Dust To Dust - New Beginnings

Interviewed by Keith McDonald

Brooklyn's own Dust To Dust, the brainchild of bassist/vocalist Rob Traynor, have delivered an explosive package of keyboard driven songs on their debut self-titled album via Sanctuary Records. The band, Rob, guitarist Stuart Berenson, keyboardist James Craig and drummer Steve Tobin, are the first unknown band signed to Sanctuary. The label that boasts such established artists as Queensryche, Tesla, Megadeth and Dokken. The whole project came about when Rob recorded a demo that eventually found it's way from one A&R reps hands to another creating a huge buzz for the band. I had the opportunity to speak with Rob who filled me in on how everything came about. You can check out their website at www.dusttodustmusic.com.

How did the band start?
I have a home studio and was doing a lot of songwriting on my own. I didn't have a band. I do a ton of (writing) and use a drum machine, play guitar and bass, keyboards and vocals. My best buddy, James Meselsohn, was the bassist in Boiler Room. To make a long story short, they had Larry Mazer as their manager. I was working a steady job and wasn't looking for a record deal. (James) heard my CD that I had just finished and handed it over to Larry, my manager right now. Larry started shopping it and got a lot of interest from a bunch of labels.



How is the New York City music scene?
Sucks. Has sucked for years. One of the main reasons I bailed out of the music scene. The mid 80's to mid 90's, it was whole different deal. Then the whole grunge movement came in and it went to shit. New York was one of the first scenes to die. A lot of the clubs (closed). The band I was in before Dust To Dust, we were managed by Loud & Proud management, which owned L'Amours. They ended up closing L'Amours which is sad. It's coming back a little bit because the whole rock scene is coming back.



Why did you quit the music business?
I took about a four or five year hiatus. Things were going really well for me in the last band I was in. We were the only band signed to Loud & Proud, which had White Lion and Tyketto, that didn't get a record deal. The timing was horrendous. At the time, I had enough of the bullshit. I gotta eat, so I had to go out and get a real job. Other industry types that I met that discouraged me too. I just wasn't down to do this thing. I still loved to write and that's what I did.



How did Sanctuary come into the picture?
When they made an offer I didn't know who the hell they were. I heard they bought CMC and a few other labels. When I first met with them I was totally flattered. They had this huge plaque of Iron Maiden. Bruce Dickinson, Halford, COC, Queensryche and Tesla were signed to Sanctuary. It was like being in the presence of royalty. They signed the band without even seeing us (play live), signed off the demo. Here's a label that's not like the MTV generation. They loved the music and that spoke volumes. This is the first new act that Sanctuary had taken on...very flattering. We did showcases for Dreamworks and other big labels and had opportunities. (Sanctuary) is into building careers and are behind us 100%.



Do you feel like being on a smaller label like Sanctuary will help the band?
They have their growing pains. They're a brand new label. They're working out a new radio department and are hiring new people and have a great crew there now. Tom Lipsky has gone out of his way to call me. If we signed with Dreamworks and it didn't work with the first single they'd show us the door. I'm in it for the long haul; I'm not expecting overnight success. I don't want this to be Linkin Park. I grew up on bands like Metallica that took it from the ground up. That's the way I wanna do this, I want a career. I want a label that's behind me and cares about what I do.



What are your tour plans?
We're going out on the road with Type-O Negative which we're looking forward to. I have a lot of respect for Pete (Steele) and the band. (They) gave us the opportunity. Pete came to four or five of our shows. He was into the keyboards and heavy guitars. He digs what we're doing.



What single is at radio and how's it doing so far?
Submission. To me it's doing surprisingly well. That song I wasn't even going to put on the album. It's got a salsa rhythm but is heavy. The stations are taking it, 40 adds with some major markets. I'm pretty psyched.



Will there be a video?
We haven't decided what video we're gonna do. With the whole radio thing, Sanctuary was not ready to release it yet. Since then they've hired new people. It's tough call. I think the label is gonna see which song takes and that'll be the one. We don't want to make a cheap video, do it right.



Where does the songwriting come from?
I just write about things on my mind, in the news that day or things that are bothering me. I'm not writing about anything that goes over anybody's head. There are a lot of songs about drugs and stuff that I've witnessed growing up. I touch on a number of subjects; it's a way to vent.



Who are your influences?
A lot of old metal. I worshiped Iron Maiden, early Metallica. I was really into a lot of thrash, Exodus and Slayer. A lot of 80's bands and hair bands. I like a lot of new metal and you can see the influences.



What's the future for Dust To Dust?
Couldn't tell you. Probably the 99 cent bin, just not too soon (laughs). Hopefully keep playing, a lot of touring. This has been blessing to me. One of those things I didn't see coming. I'm happy and content to be given the opportunity to record my music and honored that Sanctuary had the faith in me and signed me.

Official website

CD Review
Dust To Dust - s/t
Reviewed: September 2001 | Released: 2001, Sanctuary Records

2001 Metal Rules!!

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Saturday, November 17, 2001