Lena Campbell of Anarchy Lace “I use music to purge the pain and angst in my heart and soul”

Sacramento, California’s Anarchy Lace is James Cundiff the Mad Axe Daddy on L/R guitar and vocals , Mistress Of Anarchy Lena Campbell on vocals. BRZRKR Haakenson on drums & Shredmaster George “The Butcher ” Bogue on L/R guitar and vocals as well . “The Missing Element” Josh Collinson on bass. They claim to have the work ethic that great music and great shows go hand in hand. Quality over Quantity.

How did you first get into music? Who or what turned you onto punk rock?

I’ve been into rock music since I was young. I think I first heard the Sex Pistols when I was in maybe in junior high and fell in love with the sound and energy. But I love and enjoy all genres of music. My playlists literally include everything from In This Moment to Mozart.

What got you started playing music and how old were you?

I never actually played any instruments or sang at all for most of my life. I was bookworm. Growing up I was painfully shy and actually I would take a 0 on an assignment at school before I would get up and speak in front of class. That’s why I always kept my grades up. So I could afford a fuck up here and there. Even into my 30’s I had a terrible time even looking people in the eye. I was always the quiet nerd with a book in the corner of the lunchroom, whether that was school, or work or wherever. It’s not a fun way to go through life.

I was 39 before I ever started any serious vocal training and I also started picking up basic guitar chords and I can play a few songs on guitar poorly.

What was your local scene like in the beginning, was there a particular band you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?

When I first got into the local scene, I guess I was a teenager. I had friends in bands and remember going out to some local shows. Then life happened and circumstances made it so that I didn’t really get back into the local music scene until I started doing it 3 years ago. There is so much talent out there and people that put on amazing shows and have interesting things to say with their music. Some of my current favorite local bands would be Amber’s Wake, Evolution Revolver, Graybar Hotel, The Ghost Town Rebellion, so many favorites I could never name just one.

I also believe a good way to support our local economy is to go out and enjoy local music. There are gems of venues out there and many musicians in Sacramento just as talented as signed, touring musicians. A fun, inexpensive night out for me includes checking out a band I’ve never seen or heard of and making connections with some awesome people that I might never have gotten to know. Or seeing a local band I have seen multiple times and enjoying the show. I have met so many amazing people and I am so happy that I have found all this in the local Sacramento music scene.

How did you become a vocalist? Are you proficient in any other instruments?

I became a vocalist (which is the LAST thing I’d ever thought to be doing in a band, if I EVER was in a band) when I started a new job. My bandmate James Cundiff walked up to me and asked if I was in a band. I said no…then he asked if I knew how to sing…I said no… and then he said he was looking for someone with my kind of look and said he could work with me.

I started taking vocal lessons at Skip’s on Auburn Blvd with Elizabeth Prince, who has done a fantastic job coaching some sort of acceptable noise from my vocal chords.

Years ago in school I saw some friends getting into bands. I was always so envious, and wished I had the courage and the talent. I don’t think I necessarily have the talent, but I have the courage now and I feel like I have a lot to say through music. At some point in my late 30’s I decided a complete do over was needed before I wasted my life away. Plus, with children of my own, it was important to me to set an example for them, to show them that with some hard work, practice, desire and dedication, anything is possible and that perfection isn’t a necessity to do most things. Life is way too short to not try something you’ve always wanted to try.

Photo by Jennifer Black @ Black J Photo

You are currently in Anarchy Lace, what kind of satisfaction does being a singer in the band give to you?

I love what I do in Anarchy Lace. It gives me freedom to express myself in ways I never thought possible. I can expose secret parts of my brain in sneaky ways on stage and in our music and it is so much fun. I never thought I would have the courage to front a rock/punk band and it has forced some deep personal changes and growth that I have never experienced before.

What do you call the kind of music you perform in Anarchy Lace?

