IT'S BEEN eight years since Cusses tore onto the Savannah scene and two years since they announced a hiatus. After a big Jinx send-off, vocalist Angel Bond returned to Los Angeles, spending her days writing, biking to the beach, bartending, and picking up film jobs.
Drummer Brian Lackey headed to North Carolina, while guitarist Bryan Harder held it down in Savannah with his wife and family. With its members scattered across the country, a Cusses reunion seemed unlikely to fans, until a surprising post popped up on the band’s Facebook page in late July 2016: “CUSSES HERE WE COME.”
The trio has utilized many a rehearsal space throughout their time as a band; now, they’re sitting in The Garage in Midtown Savannah, glowing after rehearsal. Lackey’s pouring sweat from beating the devil out of his drums, and there’s a tangible excitement: Cusses is back, y’all.
In what capacity? For how long? That’s up in the air. Right now, they’re just glad to make music together once more.
“Why are we playing together again, gentlemen?” Bond asks her bandmates with a wry smile when the question is posed.
“It’s cheaper than therapy,” Harder suggests.
“Friendship,” Lackey adds.
Bond nods in agreement with their answers.
“I think we have a very special thing,” she says. “Musically, and chemistry-wise. It’s very hard to find that. It’s nice to be back in a room together and play together.”
For two and a half weeks, Cusses has been sweating it out in their rehearsal space, hashing out old favorites and even putting the final touches on some new cuts.
Though the newer stuff will be fresh to the audience, some of it’s been in the Cusses vault for some time now.
“Two [of the songs] were full-fledged years ago, but we stopped working on them, then held onto them,” Lackey explains. “Now, we’ve completely changed them.”
Turns out, the break was a helpful, creative breath.
“You know, you put the toys down, pick them up after a while, and they look a little different,” Harder observes. “And these songs might change again before we record them.”
Harder didn’t take on any new musical projects during the hiatus, but he did play guitar at home by himself. Without Lackey’s intense drumming and Bond’s vocals, he began to see things from a new perspective.
“When I play alone, it tends to sound different,” he says. “One of the new [songs] is a result of me playing by myself, and when you don’t turn up, you can articulate a little better.”
“I feel like it was good to step away, because sometimes you get so wrapped up in the push of it rather than the creation of it,” Bond says.
The band was certainly tied up in the business and promotional end of things before their hiatus began; their second album, Golden Rat, is still in the can, though it was finished a few years back.
They released an EP with a handful of tracks from the album in 2015 while weighing their distribution and label options, and they’re planning on making a few music videos, releasing a couple singles, and eventually get all of the eleven tracks out there.
“The way it works now, people don’t even listen to a full album anymore,” says Bond. “We’d like to get as much life out of it as possible.”
Fans can look forward to hearing some of the newer material at their Jinx return this weekend. Bond hints that there’s plenty of the band’s signature tenacity, but there’s also a softer side to some of the songs.
“It’s like, adult Cusses,” she laughs.
They’ll head up to Atlanta for a show at The Earl the day after the big hometown gig and will book a few gigs throughout the Southeast over the next months. The key is keeping it low-pressure.
“We’re going to see if we still like each other, play music, and take it from there,” Bond smiles.
“We haven’t planned too much,” says Lackey. We’re just hanging out and having a good time.”
“If it’s just music that’s the motivator, I tend to be more creative and happy about it,” Harder adds. “Once you start to push shows and how you’re going to do this and that and make money, then it’s like, ‘Ugh, I have a job.’”
“Right now, we just want to be together, play music, and write new songs,” Bond says. “We’re taking a relaxed approach about it, and we’ll see how it all unfolds.”