave me an opportunity to reflect. I feel incredibly fortunate that I was able to safely work from home and have this opportunity of time — as I know not everyone did — and I am also incredibly grateful for those who have had to move into higher gear to keep us all safe or to keep themselves or their families afloat. I have spent a lot of time in this past year connecting or reconnecting with family and friends, and connecting with the natural world around me, and that has kept me grounded. 

Elena Moon Park

Rockmommy: How did the past 12 months influence your music and creative process? 

Elena Moon Park: For several months starting in March 2020, I took slow walks around my neighborhood in Brooklyn, closely watching the trees and flowers bloom in the springtime, blossom and wilt in the summer, and change into vibrant colors in the fall. I don’t think I’ve ever paid such close attention to these things in this busy, fast-paced NYC world, and, as I mentioned above, it left me feeling very grounded and meditative. During that same time, I was gearing up to release a new family music album, aptly titled “Unhurried Journey” — dedicated to taking a deep breath and slowing down. The album ended up coming out alongside another major shift in energy, just as the resurgence of protests for racial justice hit the streets across the nation, so the Unhurried Journey message was not quite fitting for that moment — although I do believe that the communal slowing down played a key role in bringing much-needed nationwide attention to the movement and to the message.

But in the months leading up to its release, I ended up making 15 lyric videos for each of the 15 songs, inspired by the beautiful artwork of my collaborator Kristiana Parn and by these meditative walks I was taking every day around my neighborhood. The videos still make me think back to that time, and I am so thankful for those moments.

Rockmommy: What are you most hopeful for in 2021? 

Elena Moon Park: I hope that we (or I) can keep remembering to reflect on what is important, to be present in the moment, especially in our time spent with loved ones, and to appreciate and respect the natural world around us. I hope we will also find ways to support one another as we continue this communal struggle, and to support positive change, guided by radical compassion, listening and love for the people and things around us.  

Rockmommy: Any recent or upcoming projects you’d like to share? 

Elena Moon Park: It’s similarly challenging to plan for any projects these days, but I am having a lovely time daydreaming of what it could be like to turn my Unhurried Journey album into a storybook of some kind. I also look forward to creating more music or music videos with artistic collaborators, if and when the time is right.

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy. 

Richard Demko on Challenges, Changes and Keeping Connecticut’s Live Music Scene Thriving

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom 

If anyone my local music scene in Southern Connecticut is deserving of the ‘jack of all trades’ designation, it’s Richard Demko, longtime multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, promoter and more. He has an ear for talent and a knack for making things happen. He’s a dad, too, which is awesome. 

I had the honor of meeting Demko — a.k.a., ‘Rick’ — in early 2020 at Café Nine in New Haven, through a mutual friend who invited him to see my band Trashing Violet play its third-ever gig. But although his reputation as a superstar engineer and founder of independent label NeuroTronix Records made me feel a little intimidated, his easygoing, engaged personality immediately put me at ease. 

For Demko, a man who is still busy juggling family life, with pressures to create, support and promote in spite of Covid-related restrictions, a pandemic silver lining was a surge of creativity. In early March 2021, Demko released his first orchestral single “Through Time and Space” (available on iTunesSpotify and Amazon), and is organizing as many outdoor shows as possible so his musician peers can play again. 

We recently caught up with Demko to chat about new music, summer plans, parenting and more. 

Richard Demko, of NeuroTronix Records, hard at work at Horizon Studio.


Rockmommy: What were the biggest challenges you encountered in the last 12 months?

Richard Demko: My biggest challenges in the past 12 months have been juggling writing, producing, promoting and all the label obligations I have with my whole household being home due to distance learning and working. 

It’s also been a challenge promoting albums because live music is a big part of getting music out there. With no live music, I’ve had to be creative on how we promote releases and singles. There is no script to what has had to occur to try and keep everyone out there and moving. 

I have a lot of sympathy for working musicians and venue owners who have been hit very hard this year. I’ve been lucky because I’m blessed to have great clients who have sent me lots of remote mixing work, writing and session work, and some decent album promotional campaigns. Because if that, I make it a point to try and give back to organizations and places that are supporting local working musicians and various venue relief efforts as much as I can. 

Rockmommy: How did 2020 influence your music and creative process? 


