Dust Rises From The Ashes Of A Shattered Metal Hammer
The only thing more ridiculous than that headline might be the lyrics on this album. Thank God ridiculous lyrics don’t disqualify a rock ‘n’ roll record from being phenomenal. Every now and then pompous lyrics and musical mayhem work wonders when combined into a tantalizing metallic tincture. This LP is just that. It’s incredible. I’d rocked out to this record many times before digging in to the lyrics inside the gatefold.
Truth be told, it took me quite a while to locate a copy of the LP so that I could read the lyrics. It’s a pretty rare record. Less so today (more on that later). I had to make due with a Repertoire compact disc reissue for a couple years. And that CD had no lyrics or booklet. Talk about cheapskates. In Repertoire’s defense, the CD did come out in 1989 during a very dark period in the music business.
Imagine my surprise when I read the last few lines of one of this record’s string-heavy molten rockers - “Amethyst and lace, broken women and their dossier, bleeding clowns, with tongues that badly shake, ‘tis the hour of the snake.” I didn’t know what to make of it either. But it finishes an ethereal head game and wild ride called Thusly Spoken.
The album Hard Attack came out in 1972 and it’s the second long player from Dust. The album has ten tracks if you include a 19 second instrumental listed only on the label (the second of two instrumentals) at the end of the b-side. That second wordless wonder is curiously titled Entrance. And, to stay on top of early 70s rock trends, one of the songs – Pull Away/So Many Times – is really a two-parter. Only the prog rockers could imagine 8-12 part pretentious rock “passages” at this point in rock history. The metal heads could stretch only to two parts. And that’s perfect.
The first Dust LP is a self-titled affair that’s eluded me for years. The prices are typically upwards of 100 bones. Which is appropriate because that’s probably a good guess as to the number of bones in the skeletons on the cover of that record. I do have a great sounding Russian bootleg CD (with booklet!) of the first record.
Both Dust LPs are very heavy.
They’re also three other things. Creepy. Cool. Elusive. The trifecta!
Sure, I’ve got a recently reissued Sony/Legacy Record Store Day double LP that combines Dust’s entire recorded output – two records – into one nice double LP package, but owning an original is way cooler, right? Right.
Dust. Who were they? Come to find out they were a hard rock power trio from New York City. Maybe metal. You decide. One thing I’m sure of? Anyone lucky enough to have this record in their collection in the 1970s would have stored it next to the first couple Rainbow records which were probably right next to their Black Sabbath albums. Maybe if they were label freaks they’d store it next to The Flamin’ Groovies Flamingo LP. Though that’s unlikely since those records are very different stylistically. But they are both cool and they’re both on Kama Sutra Records.
Dust was Richie Wise (electric and acoustic guitars, lead and backing vocals), Kenny Aaronson (bass, slide and pedal steel guitars) and Marc Bell (drums and percussion). Hard Attack was co-produced by Richie Wise and Kenny Kerner. Mr. Kerner also co-wrote every track on the record with Mr. Wise.
If the names Kerner and Wise sound familiar to you hard rockers, they should. That’s the team that produced the first two Kiss LPs – Kiss and Hotter Than Hell! Great records! Kenny Aaronson would join the group Stories after Dust called it quits and Marc Bell would Christen himself Marky Ramone when he replaced Tommy as the drummer of The Ramones just in time to record and release 1978s Road To Ruin (my brother’s favorite and the only Ramones record he owned on 8-track as I recall).
Dust. Concussive. Powerful. And Serious as a Hard Attack.
For Weirdos Only:
My original copy (I believe it to be a first pressing) of Dust Hard Attack on vinyl is on the Kama Sutra label that has the Garden of Eden picture with Eve handing Adam the apple. Thee Apple. Same goes for the label on the copy of Hard Attack contained within the Sony/Legacy double LP reissue from a couple months back. The first self-titled Dust LP is on the pink label. “Kama Sutra” is written in cursive and the label sports 8 three-headed Indian gods. Here’s my question. Have you seen a copy of Hard Attack on the pink label? I have a record reference book that lists that record but I wonder if it really exists. I’ve never seen it. Doesn’t mean it’s not out there though. Please send me a copy of it when you find it.
Oh, by the way, the artwork for Hard Attack was created by none other than the fantastical Frank Frazetta. In my opinion, this record cover looks exactly like the record sounds.
UPDATE: My friend Stevo produced a photo of his copy of Hard Attack which is on the pink label. Thanks, Stevo.