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Sandy Gennaro

First published on
November 6th, 2020

By Curtis Newart


Sandy Gennaro (Photo credit: Ash Newell)

Born in Manhattan, NY,

Sandy Gennaro is a legendary rock drummer who has performed with Cyndi Lauper, Bo Diddley, Michael Bolton, The Monkees, Joan Jett, The Mamas and The Papas, Craaft, and Robin Gibb.

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Sandy Gennaro and Cyndi Lauper (Photo credit: John Bellissimo)

Bo Diddley and Sandy Gennaro -  TRIBAL DRUMS LIVE (Source:

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Sandy Gennaro and Joan Jett.


Sandy Gennaro (far right) in the studio with Robin Gibb (center, of the Bee Gees). (Photo credit: Tom Dowd)

AT AGE 16,

Gennaro was touring New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania playing parties and high school dances with the bands The Black and Blues, The Word, and FrontierTwo years later, he toured the Midwest playing nightclubs and bars with the cover band Mutt-Lee.


In 1976, Gennaro moved to California looking for his "big break". It wouldn't happen though, until he returned to New York City and joined the rock band Blackjack featuring Michael Bolton.


They recorded two albums - the first of which was recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami, with the famed Tom Dowd producing - and toured with Peter Frampton.

Gennaro also played drums on the Benny Mardones hit song "Into the Night" from the album Never Run, Never Hide.


Blackjack (L to R): Sandy Gennaro, Bruce Kulick, Michael Bolotin (Michael Bolton), Jimmy Haslip. (Photo credit: Lynn Goldsmith)

Lauper hired Gennaro

for her first solo concert tour, the FUN TOUR, in support of her She's So Unusual album in 1983.

"I signed an autograph for Dave Wolff and chatted with him after a show I did with the Pat Travers Band in 1981," said Gennaro. "Two years later, Dave called me to meet a new singer that he'd just signed to Epic Records."


"After I met Cyndi and heard some of her songs, I wholeheartedly agreed to play drums in her band. That decision changed my life."


Lauper and the band travelled internationally - with Gennaro on drums, Kenni Hairston on keys, John K. (John Kumnick) on bass guitar, and John McCurry on lead guitar.


David Wolff, John K. (John Kumnick), Sandy Gennaro, Kenni Hairston, Cyndi Lauper and John McCurry. (Photo credit: Orion Press)


Cyndi Lauper and Sandy Gennaro (Photo credit: Laurie Paladino) (Photo courtesy: The Cyndi Lauper Library)

Cyndi Lauper - Time after Time 1984 (Source:

Lauper and the band's TV appearances included the MTV New Year's Eve Ball (1983), The Tonight Show, The Grammy™ Awards, the American Music Awards, and The Late Show with David Letterman.


Cyndi and the band (L to R): John McCurry, John K. (John Kumnick), Cyndi Lauper, Kenni Hairston and Sandy Gennaro. (Photo credit: John Bellissimo) (Photo courtesy: The Cyndi Lauper Library)

Cyndi Lauper - 1984 Outdoor Live - I'll Kiss You (Source: YouTube / Ernest Fung)


Cyndi Lauper (Photo credit: Sandy Gennaro)

Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Want To Have Fun (American Bandstand March 17 1984) (Source:

Gennaro appears

in Lauper's official music video for "Money Changes Everything", and performed on "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough" theme song from THE GOONIES feature film and its 45 RPM B-side "What a Thrill", all recorded during the FUN TOUR.

Cyndi Lauper - Money Changes Everything (Live) (Source:


"The Goonies 'R' Good Enough" single 45 RPM cover backed with "What a Thrill". Photo © 1985 Warner Bros Inc.

More on the road with Cyndi!


Cyndi and the band (L to R): John K, Kenni Hairston, Cyndi Lauper, John McCurry and Sandy Gennaro (Photo credit: John Bellissimo)


Sandy Gennaro and Cyndi Lauper (Photo credit: John Bellissimo)

Cyndi Lauper - The Tonight Show - Sept. 21, 1984 "All Through The Night" (Source:


Cyndi Lauper on the tour bus (Photo credit: Sandy Gennaro)


(L to R) John K. ​(John Kumnick), Kenni Hairston, Cyndi Lauper, Sandy Gennaro and John McCurry. (Photo credit: Ebet Roberts) (Photo courtesy: The Cyndi Lauper Library)

​Cyndi Lauper - The Tonight Show - Sept. 21, 1984 "She Bop" (Source:


Cyndi and band with Canadian CBS executive Billy Bannon (third from left). (Photo courtesy: The Cyndi Lauper Library)

Gennaro met his wife Shari Athey on November 23rd, 1984, at a Lauper concert in Charlotte, North Carolina. They recently celebrated 36 years together.

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Sandy Gennaro and Shari Athey (Photo credit: John Kisch)​ (11/23/1984)

Gennaro played drums for The Monkees

during their reunion tours from 1987 through 2012.

Sandy Gennaro - The Monkees (Intro) (Source:


Sandy Gennaro, Cyndi Lauper and Davy Jones (The Monkees).

He also played drums for German hard rock band Craaft

throughout Europe as the opening band during Queen's MAGIC TOUR in 1986.


Sandy Gennaro (2nd from left) with Craaft bandmates.

Craaft in Europe 1986

Gennaro has frequently worked

as a counselor and teacher at David Fishof's ROCK AND ROLL FANTASY CAMP.


He's taught at The Collective School of Music, New York City, for 27 years, where he created the Music Business program, teaching private lessons and master classes.


He then moved to Nashville, TN, where he currently resides with his wife Shari and their daughter Jeri.


Shari and Sandy Gennaro (Photo credit: Alex M. Wolff)


Cyndi Lauper and Sandy Gennaro (Source: John Bellissimo)


Sandy Gennaro


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Sandy Gennaro at home.

Breakfast cereal: Honey-Nut Cheerios Crunch

Next Halloween costume: Scarface

Birthday wish: peace

Fave cartoon: Popeye

Fave movie: A Hard Day's Night

Fave song: In My Life

Celebrity run-in: Ringo

Celebrity crush: Sandra Bullock

Fragrance: me

What do you drive: Jeep Grand Cherokee LTD

Pet peeve: disorganization / sloppiness

Room service food: spinach & cheese omelette

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