Richard Demko: 2020 has had a big influence on my solo writing, as I’ve written a few pandemic-themed songs, including a Christmas tune released exclusively for the 2020 holiday season called “Merry Christmas From a Distance.” I’ve also written a few songs for sync licensing that pertain to certain aspects of the pandemic. 

Richard Demko “Through Time And Space”


Rockmommy: What are you most hopeful for in 2021? 


Richard Demko: I am hopeful that the pandemic will come to an end and we can return to live music! I am also hopeful from a label perspective that Connecticut will gain some serious attention in the mainstream music scene, as we have so many great artists and bands in our area! 

Rockmommy: Any recent or upcoming projects you’d like to share? 

Richard Demko: As a solo writer, I plan on releasing of a few singles early in 2021, maybe a new Demkovic single will drop too. Passing Strange has a new album that we will be starting to track, which I’m really excited about. 

[SEE RELATED: Passing Strange Share Their Journey to ‘The Water and the Woods’ and What They Want Most in the Post-Pandemic World]

Rockmommy: What can you tell us about your new song? How did it come about? 

Richard Demko: This song was started 7 years ago. I never finished it and it just sat on the storage drive and I kinda forgot about it. About two months ago, I was going through some of the stuff on my storage drive and I came across this and decided to take a listen. One thing led to the next and I ended up finishing it. Normally a song like this I would submit to one of the music libraries I work with for sync licensing, but I really was digging this one and wanted to keep it for myself so I decided to release it to the world under my name. 

Rockmommy: You’re also a big supporter and promoter of indie rock– both independently and through NeuroTronix Records. What can artists hope for in Connecticut this summer? How are you navigating some of the new rules and challenges to bring live music back? 

Richard Demko: I think this summer is going to be pretty good for outdoor music. I’ve got a few places I’m working with to promote live outdoor shows, one being 10selden where I have exclusive access to the bookings calendar. During the spring and summer months, I tend to enjoy outdoor music under normal circumstances, so I think regardless of the changes in the indoor venue guidelines, I’m going to stick with promoting mainly outdoor shows — at least at 10selden. I wouldn’t say I’m just a supporter of indie rock, I support indie artists of all genres, and hopefully once things start to go back to normal, the label will be actively scouting again to expand its roster. I’ve got a few artists I’m keeping an eye on, but that’s all I will say about that for the moment. 

Rockmommy: What advice do you have on balancing parenthood with creative life?

Richard Demko: The best advice I can give to creative parents would be to just do the best you can with the time you have. Modify your creative schedule so that your family has the attention they need. When you get stressed, put that energy into writing or creating when you get the time, and it will not only come out more emotional, it will mean so much more in the end. I love being able to spend all this time with my kids and wife with everyone being home, however making the time to create is a very important part of having a balanced life.

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy

Sonia De Los Santos on Welcoming Hope – and ‘Esperanza’ – This Spring

By Marisa Torrieri Bloom 

Sonia De Los Santos creates music for children and families inspired by the Latin American folk music traditions. And although her songs are primarily in Spanish, the music is universally triumphant, filled with guitar, trumpet, violin, accordion, drums, but also other traditional instruments like the Mexican jaranaleona and the Colombian native flute: gaita.

Sonia De Los Santos

We recently caught up with Sonia find out what’s next, as the cooler weather starts to taper off.

Rockmommy: It’s been one year since the pandemic became our daily reality. What are the biggest challenges you encountered in the last 12 months? 

Sonia De Los Santos: One of the biggest challenges has been learning to perform without a physical audience in sight. To me, singing and playing for the camera feels very different from doing it in a theater. It might seem easy to turn the camera on and start playing but putting on a virtual show seamlessly takes a lot of energy and test runs! On the upside, I’ve learned a couple of tech tricks that have hopefully taught me how to make better videos!

Rockmommy: How did 2020 influence your music and creative process? 

Sonia De Los Santos: My creative process got turned upside down in 2020. Inspiration as I knew it, had a different face this year and it was hard to recognize what the “right” moment was to sit down and write. In past years, I would return from a tour or rehearsal with an idea to develop, and sometimes that idea would be fleshed out with words, rhythm and melody within hours! I’ve been writing songs during the pandemic, but at some point I felt like I was going in circles! So, yes, I struggled a lot more to be in a particular creative space all the time, so I tricked myself to get there. On the other hand, I wrote some songs that I would’ve never written had I been living my past life, so it’s all good! 

