The April 8 release of the Anthony Cullins compact disc “Hittin’ All Cylinders” culminates approximately a year’s work on that CD for Cullins.
“It’s a good learning experience,” Cullins said.
“Hittin’ All Cylinders” is Cullins’ first full CD, although he released an extended play album in spring 2016. “I am glad to have the opportunity to record at the age of 14,” said Cullins, who turned 16 in December. “I’m pretty honored to have done that.”
Cullins was 15 when he recorded the full CD; the first recording session was in September and his final studio appearance was in December. Cullins recorded “Hittin’ All Cylinders” at The Musicians Workshop in Ontario.
Although Cullins was born at Tri-City Hospital in Oceanside he is a lifelong Fallbrook resident. He attended William Frazier Elementary School and Potter Junior High School and now attends Mission Vista High School on the Oceanside/Vista/Bonsall border.
Cullins formed his first band, Lucid, when he was 12. He was in Lucid for approximately a year. “I started doing my own thing,” he said.
He formally uses Anthony Cullins for his solo projects, but he is also known as The Fallbrook Kid. “I didn’t actually start calling myself that. The House of Blues started calling me that,” he said.
Cullins has attended Wednesday night jam sessions at the House of Blues in Downtown San Diego. Other musicians and audience members began referring to Cullins as The Fallbrook Kid.
The House of Blues events are significant for more than just Cullins’ nickname. “That was about the first thing I did outside North County,” he said.
Cullins subsequently has performed in open microphone and jam sessions as well as some booked engagements in southern Riverside County, Orange County, and Los Angeles County. He has also played and sang throughout San Diego County, as his open microphone performances include the Downtown Cafe in El Cajon. “I’ve been trying to play anywhere I can whenever I can,” he said.
When Cullins was 13 he formed a band called the Vigilantes. He remains in the Vigilantes and also engages in solo performances. He was billed as The Fallbrook Kid in June 2016 when he made his San Diego County Fair debut at the Coors Light Rock On Stage.
“Hittin’ All Cylinders” has 11 songs and could be described as funk and blues rock. “The whole album is really based off of blues roots,” Cullins said.
Cullins plays electric guitar but not acoustic guitar on the compact disc although he plays both guitar types during his live performances. “I balance it out,” he said. “I play them both about an equal amount.”
At the age of 10, Cullins first began playing the guitar. “I started taking lessons and played acoustic guitar for about half of that year,” he said.
He then added the electric guitar, but not at the expense of playing the acoustic instrument. “That’s not really been a move,” he said.
Cullins uses his own name as the artist for “Hittin’ All Cylinders”, but some of the Vigilantes members served as studio musicians and some guest appearances were made during the recording sessions. Jody Bagley is the keyboardist, Bruce Borden plays the bass, Dwane Hathorn is on the drums, Joe Mansfield provides harmonica accompaniment, and Gino Matteo contributed his guitar expertise.
“I’m honored to be able to work with the musicians I’ve been able to work with,” Cullins said.
Cullins also performs the vocals on his CD and wrote all 11 songs. “I kind of started writing in May last year,” he said.
He continued writing songs until he was ready to begin recording. “I figured I had enough to just go in the studio and do a full-length
album,” he said.
Chance Pataki was the lead engineer for “Hittin’ All Cylinders”.
Cullins has also benefitted from Ernie Ball Music Man guitars and from BC Audio amplifiers.
One of the songs on “Hittin’ All Cylinders” is “Witchcraft Love”, which in November 2016 earned Cullins the Best Youth Original honor at the Temecula Valley Music Awards.
In January, Cullins was invited to perform at the National Association of Music Merchants exhibition at the Anaheim Convention Center. He played before approximately 3,000 people, which is his largest live audience to date. “It was an honor to be able to do that,” he said.
On March 30, Cullins and his band recorded at the Thunderbird Sessions, which is being produced by Kenneth Rexrode, at Thomas Yearsley’s Thunderbird Analog Recording Studio in Oceanside. The Thunderbird Sessions CD will feature highlight songs from various local bands and will be released later this year.
“I feel like every CD is going to be a big learning experience,” Cullins said.