Guitarist James Cundiff of Sacramento’s Anarchy Lace’s “I love Sacramento’s music scene – plain and simple.”
Sacramento’s Anarchy Lace’s music is a cross between the raw, angry honesty of garage punk, throw in some melodic guitar leads and a little Southern rock!
Guitarist James Cundiff plays lays down the rhythm guitar licks like a man on a mission with no mercy coming.
How did you first get in to music? Who turned you onto rock/metal?
After high school , I wanted to be a recording engineer so I called a few studios and asked for a tour to see how it was done. Moon Studios’ David Houston gave me a tour of his studio and I saw firsthand how it was done. I was so blown away , I worked there and earned myself recording time which I used to record my first songs in 1982.
I grew up listening to country music, my best friend and I used to work irrigating alfalfa fields in southern Arizona in 1972 – 75 and in 1974 one Sunday early in the morning I heard “Stairway to Heaven” for the first time and bang! I wanted to learn everything about Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and the British bands that i could.
How did you become a singer or guitarist and are you proficient in any other instruments?
I have been singing all my life , in 1981 while working in Moon Recording Studios I decided I wanted to play guitar and be a Jimmy Page. I messed around on my cousin’s guitar until he told me to either do it for real or leave it alone. so I taught myself how to play using a chord chart I acquired from a mail order book from country guitar legend Roy Clark and a lot of guitar players who recorded at the studio would see me practicing in the waiting room and they would show me 4. I have always been fascinated with the life and legends of Robert Johnson – king of the delta blues and the life and times of Hank Williams Sr. if i could play with anyone alive or dead these two awesome legends are two that I would have loved to have met and jammed with.
What is the origin of the name Anarchy Lace?
In 2013 when I formed Anarchy Lace , I had the idea of a band name that was a contradiction of terms… anarchy : rebellion & chaos , lace: feminine, soft and non threatening.
What was the local scene in Sacramento like in the beginning, was there a particular band you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?
In the 80’s when i started the music scene was full of venues… Oasis Ballroom , C Street North , the Eldorado saloon , plus all the bigger dinner establishments had live music on Friday & Saturday nights. original music bands though had a tougher go of getting shows than the cover bands. one of my favorite bands then was Jet Red w/ future Y & T bass player Brad Lang. While the scene here in Sacramento has changed there is so much still the same. I know pretty much all the bands here in town so to pick a favorite would be impossible… but i have learned from quite a few by watching them at shows and asking advice. bands like Restrayned , White Knuckle Riot , White Minorities , Some Fear None , Roswell , Malcom Bliss , Shotgun Sawyer , Ghost Town Rebellion and Terra Ferno are among the bands I call my friends and they have helped me in too many ways to count on how Anarchy Lace is managed and in the ways we play shows. Iron sharpens iron and I have learned from them all to be willing to mentor younger bands coming up around Sacramento so that our music scene is a living viable musical entity not only in California but the whole country and on a global scale as well. I’m humbled to be among the company of these fine musicians not to mention awesome human beings.
Has there been times when drugs and alcohol were beneficial to the band?
Anarchy Lace considers our music our business and when business is finished then we partake in the fun of our life style. i myself don’t do drugs but i do enjoy a cold beer or jack n coke to celebrate the privilege of playing music in front of a crowd.
Is doing pre sales the same thing as pay to play and what are the pros?
Pre sale tickets … Anarchy Lace has had the privilege to play bigger venues like the boardwalk and ace of spades where we had to sell tickets and at no point were we told to pay money up front or in advance for the tickets we would be selling. Pay to play in my opinion or understanding would mean that we as a band would have to give someone some money for a stack of tickets and a set time that we’d get to play our music in. The pros of pre sale tickets are that you have a goal in a physical sense by the number of tickets you have in your hands . Second , if you are smart you discussed with the venue what your band’s cut of the ticket sales are going to be and have a clear understanding of what’s expected of your band. We local bands have to realize first and foremost that this is a business. Venues want to make money because it costs money to open the doors and turn those stage lights on. bartenders , door people , bouncers all got to be paid. Bands want to get paid to play shows period.
What are you listening to lately and what are your favorite music releases of 2017?
I’ve been listening to some great local cd’s , Roswell , Shotgun Sawyer , Broken , Terra Ferno and Some Fear None have cd’s out that rock! Restrayned has a full blown cd “Not Human” that just blows me away with how polished it is and how well crafted their brand is. I’m all over the place with what I listen to daily. one day it’s soundtrack music from “ o’ brother where art thou” and the next it’s old school Sacramento punk from The Losin’ Streaks!
What was the first music you bought and what have you bought more than once?
My first record i bought was Kiss – Destroyer I was a huge kiss fan growing up and for awhile owned every single album up to the kiss double platinum record. I have to buy multiple copies of wish you were here by Pink Floyd. I wore out copies from playing.
What’s the biggest show you have played so far and do you still get nervous before a gig?
The biggest show we’ve played to date was the sold out Puddle of Mudd show at the Ace of Spades… our cd release party is a close second , the release of “Dark Mazes” is a true accomplishment because it’s a physical manifestation of our music that people can put into a cd player anywhere and get their faces melted off. Secondly this incarnation of Anarchy Lace has had the privilege and fun of playing with Dokken twice with a our third show coming up on July 20th! The first time we played with Dokken at the Ace of Spades three of us were sick as dogs with the flu! I was coming out of it , Lena was in the middle and George Bogue our lead guitarist came down with it at the show and had a fever of 102 on stage during the show! The crowd that night was all the way to the back wall and down the entry way! Even though we were sick we played a show that in my opinion defined us to ourselves and gave us ideas about the quality of shows we’d be playing in the future. Vetstock this last June was another big show for us because we got to play with so many of our fellow bands and the cause was something bigger than all of us.
