By Sarah Litt
From the suburbs of Quebec City to the downtown core of Toronto, Cindy Caron has been making a name for herself one snare hit after another since packing up her car with only her drum kit and a suitcase to move to the Canadian metropolis. With over 500 shows under her belt, TV and radio appearances, tours and multiple recordings out, Cindy is now a well established drummer in the Toronto music scene. Let’s learn more about the girl who currently drums for the punk rocket nerdcore band Plan 37, who are pretty out of this world to say the least!
Tom Tom Magazine: Do you remember the moment that you decided you wanted to be a drummer?
Cindy Caron: I can’t pinpoint the exact moment but I do remember getting a kid drum kit from a catalogue when I was in elementary school. I had no clue what to do with it but I would blast some of my favorite artists and just bang along on the drums at the same time making absolutely no sense but having fun! I was always picking xylophone over recorder in school and getting bummed out when they made me play the recorder. I guess it started around that time. I was all about the sticks! A year or 2 later I joined a marching band. I started out on trumpet, because that’s where everybody had to start, but quickly asked to move to the drum line. It was probably at that time that I realized that if I was going to play music, it had to be drums. In high school I was very stubborn with the music teacher who wanted me to play the French horn and stood my ground until I got the drum position that all the cool kids wanted. That actually put me in a bit of trouble for a few years…oops!
Was there any one drummer in particular that inspired you to play?
Being French Canadian, I grew up watching only French TV shows. One of them was a sitcom about the 50’s era called Epopée Rock. It featured a band and the drummer was my favorite character, he was funny and kind of cute. I thought he was an actor but he was actually just a musician trying to act a bit to pay the bills. His name was Dominique Messier and he has now been drumming for Celine Dion for about 20 years! Talk about paying the bills! I guess he would be the first one I noticed but my main inspiration is definitely Tre Cool from Green Day though. They were the first real concert/international band I saw when I was about 13 years old (Insomniac tour) and they quickly became my favorite band. I really like Tre’s style and his persona; I can totally relate to both his musicianship and showmanship. Chad Smith, Tommy Lee and Neil Peart and Samantha Maloney also had a huge influence on me.
Are you strictly a punk drummer or do you bang around to other genres as well?
I would say that anything with the word Rock, Punk or Pop is definitely my niche and favorite style to play. Back in my high school days I was in the orchestra (where I played timpani and marimba) and a jazz ensemble, all of which I really enjoyed! I recently did some acoustic gigs with just a shaker, snare and brushes and that was also a lot of fun. To be honest I even like to play along to EDM sometimes – shocking, I know! There are some styles I probably wouldn’t want to / be able to play but I’m open to anything as long as I can connect with the music and have fun!
Being a female musician, what is the most annoying question/comment you get from people?
The most stupid comment I ever got was while carrying my gear into a venue a guy shouted at me “hey are you the drummer or just the drummer’s b*tch?!” Later that night he was complimenting me on my playing and wanted to add me on Facebook, yeah right! A lot of the time I’ll be walking into a venue with my stuff or setting up my kit and I’ll get attitude from the other drummers on the bill. That’s something that happens quite often unfortunately. I’ve gotten used to it now and sadly come to just expect it. I have thick skin and I’d rather just prove them wrong when I start playing. I also used to get the Meg White comparison a lot and it was very annoying because I don’t think we have anything in common other than being female drummers.
Do you find more often than not people compliment you based on your gender as opposed to the fact that you are actually really GOOD at what you do?
Oh yeah for sure! It is frustrating sometimes. I don’t want to justify it by saying this but the music industry is a man’s world, and even though there are a lot of female musicians out there, we are still far from being 50/50. It goes for anything that is non-traditional I guess. Some people don’t really do it on purpose. Sometimes they’ll come to talk to me after the show and say “Wow you’re an awesome drummer, sorry I don’t want to say it but ….for a girl.” It’s kind of funny how they actually apologize for what they’re about to say, but still add the, “for a girl” part anyway. I don’t think it’s necessary, it actually kinda take away from the original compliment…and what do you reply to that? Thanks and yeah I know I’m a girl? Duh! haha
One of my favorite parts about watching a drummer – aside from the obvious – is catching the funny facial expressions. You, however, just look like you’re grinning the whole time you’re playing! Is that a conscious thing?
