In a time when heavy metal did not yet exist and Goth culture wasn’t yet a thing, it is fair to say that Jinx Dawson, the mysterious and beautiful lead singer of the rock band Coven, was way ahead of her time. Along with bass player Oz Osbourne, drummer Steve Ross, keyboardist Rick Durrett, and guitarist Chris Nielson, Coven chilled audiences to the bone when they appeared on the Chicago music scene in 1966 with their own dark brand of progressive rock. While most bands of the era were singing songs about peace and love, Coven had different subjects to sing about – the Occult, black magic, demonology and Satan. Although these would become popular musical subjects only a few years later, Coven were the pioneers of Satanic rock. Touring with acts such as The Vanilla Fudge and The Yardbirds, Coven thrilled concert goers, while terrifying parents, the clergy and authorities, with an elaborate stage show featuring coffins, inverted crosses and a black mass. When Coven released their debut album, Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls, in 1969 the album quickly became a cult favorite, although the material on the LP was unsuitable for radio play. However, when the band was mentioned in a 1970 Esquire Magazine article about The Manson Family, Mercury Records, frightened of a backlash, took the album out of circulation and dropped Coven from their line-up.
Now based in California, the group was struggling to survive when Jinx was given an unique opportunity to sing the title song to a little grass roots counter culture film called Billy Jack. The song was One Tin Solider, and would climb the Billboard charts in 1971 while the unlikely little film became a cult hit. Ironically, One Tin Soldier would become an anthem for peace and love – a far cry from Coven’s original dark image. The band would regroup and record a toned down radio friendly self-titled album in 1972 in conjunction with One Tin Solider, but it got little attention. In 1974 Coven gave it another shot and recorded Blood on the Snow with producer Shel Talmy, most famous for producing The Who’s Tommy. Blood on the Snow was a stronger release that melded the softer styles of their previous album while going back to their Occult roots. However, by that time heavy metal music had finally become a driving force in the music industry and a little group from Britain called Black Sabbath had stolen the spotlight that Coven originated with some disturbing similarities too blatant to be coincidences. Coven would disband not long afterwards, seemingly becoming a footnote in music history.
However, in the 1990’s a new fascination with Coven would emerge out of the growing Goth culture as their music started to be rediscovered and deemed influential to the new crop of Goth and death metal bands emerging throughout the world. In 2003 Jinx Dawson returned with a brand new solo album, Goth Queen: Out of the Vault, which brought her back onto the musical radar to regain her throne as the original Gothic Empress. Having barely aged a day since she released Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls, Jinx Dawson has become the godmother of satanic rock music.
A mysterious and elusive woman, Jinx has only recently become assessable to fans via social media which has been a huge factor in continuing to grow her followers. In recent years Jinx has designed and sold jewelry and clothing through her e-bay store and in 2013 released a second solo album called Jinx. Throughout the years interviews with Jinx have been rare and in-between. So when I reached out to Jinx via her Facebook account for an interview I was thrilled when she agreed to answer my questions if I submitted them through e-mail. Not the way I normally like to conduct interviews, I realized that this audience with the Goth Queen was a rare and special one and I would be foolish to not agree to her terms. The results were beyond my wildest expectations. What I received in return for my questions was a series of honest and compelling answers outlining Jinx Dawson’s incredible journey through music, the occult and the ages.