By: Lucy Rendler-Kaplan @arkaymktg
I had the incredible opportunity to sit down with John Cusimano, lead singer and songwriter of The Cringe, after watching them play at SXSW. Though the name of the band, “The Cringe,” has its origins back from when Cusimano was high school, playing “indie absurdist” garage punk with a “rough around the edges” feel, the present version is anything but cringe worthy. Their sound is reminiscent of early Foo Fighters and Smashing Pumpkins, along with heartfelt ballads sung masterfully by Cusimano.
In Austin, a city The Cringe calls one it’s favorite place to play, (mainly Stubb’s, a location you might associate with one of the biggest parties of SXSW, thrown by the wife of Cusimano) the band was playing shows to sold out crowds, promoting songs off their fourth album, “Hiding in Plain Sight.” With the success of this record, and radio ready songs such as “Lord Jim” and “Get Me Some,” it will definitely be hard for the band to hide in plain sight for much longer.
Writing this originally for the Public Relations Society of America, I wanted to get John’s take on the changing landscape of PR for bands. Few very short years ago only the largest bands such as the Foo Fighters would hire publicists, but now bands popping up each day in your backyard are making use of everything public relations has to offer. The Cringe has worked with several PR firms and has also brought the function in-house. Cusimano believes “because of the growth of the internet and social media, it is increasingly easier and less expensive for a band to promote themselves. That being said, it is quite helpful for an experienced PR firm to get a band noticed and breakthrough in an increasingly crowded market place – ideally a PR firm should help an artist move up the long tail and maximize his/her consumer base.” Most recently The Cringe worked with “the esteemed and wonderful Girlie Action (PR firm) on the release of their most recent album “Hiding in Plain Sight” (available on Itunes and everywhere else online).” For one of the PR campaigns The Cringe has run, Trendsetter has proven indispensable in promoting their video “Deep Girl” – the views of that video keep going up and up . . .
He goes on to tell me, “The internet has changed the publication landscape from print to online fairly drastically, thereby opening up the market place from a few large and expensive PR firms to a lot of smaller firms, many of whom focus almost exclusively online and need to and can move as quickly as the online world requires.” He believes this will only continue to expand.
Upcoming plans for The Cringe involve their current tour off of “Hiding in Plain Sight” and the very near future has the band looking forward to a bunch of April dates with one of their “hero” bands (and one of Kurt Cobain’s favorites) – The Meat Puppets. You can learn more about The Cringe and follow their tour dates at ? http://www.thecringe.com/ or on Facebook www.facebook.com/thecxringe. Cusimano also encourages fans to chat with them on twitter www.twitter.com/thecringe and to check out his own personal photos on Instagram, under the handle thecringe.
Currently, The Cringe includes:
John Cusimano, vocals, guitar and keys
James “Roto” Rotondi, guitar
Jonny Blaze, bass
Shawn Pelton, drums