Easy answer, I tend to smile a LOT when I play because I’m the happiest when I’m on stage! Simple as that!
Let’s talk kits. What do you play right now, and what is your dream kit you plan on buying when you’re rich and famous?
I currently playing the classic 4 piece set up and my kit is a Pearl Vision VSX Strata Red. I love it! The super cool red and black print and black rims totally represent me. I’ve been playing Pearl drums for almost 20 years and I have the pleasure of being one of their endorsee here in Canada. Cymbal-wise I’m a Sabian girl! Started with them and stuck with them. I still own the ride and hi-hats that I bought with my very first real kit. They last a very long time and sound great. For sticks, I am an endorsee for a great Canadian brand, Headhunters Drumsticks. They are made in Burlington, not too far from Toronto and they have an awesome grip that I love and are very reliable. As for the dream kit, I would get a top of the line Pearl Masterworks custom kit!
So you’ve been playing since you were a kid, been in multiple bands… what have been some of the highlights in your drum career?
There have been quite a few! It’s prob easier to do a list haha. Recording an album at the legendary Sonic Iguana Studios in Indiana with Joe Queer, Mass Giorgini and Phil Hill was awesome. This is the same studio where a lot of well-known artists recorded; Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, The Queers, Screeching Weasel, Anti Flag, Billie Joe Armstrong to name a few. Getting my endorsements with Pearl Drums and Headhunters Drumsticks is definitely an accomplishment I’m very proud of. Performing live on Musique Plus (Montreal’s version of Much Music and MTV) was a dream come true. Playing shows in NYC was also a big deal for the “small town” girl in me. Touring Canada for one month, coast to coast, was a life changing experience. Ever since I was a teenager, I wanted to road trip and see our big country (it’s huge! haha) but I told myself I would only do it if I was touring. And I did it! Oh shit, I almost forgot! Useless ID (Fat Wreck) once asked me to play a song on drums with them with just 24hrs notice! I was booked to play on a show with them here in Toronto and for many reasons, it didn’t happen. I had play with Useless ID in the past and we kept in touch. When I told Yotam, the singer, that I wasn’t going to play the show anymore, he simply asked if I would want to play drums for a song with them instead! I didn’t find out what song until like 2am the night before! It was so cool but so stressful at the same time. To make it even more awesome, I was told that it was the first time they’ve ever had a guest musician! There’s a great video of it on YouTube!
Wow. So, not only have you been asked to play drums with Useless ID, but you joined Plan 37 because they approached you to play with them after sharing the stage with your old band in the past, recently you were asked to play an acoustic set with another band, and you’ve had more requests since that as well! What do you make of the demand for you in the Toronto punk scene!?
Not sure what to say! It’s fun and I’m really flattered that people want to play with me. It feels like a little recognition in a way…like a pat on the back from my peers. Every musician knows that being in a band is like a relationship and I was in a committed one for a couple years so when I got out of it, it was fun to have all these new people wanting to date me! haha Ps, I’m really glad the Plan 37 dudes made the first move!
What’s in store for you and your band Plan 37!?
2014 is shaping up to be a very busy year for Plan 37! We released a 7″ on Merman Records in the fall 2013 and we’ve already started the pre-production work for what will be our first full length album. There will be a lot of recording in the next few months for us. We just filmed a new video and we recently released some new tunes on our bandcamp page (www.plan37.bandcamp.com). We’ll go on the road in the spring with an east coast tour and hit Pouzza Fest IV. Then we’ll release the album and tour extensively, Canada and hopefully US. Lots of good things coming up with the P37ers. Stay tuned and get ready for the invasion!