I am not sure how to really categorize it, there’s so much crossover in music which is delightful to me. I guess I would say garage rock, throw in some punk and even some thrash. With the diverse ages in the band and our youngest member George Bogue into the same music I was into when I was a teenager, it makes for some interesting jam sessions in my opinion. George finesses some amazing leads with reminders of old school Megadeth as he channels Dave Mustaine, but George definitely has a unique style and he is so amazing to work with as a bandmate. Then we have James Cundiff on rhythm guitar. James, George and I doing most of the writing, I think it makes for a different sound because of our age differences but I’d really love to hear more ideas from our new bassist Josh Collinson and our drummer Aaron Haakenson..

Out of all your songs which one excites you the most when you perform it?

“Dark Mazes” is by far the most intimate song to perform as far as I’m concerned. I guess it’s really more of a poem set to music. Of course the lyrics changed when James and I worked together on it, so the lyrics aren’t all me, but it’s mostly me and definitely influenced by me. The guitar riff is gritty, dirty raw and has a hot, sticky, southern swamp feel. That one excites me because it exposes so much of me and my ideas on sex in it. I guess deep inside a secret exhibitionist lurks.

I really enjoy performing “Love Rage Chaos” though. It’s a shorter song and it’s more in the classic punk style I suppose. That one is kind of my first jab at arranging a song, of course we all worked on it together, but it’s kind of MY baby. And its so much fun to play live. It’s really my “fuck you” song and I love it.

What is the plan for recording new music, where, when and with who will be recording you?

The last EP we recorded was at J Street Recorders with Jack O’Donnell engineering the project. Being in a band was new, recording anything was new and I would do some things differently next go around. I felt comfortable there and would love to go in again with some of the new stuff we have and see what magic we could work in there now that I have more experience with the entire process under my belt and I am also more comfortable expressing my own ideas to the rest of the guys in the band.

Anarchy Lace is scheduled once again to play Vet Stock, what exactly does Vet Stock do and do you have to be a military veteran to play the show?

You don’t have to be a military veteran to play Vetstock Festival which is awesome since I believe so much in what Vet-Traxx Project Inc. does. Regardless of any political affiliations and all the ugliness and divisiveness there, I believe we should all support America’s military veterans. A few of our band members including me have military veterans in our families as well as family members currently serving.

PTSD can be absolutely devastating to the person affected as well as everyone around them. Eric Lewis of Vet-Traxx Project Inc. started Vetstock Festival last year to bring awareness of what PTSD is and how Vet-Traxx Project Inc. helps veterans through music therapy by bringing veterans together that have shared similar experiences, and are using music as one way of coping with their PTSD. I really respect him, and what he does, and Anarchy Lace is honored to be able to play again this year and help raise awareness for PTSD.

Who are your original influences and who are your current inspirations and admiration’s local and or national?

My original influences would probably surprise people. As a pre-teen I started out on The Cure and Depeche Mode, when I discovered Metallica, Megadeth, Danzig, my world changed. I listened to Rust In Peace so much on cassette tape, I wore it out and had to buy another copy. Metallica’s Kill “Em All album is another album that stands out as a direct influence on my favorite style.

Has music at all been therapeutic for you, is there a particular artist or type of music you go to for comfort?

Music has been hugely therapeutic for me. One of the reasons Vetstock Festival resonates with me is my own struggles with PTSD. I’m not a veteran, but we all know lots of things can cause PTSD. I want to show people that music can be used as a form of therapy, and that is how I use music. I use music to purge the pain and angst in my heart and soul. Then I can go back to my family and be everything I need to be with them.

For comfort, there are certain types of music I will listen to. It depends on what exactly I am trying to comfort, if it’s anger or sadness it’s always hard to pin down just one type of music. One particular artist that has always spoken to me, even before his tragic suicide last year is Chester Bennington from Linkin Park. Since the first time I listened to their music way back in 2000, his passion and his authenticity with the way he sang always resonated with me. He was 8 days older than me, and we kind of had similar experiences growing up. And they have a song for every mood I am in.

