Cindy Toth Interview

cindy_rr_march16_2013(Done for this website, August 2013. All copyright laws apply.) As with most of the other band members, you’re not a native of Austin.  What brought you to the city?

Cindy: I was a military kid and after having lived in a bunch of places in a short amount of time, my family ended up in Biloxi, Mississippi.  My dad was about to retire so of course we had to move to Austin, which at the time I thought was the most awful place. Texas! Yuck! My mom grew up in Texas and all her relatives were still there so that’s the real reason. The original bassist in Zeitgeist/The Reivers left early in the group’s existence – how did you come to join the band (and was it hard to fit in to an already existing group)?

Cindy: I was playing in my first band-sort of a punk jazz group called fish-and somehow John managed to see us play somewhere (which i can’t imagine since we played rarely) (maybe it was our big show opening for The Contortions). I don’t know, he says he saw something in my playing. He asked me to come see them play. I did and found out he was interested in auditioning me. He gave me a tape and I learned most of the songs and that was that.

It was hard for me to step in because I was really a novice player. I had a great deal of respect for Kelly as she certainly seemed to know what she was doing and I felt I did not. When I first began playing out with the band, I wore large hats and kept my back to the audience a lot. I was shy and also unsure of myself and I kept a cheat sheet on my amp to check on periodically. What drew you to the bass guitar as your instrument of choice? We’ve also heard you play the violin here and there over the years on recordings, but not recently – do you think we’ll hear any more violin in the future?

Cindy: Hmmmmmm, I guess what really drove me to the bass was a standing offer to be taught the instrument and be in a band at the same time. I worked in a record store and one of my pals there had a band and was looking for a bassist. He knew I had been studying violin in college and told me if I bought a bass, he’d teach me to play and I could be in his band. Seemed like the most logical thing to do.

As for the violin… unless I start practicing a lot more, probably not. I did buy a fancy amp for it so who can say. You’ve done some lead vocals with Why Not Satellite – is this something you’d like to pursue more (and do you enjoy it)?

Cindy: Oh, I love to sing! I had an old boss a while back who asked me one day what was wrong and I asked him what made him ask. He told me that I was always singing and since I wasn’t something must be wrong. I’m not terribly confident at it as far as being in front of a microphone goes but that’ll come with more practice. I figure another 20 years and i’ll be great! Can you tell us a bit about your acting foray in the mid 1990’s in some plays in Wisconsin and if you want to act again?

Cindy: Tee hee. No…. yes.
When I moved to Madison there seemed to be a serious lack of a music scene there. The only band around seemed to be garbage and the only place they were around was a neighborhood wine bar I tended to enjoy. My co-worker at the time was a regular at the local experimental theatre and they were having auditions. One of my buddies from Austin that had moved up with me told her to make me go audition because I was never happier than when I was onstage making a fool out of myself. The rest is Madison history (not).
I don’t have any plans to “act” again but I’d be very interested in doing improv. Very. When the Reivers called it quits back in 1991, what were your thoughts and feelings about the end of the band?

Cindy: It was awful. Like a family splitting I’d imagine. I felt like if we could just get past whatever was not working and keep plugging along we’d get something going. I felt a little lost.
On the other hand I could understand the reasoning behind not beating our collective heads against the wall any longer. If just one person doesn’t want to do it anymore than that should be that. As the prime motivator behind the initial Reivers reunion back in 2008, has the reforming of the band gone the way you envisioned it would back then?

Cindy: Not at all! I had no idea that we’d continue to play and practice, much less record a record. We enjoy each others company and now that the pressure is off I think we are doing some of our best work. It’s a labor of love without the labor. If you could change one thing about the Reivers’ early career before the dissolution
of the band in 1991, what would it be?

Cindy: Probably the name change. I think I would do everything to keep that name. We had a certain momentum going and that put a ginormuous damper in it, but who knows? Maybe it was supposed to happen. What would be your “desert island discs” – your top 10 favorite albums?

Cindy: This is the hardest question of all…
hmmmmmm…in no particular order:

1. television-marquee moon
2. miles davis-kind of blue
3. debussy-la mer/prelude to the afternoon of a faun
4. tom waits-raindogs
5. penguin cafe orchestra-music from the penguin cafe
6. harry nilsson-the point
7. the who-quadrophenia
8. henry cow-unrest
9. the lounge lizards
10. the shining soundtrack