Is commercial rock radio dead?
Commercial rock radio is not dead , I think because of technology and the competition from other avenues of listening to music that commercial radio has to adapt and evolve as a whole or it will become extinct.
Favorite songs on the new as yet to be finished album and why?
We have played a few songs recently of songs that will be on our next cd. Picking a favorite song is like picking a favorite child. I have no favorites , I love to rock them all out! But since I’m being pressed here to pick one… I’d have to say that “The Vision” is it. Anarchy Lace is blessed with the song writing team of Lena Campbell , George Bogue and myself and with the addition of “the missing element Josh Collinson on bass is only going to thicken the soup up in our songwriting. His full blown rock out bass when combined with all the other aspects of our sound leaves so very much to be explored! Aaron our drummer also plays guitar so there again is another avenue not yet driven down.
Out of all your songs which one excites you the most when you perform it?
I love playing “America, Amerika” because it usually comes at the end of the set so we just let it all go with the intensity of how we perform it! i call “America, Amerika” our “blow it all up “ song because everyone knows our part of the show is over and we want to tear the roof off the room and this song where everyone gets a spotlight is the song to do it. 16. in most of our songs the point is usually right out in the open from the first line of the song. “America, Amerika” is a song that i wrote back in 1998 and today it and the points made are as relevant as they were back when i wrote it. the awesome thing about “America, Amerika” is that it has so many interpretations from all over. i may see one point and you may hear and see something completely different and from a totally different social position. Anarchy Lace is a band with our ears to the ground on political , social and other issues that we’re all living in. With the age and employment diversity of Anarchy Lace being so wide the issues and how they relate to each of us is different so the songwriting may reflect that fact.
What is the writing process like for Anarchy Lace and how do you go about of putting the songs in order.
For the most part , songwriting in Anarchy Lace is done by Lena Campbell and myself. George Bogue has written the music for one song on our cd – “Sweet Dance of Chaos” while Lena and I wrote the lyrics. but i see that scope widening with both Aaron Haakonsen (our drummer ) & Josh Collinson (our bassist) growing more comfortable in their respective roles. Aaron has expressed to me that he plays acoustic guitar and wants to show his stuff. Lena and i have 6 or 7 new songs in the can , riffs and lyrics or just lyrics waiting for us to ease back on the shows to concentrate on finishing them up.
What endorsements do you have and what endorsements do you still want?
I have an endorsement with Wbgear for pedal effects and yes , I want more of all I can get. I’d love to be invited to attend NAMM down in Anaheim. Lena and I are actively seeking ways to get ourselves in positions to be seen and heard to acquire these endorsements. I have a wish list like my fellow musicians… I’d love to have endorsements from : Gibson guitars , Ibanez guitars , Gretsch guitars , Ernie Ball strings… I’d love to have Marshall amps so i could get a great tube amp head along with a couple of cabinets to blow buildings down with. I like so many of my fellow musicians am pursuing these goals like all the goals I have.
Song to be played at your funeral and 3 albums to take to your grave?
I’d love to be part of Van’s Warped Tour, just so I could play with younger bands and reach younger fans. I’d love to tour with Iron Maiden , Aerosmith , Cheap Trick , Judas Priest, Metallica I’d love to sit and chat with or strum acoustic guitars with Neil Young , Bob Dylan, Jimmy Page , Jeff Beck , Joe Perry, Eric Clapton and have a roundtable chat about influences and songwriting tips.
Songs i’d love to have played at my funeral… “Whiter Shade of Pale” – Procol Harum , “After the Goldrush” – Neil Young, “Loadout / Stay” – Jackson Browne , “Little Wing – Jimi Hendrix , “Thank You” – Led Zeppelin, “What You Give” – Tesla.
3 albums I want in my casket or among my ashes are: “Piece of Mind” – Iron Maiden, “Revolver” – The Beatles , Led Zeppelin IV – Led Zeppelin.
Final thoughts, shout outs, dirty jokes?
I love Sacramento’s music scene – plain and simple, I love being in Anarchy Lace playing shows in Sacramento. I am a confident person and I am proud of the band I play in and in the goals we have set for ourselves . I have a dream to see more all age venues where young bands can cut their teeth and evolve into bands that will have staying power. I would love to see older more experienced bands reaching out to help newer bands understand protocol and the etiquette I believe has fallen out of practice in the music scene here and in other cities as well. I have rules as a musician I try hard to live by…i will always be around music , when I’m done playing in a band , I will offer my support and services by managing a band. here are the rules I try to live by :
- 1. Support the whole bill – why pay 5 to 10 dollars if you’re going to leave after your favorite band plays? support the whole bill by staying and networking with other musicians and pushing your product! I love going to shows because I see my friends , comrades in axe who play in bands, new people to meet and talk to about Anarchy Lace. I am out trying to put shows together with other bands we haven’t played with yet as well.
- 2. On stage – give a shout out to the band you’re following as well as the band who is playing after yours. Tell your fans to stay for the whole show with you and hang out.
3. sharing and promoting other band’s shows doesn’t hurt a bit if they are not in conflict with a show i am playing so i share.
- 4. My huge thank you goes to : my family, people who love & support me, my band mates and the Sacramento music scene… whether we like it not , we are a family and i believe when we see that we’re more than downtown grid / outsider rock / young thrash metal heads/punk rockers and work to embrace all rather than divide or segregate by genre the music scene in Sacramento will be a monster that everyone will want to be a part of.