Imagine yourself entering a dark room. A unique, yet somehow familiar sound captures your attention. The large crowd in front of the stage obscures your view of the band, but that sound draws you closer. The music's dark, but a different kind of dark; heavy, but a special kind of heavy. You can't quite put your finger on it. You keep moving forward, and five figures appear on the stage in front of you. Their appearance gives the impression that they haven't one thing in common.
This is where you're wrong, and where their story begins.
Cindy’s Basement was formed on a hot evening in late August of 1998. Three friends united out of boredom—nothing more. Over the years they acquired members and lost members. This is important, but not for the reasons you may think. Such is the evolution of a rock band: fun and casual becomes fun and serious. The constellation of artists here is no accident, and the performance you are witnessing is the culmination of all of their efforts: both past and present. You are experiencing history, a retelling of the past, in the voice of the future.
Your eyes are drawn to the bass player;with his energy, he demands your attention. Z runs from one side of the stage to the other, leaping, whirling—a visceral maelstrom of rhythm. His is an unabashedly physical performance; he wrangles the bass with both hands, stroking it like a lover one moment, throttling it like a wild mustang the next. His role is dynamic as he transitions between the hard backbone of one song to a deft dance of melody in another. His attention is equally on the demands of his instrument and on the crowd raging in adoration at the stage’s lip. Z joined Cindy’s Basement in 2003. Within six months he had become a critical part of the band’s songwriting collective.
He springs atop the drum riser, and you can’t help but notice the machine-gun pounding of drums, and the wide grin on the drummer’s mug. Andy Gaylin wields his drumsticks like a painter using a brush, as if the drums are in his blood. And they are. His acrobatic stickwork is enthralling, but you find he pays about 1/10 as much attention to the audience as the audience does him. He is completely at one with the mayhem around him. Andy has played drums for Cindy's Basement for all but a two-year gap, when he pursued an interest in playing guitar. Although proficient in that instrument as well, he could not escape the call of drums and returned to the throne.
And now you hear it: the voice of an avenging angel, sounding the call for your soul. Andy Felicitas looms at the mic stand, larger than life and twice as urgent. He thunders, he pleads. You hang on his every word, and he repays your longing with an onslaught of uncontrollable emotion. He draws you into the music, singing a song that is at once his, yours, and that of everyone in the room. Andy brought his professional training to the vocalist spot when he joined Cindy’s Basement in the summer of 2009; ending an arduous, exhausting, four-year search for the perfect singer. It paid off instantly.
As he pauses for breath, the scream of a guitar solo pulls your attention right. You turn to see Jason Crebs taking charge of the song. Had he not emerged from the music you might not have even noticed he was there—but oh, he's there. It's easy to see he prefers to stay out of the spotlight onstage, but he has already created his own spotlight within the music. Jason joined in the summer of 2007, but he’s definitely no rookie. With an extensive background in music, he understands the necessity of balance within a two-guitar band; when to take lead above the song and when to build it from within for power.
As his solo wails in climax, you realize there’s still more, another guitar painting within the auditory picture. The second guitar does not follow the first. It plays something different, but right. The guitars writhe and melt as one until your focus is not on one or the other, but on the song they make together. In fact, you can't see how the song could exist without either. You turn left and see Tim Bayer, eyes closed, completely relaxed, grooving to the music. He's completely engrossed into the business at hand. His face is flushed red, and you can’t help but notice the focus he has on his music. Tim is the last of the original three. He alone has taken with him the spirit of all those who have dwelled in Cindy's Basement. He has one goal: to see this band through—to the end.
The sudden silence is deafening. Their set can't be over, but it is. You look at your watch and indeed, it has been close to an hour since you first entered the room and became ensnared by the dark power of their sound. You salivate for more.
Fear not. You’ll hear from them again.
"We are a collective and we are relentless. We are Cindy's Basement."
Copyright © 2012 Cindy's Basement. All Rights Reserved.