The first time I listen to NYC band The Cynz, I’m in rock n’ roll heaven. Front woman 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.
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.