Savannah-based rock trio Cusses blends aspects of punk, metal and electronica into a sizzling cocktail of infectious grooves and thunderous beats, all accompanied by the mesmerizing vocals of lead singer Angel Bond. With their hypnotically energetic live performances, Cusses has quickly become one of the hottest bands in the burgeoning Savannah music scene.
Guitarist Bryan Harder and drummer Brian Lackey first met in the early ’90s, when both moved to Savannah to attend the Savannah College of Art & Design. The pair became friends, discovered that they shared a unique musical chemistry and throughout the ’90s, played together in several bands.
Lackey later moved to Los Angeles, but returned in 2009 with girlfriend Angel Bond, who had grown up playing saxophone but developed a true passion for music while singing for tips in New Orleans, where she had moved in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in order to assist with the recovery effort. When Lackey reconnected with Harder for old time’s sake, they found that their musical chemistry was still there. In need of a singer, they recruited Bond. When she finally agreed, Cusses was born.
The band released their first full-length album in October of 2012 and their video for “Don’t Give In” received airplay on MTV. The band is currently working on their second album, which was funded by way of a successful Kickstarter campaign. For more information about Cusses, including upcoming concert dates, check out www.cussesmusic.com.
Was there a particular moment when you decided you wanted to be a musician?
Angel: For drummer Brian Lackey, his father, brother, and uncle were all drummers. He has the original drum set from when he was three in his guest room for when his dad and brother come to visit. Bryan Harder started playing guitar when he was a young one as well.
I wanted to since the furthest back I can remember. I grew up with a father who was in a rock band and always had a practice room/studio in the house, basement, or garage. I was constantly surrounded by it and usually went to sleep with my floors vibrating from my Dad’s band practicing.
Was there a song or album that inspired you to pick up an instrument, or a concert that made you want to be on stage?
Angel: For Brian, it was at five, watching John Bonham on television play “The Song Remains the Same.”
I loved rock and Motown growing up, which made me want to play the sax and sing soul.
How did you and Brian meet?
Angel: We met through mutual friends on a beach in Charleston, SC.
What are the pros and cons of playing in a band with your significant other?
Angel: Pros are sharing something that you love to do with the person you care about most. Music is an emotional and vulnerable place, so a con could be being overly sensitive in the process. But hopefully the bond shows through the music. No pun intended. :)
How did you guys settle on the name Cusses? Did any interesting band name alternatives get left on the cutting room floor?
It was actually our first choice. We use the term from CUSS, which means means unwanted person or being.
We always joke around about different names. I think the first joke name was Grown and Sexy. We were referring to James Brown.
What is your songwriting process?
Angel: We sit in a room and just flow thru riffs together. Bryan Harder always has so many different riffs at a time or Brian will start a beat. Or I will have a melody from the shower. It all flows together since we are a small unit.
You guys spent a good portion of 2013 touring the country. What did you enjoy most about that experience?
Angel: Playing for people that have never seen us. Making new friends. Traveling through beautiful countrysides. Becoming a tighter band musically and in friendship.
What goes through your mind before you walk on stage?
Angel: It’s like we become other people. It’s a place where we expose our hearts and fears. I still get very nervous before every show. But I have to tell myself to not worry about what people think and to just let go.
What has been your most memorable live performance?
Angel: Our last one, because we want to get better and better every time! We take pieces from each one. Usually the memorable ones are where it all falls apart technically or emotionally. :)
Have you had the opportunity to play in any particularly enjoyable venues, or in front of any especially raucous crowds?
Angel: The ones that are the most enjoyable are the ones where people let loose in an more intimate setting. A couple off the top of my head… The Circle Bar in New Orleans, Lit Lounge in NYC, JJ’s Bohemia in Chattanooga, Preservation Pub in Knoxville, The Comet in Seattle, and of course, in Savannah, The Jinx and Hangfire always treat us right!
In your opinion, what’s the best album ever recorded?
Is this a trick question?! That’s a tough one. So many different types of apples and oranges.
Some of our favorites…. Off the Wall by Michael Jackson, 13 Songs by Fugazi, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon & The Wall, Al Green’s I’m Still In Love With You, every single Led Zeppelin record, The Cult’s Electric, and Aretha Franklin’s Soul Sister.
What is your favorite restaurant in Savannah?
That’s another tough one and I don’t want to get into trouble or leave anyone out! Some of our favorites are PJ’s Thai, Zunzi’s, Vinnie Van Go Go’s, Pacci’s, Green Truck, and The Starland Cafe.
What’s the best piece of advice — musical or otherwise — you’ve received?
I think the best advice is to have patience. Keep your head down, work hard at songs. Enjoy the whole side of meeting people with the shared interest in music as a life choice.
How’s the new album coming along?
It has been a roller coaster of a ride, and we have learned a lot recording this last one. The silver lining being the challenges and passion will come out in the songs. All and all, it is coming along great, such an incredibly revealing experience. We are nearly there and we are very excited to share it with you’s!