Rockmommy: What are you most hopeful for in 2021? 

Sonia De Los Santos: I’m hopeful that we will find a way to go back to our lives in a better fashion. Having learned about what’s truly essential will hopefully present other ways of living, being aware of the impact we have on the planet, in our communities, and in what we choose to fight for. 

Rockmommy: Any recent or upcoming projects you’d like to share? 

Sonia De Los Santos: I’m currently recording our next studio album Esperanza (Hope) that will be released in 2021, so we’ll have more hopeful songs to share with you in the months to come! Although the writing and production process has been a little bit different with this one, we’ve made it work. It draws inspiration from these challenging times and offers a message of hope and resilience for what’s coming next.

Last October, we put out the first single called ¡Fiesta, Fiesta! and it’s available in my website and all digital platforms. If you haven’t listened, go check it out and let me know what you think!

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.

NYC’s DonBlackCat, Rockdaddy and Longtime Guitarist, Plays on

interview by Rew Starr, Rockmommy contributor

It’s been a rough year for so many of us, including NYC-area musician DonBlackCat ( Donald Sztabnik), who lost his brother from the disease. But the guitarist, a frequent guest on the Pandemic Party/Rew & Who Show and the #rockdaddy of on-air personality/Z100 host Erica America, is still playing virtually and looking forward to a better 2021. 

DonBlackCat playing guitar

Rew: What have you been doing these days?

DonBlackCat: We all are suffering and trying to navigate through the challenges of the Covid-19 maelstrom … I lost my brother from this terrifying disease. I know many people who felt this pain up close and personal. But somehow we keep going and the music is always our friend, sometimes our only friend. To me the Guitar is like a Rubic’s Cube … simple yet a mystery that gets more Byzantine each time I pick one up. I have many laying around all over my house whispering to me ‘I dare you to try and play me !’ I continue to take bait… like Sirens wailing in the storm tempting me into frustration… I need to put wax into my ears to get some peace of mind. 

Rew Starr: Can you tell us about your kids?

DonBlackCat: My daughter Erica ( aka Erica America ) and my son Brian both look like me and for that I apologize to them both! I could not have asked for better kids who are now adults… ( Rew, are we adults yet… please let me know?). They like different music than me, but I do like what they listen to…

Rew Starr: How many major concerts and backstages have you been to thanks to her?

DonBlackCat: Erica is an on air personality for Z-100 so I have been to all the Z-100 Jingle Ball Concerts since she joined the on air roster a decade ago… so many great pop artists have graced the Madison Square Garden Stage. Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Pitbull, the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Camilla Cabello, Justin Bieber, Bebe Rexa, Ed Sheeran, among many others. My new favorite is Dua Lipa, with a sultry voice and great dance songs… one year backstage at MSG I got to meet the very special Christy Turlington who was gracious, funny and very down to earth… and she laughed at my jokes!

DonBlackCat and his daughter Erica America (of Z-100)

Rew Starr: How old were you when you realized you wanted to be a Rockstar? 

DonBlackCat: I was just 13 when I heard the Beatles on the radio for the first time on Thanksgiving night in 1963. It was on a small radio in the office of a local gas station. The WABC disc jockey said these lads from Liverpool had long hair and wore leather jackets and were called … The Beatles. 

I was struck by lightning, frozen in place staring at a tiny radio with a single speaker hearing ‘I wan to hold your hand’… that was the moment of moments for me. From then on it was the Beatles and all that followed, The Stones, The Yardbirds, The Kinks, The Who, along with my folk and blues favorites like Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzey.  

To me, the guitar was a magical instrument. How could so many artists playing guitar sound so different and so good? I borrowed an older acoustic guitar and struggled to learn a few chords. I have never stopped since and my guitars are my friends… they frustrate me one day and bring me immense joy the next! … ha!… just like kids!

Rew Starr: What’s the greatest part about being a ROCKDADDY?

DonBlackCat: The greatest thing about being a rockdaddy is having two kids that gained me entry into this esteemed club. They are my greatest songs and they keep me younger every day. I give sincere thanks that I have remained active in music and that the thrill is not gone. I’m blessed and I appreciate every note!

Rew Starr is a musician, actor and mom who lives in New York City.