How would you like to be remembered?

I would like people to remember that I tried to be a better version of me every single day and I hope to maybe inspire people to do the same. Every day I try to do one little thing to better myself, and as far as music goes even if I wasn’t perfect or great at music, I still tried it. And I feel like, musically, I really have a lot to be proud of since I started from ground zero at 39 years old.

What was the first music you bought, what was the first concert you saw, where was it and with who?

First music I bought was a cassette tape of The Cure’s Fascination Street. Loved that album the first time I listened to it all the way through and I love it to this day.
My first concert was Ozzy Osbourne, I am sure I still have the ticket stub somewhere, I was 15 years old and it was out at Cal Expo. I went with two of my best girlfriends at the time. We had a blast and still one of my fondest memories.

Top 5 albums or songs released in the last 12 months and all time?

Top of the list – In This Moment”s “Ritual” I think that was released last year sometime. There are so many great songs on that album that speak to me and where I am at in life right now. Their cover of “In The Air Tonight” gives me chills. I have no idea if this is a top of all time for me or just the last 12 months, but it’s one of my favorite albums to listen to currently.

Tool’s “Aenima” is definitely one of the top 5 for me of all time. The songs and music are still as relevant today as they were 22 years ago when I bought the album. My kids grew up being forced to listen to that one a lot and they both are teenagers and love it. I enjoy all of Tool’s albums but that one is my favorite. I told them that it will start to mean different things as they go through different stages in their lives. Everything is so intricate, the drumming, the bass lines, the lyrics. I have never tired of listening to that album. I can’t think of a song on there that I skip through.

I will probably get made fun of for saying this, since I am not a 14-year-old girl, but Motionless In White released Graveyard Shift last year sometime, and while I am not super into every song on that album, there’s a couple songs that really stand out for me, as far as recent releases. I really love the energy they have and the song “Voices” is in my playlist along with “Necessary Evil” and a couple others. I think they have some gems on all of their albums in different ways and their energy is infectious and gets me hyped up.

I recently obtained a copy of Megadeth’s Rust In Peace album, and remembered why I wore it out. It’s absolutely fantastic in so many ways. That one is an all time favorite, and another one I have recently gotten my own teenagers into.

Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All album. I love every song on that album and that was another cassette tape I wore out as a teenager.

You’re on a desert island and only have three albums to listen to for the rest of eternity, what are they and why?

Eternity is a long time when there’s so much fabulous music out there. The Cure’s “Fascination Street”, I love all songs on that album. It’s also great for just chilling out to and just listening to the music, the words. It stands out to me as a great album lyrically and musically all the way through.

Marilyn Manson’s “Portrait of American Family”– so gritty, dirty, raw and I have never gotten sick of listening to it and I doubt I ever will. I don’t care what anyone thinks, raw, gritty dirty music makes me feel alive.

What does rock n roll mean to you?

Rock n Roll to me actually doesn’t mean sex, drugs and up all night partying. I think of rock n roll as a valid form of expressing anger and frustration, pleasure and pain through music. I think it’s a great way for all of us who play it, and enjoy it as listeners to let a bit of our “id” out to play. We dress up, sing outrageous songs, come together and enjoy one another’s company.

We can connect through the music in so many ways, reach out to our tribe and just “feel” one another. I know that sounds “new agey”, but I am in a space in life where some of those ideas really resonate with me. More understanding of one another, more love and light, which I think we can attain in some forms, through music.
The beauty of rock music though, is that we can also communicate through music that being a hard ass is sometimes required in life. Just because I want more love and light in the world, doesn’t mean I will let any person or government take advantage of me or run all over me and I can express that in our music.

Be sure to catch Anarchy Lace this weekend at VETFest at Bones Roadhouse for Military Family Support Group July 7th @ Bones Roadhouse 4430 Pleasant Valley Rd, Placerville, California 95667…

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