There are few artists you can single-handedly point to as being a trailblazers of a specific musical style. But when it comes to American heavy metal, Dust is one such band. Comprised of singer/guitarist/songwriter Richie Wise, bassist Kenny Aaronson, and drummer Marc Bell (with Kenny Kerner supplying lyrics and sharing songwriting and production duties), the band issued a pair of cult classic albums – 1971’s self-titled debut and 1972’s Hard Attack – before splitting up. Both albums have been long out-of-print, but headbangers will now get a chance to discover the legend, as Sony/Legacy will be reissuing both albums on a remastered (from the original analog master tapes) single CD on April 16th, with a Record Store Day exclusive vinyl version released on April 20th.
“We were loud and fast, and it was just unreal,” recalls Wise. “Even when we played low, we were 20 times louder than everybody else. When we got our record deal, I got three Marshall stacks, Kenny Aaronson bought four Acoustic 360 watt amps, Marc bought this huge set of Ludwigs with a big 28-inch bass drum. On stage, it was just an amazing amount of exhale – not a whole lot of inhale.”
And while they may not have acquired fame with Dust, all four aforementioned contributors found success elsewhere – Bell as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame/Grammy Award-winning drummer for the Ramones (after changing his name to Marky Ramone), Aaronson as a bassist-for-hire with rock’s elite (Bob Dylan, Sammy Hagar, Joan Jett), and Kerner & Wise as a successful production duo (who produced Kiss’ first two classic albums).
As evidenced by such metallic rockers as From A Dry Camel, Suicide, and Stone Woman, the band had no problem matching the power and the fury of such peers as Black Sabbath.
“Musically, locally, we stuck out,” explains Bell. “We were teenagers, but we were pretty developed as musicians – concerning that genre. Nobody else in Brooklyn that I knew of could do what we could do as a threesome. And we had a style. Yeah, we could all play blues and rock, but we took it further. We took it to different time changes within the songs, and people weren’t doing that at that time.”
With modern day technology at their disposal, the newly remastered Dust release rocks harder than ever before – as the band worked directly with the original master tapes. “We tweaked it a bit,” points out Aaronson. “But didn’t want to stray too far from the original, because that’s what people who do know it are used to. If it was up to me, I was thinking, ‘I wish I could remix the whole record,’ but the remastering was nice.”
But it’s the quality of Dust’s music that has persevered all these years, and the proof is within the upcoming ‘Dust/Hard Attack’ reissue. “I think the music is relevant today,” says Kerner. “I think young kids who never heard it before will find new metal heroes, and people who grew up with Dust will rekindle their love for this music and this band!”