Shane O’Neill formed the band Screamin’ Cyn Cyn And The Pons more than 15 years ago with guitarist/vocalist Cynthia Burnson, drummer Steve Shah, and bassist Christian Burnson. During the mid oughts, the Pons were one of the most vital bands in Madison’s music community, and O’Neill often formed the glittery, hairy, and charismatic center of the band’s live shows. While he lived here, O’Neill also launched a solo project called Shane Shane, which was also theatrical in its own way and focused more explicitly on his identity as a gay man. Even off stage he was pretty hard to miss. I would run into him all the time at shows, or when he was waiting tables at Monty’s or working the counter at MadCity Music.
O’Neill moved to New York City in 2011. He’s continued there to work as a performer, branching out into comedy and working as a video editor at The New York Times. One of his latest projects for the Times was an examination of the 1969 Stonewall riot, a key moment in the American gay rights movement. Neill is heading back to town soon for a June 14 show with Screamin’ Cyn Cyn at the Pons, at the High Noon Saloon. Ahead of that, we caught up with Shane by phone about his formative years as an artist in Madison and how he’s branched out since.
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