Vampires need love too, you know.
Tom Lescovich is showing that darkness can hide surprising tenderness through his solo project Cindy Cane. Named after a friend’s unachieved WWE dream, Cindy Cane mixes influences from all over the musical spectrum, blending electro, punk and country to create his unique sound.
Also frontman of garage rock band The Coax, Lescovich started Cindy Cane as a way to free himself from the boundaries of being in a band. “I am experimenting with a lot of stuff that I have never done before,” Lescovich tells BTRtoday. “I want to shift shapes whenever/however I please.”
Below is the premiere of “The Darkness,” the intro track off the upcoming Cindy Cane EP New York Strangers. New York Strangers tells the story of a vampire struggling to feel love and build lasting relationships without killing anyone.
“New York Strangers is the story of an entity that knows they are perpetually doomed,” he says. “Someone that wants so badly to be good and find love, but they just can’t.”
Listen below to Cindy Cane’s “The Darkness” and read the entire interview with Lescovich. Catch Cindy Cane in Brooklyn at Our Wicked Lady on 11/12.
BTRtoday (BTR):Let’s go straight into chatting about this single, “The Darkness.” It seems a little more electronic than what I usually hear from you, what inspired that?
Cindy Cane (†∆†): “The Darkness” is totally the most electronic sounding song I’ve ever written (at least that I have shared so far), but it’s all for aesthetic. The electronic vibe helped make those differences a little bit more dramatic. The entire record “The Darkness” has that feel. It’s a vampire’s tale of being trapped in New York City, love and the ‘80s. It’s called New York Strangers.
BTR: How would you describe the song’s vibe or what you’re trying to convey with it?
(†∆†): “The Darkness” is the first track and the beginning of New York Strangers. The song is kind of a synopsis of the record. The songs which follow get a bit more specific, but New York Strangers is the story of an entity that knows they are perpetually doomed. Someone that wants so badly to be good and find love, but they just can’t, because they’re a vampire. They get up every day (around sunset) in hope to find the cure, but just end up eating someone alive because, you know… they’re a vampire.
BTR: You say the other stuff you’re working on has a twangier twist, and I’ve noticed your other projects, like The Coax, has that too. As you know I’m also an old school country fan—it’s got such a sadness that no other genre has. What’s your favorite thing about it?
(†∆†): Yeah! I grew up on ‘90s country—my mom was a country line dancer. My first concert ever was Clint Black when I was two years old. My mom went to see him and I guess I threw a fit because she didn’t take me—so she took me to his very next show in Worcester, Mass. I used to stand in front of the television with my guitar in my black cowboy boots and black cowboy hat watching my heroes on the big screen.
I’m working on saving up some cash so I can buy Alan Jackson for my wedding. I love the outlaw country vibe the most. The storytelling aspect of the songwriting is fascinating to me. I love crafty songwriting. Marty Robbins and Lee Hazlewood are my guys. Of course, Waylon [Jennings] and Merle [Haggard] also, but hot damn Lee had his fingers in everything hip and Marty is just the total package. What a crazy person…Also, there’s this guy out there in Arkansas right now they call Dylan Earl that you should keep an eye out for.
BTR: Country doesn’t sound like it’s your only influence in your music though. In fact, I’d say I hardly detect any twang in “The Darkness.” Did you experiment with anything you’ve never done or worked with before on this track?
(†∆†): I am experimenting with a lot of stuff that I have never done before. I’ve never really used drum machines before. I’ve also been playing every part on all of the records, which is something that I have never done before. I’m super fortunate to play with the boys in The Coax—they are top notch, total pros. The Coax is very “garage,” but I’m interested in a lot of different sounds ad ideas. I created Cindy to allow myself to explore those different sounds and ideas and to not be bound to one thing or the other. I want to shift shapes whenever/however I please. I’ve always wanted to score horror films too—maybe one day I can pick up the chops to do that.
BTR: Speaking of The Coax, it looks like you guys had a really tough start to October. What’s going on? Are you guys playing again anytime soon?
(†∆†): So The Coax is very fortunate to have the best drummer in the world and I will put that in writing. If anyone wants to challenge that, meet us at the playground. Three o’clock. Bring breakables.
We did a six week tour with High Waisted last fall and our drummer wasn’t available for it, so we brought along our good buddy from KCMO and he crushed it. Unfortunately, he passed away on the first day of October. It still doesn’t feel real. Rest in power pop Benny Boy, we miss you terribly and love you forever. Hug your friends and make sure they feel the love.
The Coax members are all spread out. The rhythm section is in Minneapolis, lead guitar is in Denton, Texas and I’m in Brooklyn. We’ll lay low for the winter and probably see you at SXSW this coming spring, but we’re planning to do a split record with our dear friends Pearl Earl from Texas with some new smash hits—probably early(ish) 2019.
BTR: Where’d the name Cindy Cane come from? I feel like the meaning is right on the tip of my tongue, I just can’t quite figure it out.
(†∆†): I lived in Minneapolis for a while and there’s this amazing bar called Vegas Lounge in the Northeast. Karaoke seven nights a week and on weekends it’s impossible to get a song. One night I was there with some friends and told them that I needed a spicier name so that I would get selected. My pal Frenchie immediately said “Cindy Cane” and I was like, “whoa, yeah, that’s the one.” She told me that when she was a kid she wanted to be a WWF wrestler when she grew up and that her professional wrestling name would be Cindy Cane. That dream never came true, so she said that I could have the name. I got called on twice that night—I think I sang Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind” and “Oh! Darling” by The Beatles. For a couple of years it was just my karaoke moniker, but when I started writing these new songs I knew that I needed a name and the choice was obvious.
BTR: What should we be keeping an eye out for in the future of Cindy Cane?
(†∆†): The records. I have done a lot of touring in the last year. The Coax toured for seven months in 2017 and I did a month on the road with two Brooklyn bands, Sloppy Jane and Stuyedeyed, and an L.A. band this year. I wasn’t able to write that much on the road, so when I got home I just spilled out a whole bunch of ideas. I just got back from doing 21 solo shows across the U.S., which I called “beta tour” because I tried out some of the new material. Now it’s time to get in the studio. I will be playing a bunch of shows in New York and on the East Coast this winter with a lot of friends—old and new—showcasing different songs from the different records while building a band to bring the ideas to life. Ultimately, I want to be playing the records in their entirety.