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

The Ramoms Take on The Ramones, Mixing Motherhood and Punk Rock in Philly

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

Musician mama Jodi Jeffers spent decades as a lead singer in various bands, her love of the punk scene so deep rooted that it led her to her husband, Jonathan Jeffers, of the band Duffy’s Cut. But once the 11-year Philadelphia resident became a mom — raising her three young sons, ages 10, 8 and 5, while working nights as a bartender — finding time for band life got a little more challenging. 

“The idea for an all-mom punkrock band, where we could switch up the songs, parody style, came to me in my car,” recalls Jodi. “Then, at dinner, I was talking to my husband, it hit me like, ‘oh, The Ramoms.’”

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The Ramoms, from left: Cori (bass), Jodi (lead vocals), Sharon (guitar), Ginger (drums)

After recruiting music scene kid-and-furry-animal moms Cori (bass), Ginger (drums) and Sharon (guitar), the Ramones-inspired pop-punk/punk-parody band — which plays all the Ramones covers, sometimes swapping lyrics for silly, family-friendly alternatives — was born. 

Two years later, the band is on a roll, booking gigs and winning over fans of all ages. But making time for music is even more challenging, when you have five kids and eight pets to consider (the band’s collective total!). Here, Jodi tells Rockmommy about making it all work and whether the Ramoms will be playing a PTA function anytime soon. 

Rockmommy: How did you recruit your band? 

Jodi Jeffers: Once I decided this would happen it came together easily. Cori the bass player and I have know each other since we were teenagers and we figured it would be the two of us and then two other guys. But then I talked to Ginger, who I knew through another friend, and soon after, at a party, we met Sharon, the guitar player. And it was not hard to convince her to join — we just clicked! Nothing could be easier than being with these three women. 

Rockmommy: So Jodi, let’s talk about what kind of music the Ramoms makes. Straight up Ramones covers, except with moms? Or something more? 

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The Ramoms — Cori Ramom, Jodi Ramom, Sharon Ramom & Ginger Ramom — are playing several shows in Philly, Brooklyn & Staten Island this Fall.

Jodi Jeffers: We play a mix of songs for different types of gigs. For the night shows, we do all real covers, but with the family crowd sometimes we’ll do a kid play on the Ramones song, like ‘I want to be play dated’ instead of ‘I want to be sedated.’ We’re writing a lot too, and we’re working on a split 7-inch with a band called the Dad Brains, you know, like Bad Brains but with dads. They’re fun — they sing all originals about being old and hoping to sit down. 

Rockmommy: Is everyone in the band a diehard Ramones fan? 

Jodi Jeffers: Not everyone is a diehard fan, but everyone is a fan. They wrote great pop-punk songs. 

Rockmommy: Do you do any originals? 

Jodi Jeffers: That’s the next step after the children’s album … to write some originals. 

Rockmommy: So who comes to your shows? What kind of crowd is it? 

Jodi Jeffers: It’s pretty much anyone but we get a lot of people like ourselves — we’re all over 40 and we have jobs and kids and responsibilities. We get a lot of punk fans, and Ramones fans too, who love to come out and hear songs that they know.

Rockmommy: How do you make practice happen every week with your hectic schedules? 

Jodi Jeffers: Sharon drives an hour and a half to practice with us. My husband is really flexible and he gets it — he’s in his own band, and practices and goes on tour, so he is happy to watch the boys so I can practice too. Ginger’s son is a lot older, so childcare isn’t as much of an issue. Cori has a young son, but he comes over to play with my sons and we hang out. Most weeks we can make it work. 

Rockmommy: Have you played a PTA function yet? 

Jodi Jeffers: Not yet, but that would be lovely. 

Rockmommy: What’s your advice on work-life balance? 

Jodi Jeffers: My advice is, don’t lose yourself in being a parent. If you want to be in a band, go for it. Because you need to have some sort of outlet for yourself. If you can have time for yourself, that makes you a better parent.  

The Ramoms are playing in Staton Island on Saturday, September 22; in Philadelphia on Monday, September 24th with The Vibrators in Philadelphia (at Underground Arts), and Brooklyn (at Saint Vitus) on Sunday, October 7. For more information, visit the band’s Facebook Page. 

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.