In 1986, smack dab in the middle of a "you boys don't belong down here neighborhood", The Dusters began crafting their revved-up version of the blues. Fueled by a never-say-die attitude and a large dose of their next door neighbor's barbeque, they set out in a beat up van, relentlessly playing every dive and juke joint from Austin, Texas, to New York City, performing up to 300 nights a year.
All the sleepless nights and truck stop meals paid off, and the boys caught the attention of an independent record label in Nashville, Tennessee, who released their first EP "Red Hot and Ready to Roll". As with many independent releases of the time it did not attract much attention in the metal-laden hairspray music industry of the time, but it did provide The Dusters with a respectable calling card for booking purposes and landed them opening spots on tours with The Fabulous Thunderbirds, The Tailgators, and The True Believers.
With the release of their first full-length effort, "This Ain't No Jukebox... We're a Rock n' Roll Band", The Dusters began to receive much appreciated critical acclaim and national attention. They landed several Mid-South Music Awards, product endorsements and even recorded a national radio spot for Miller Brewing Company's Genuine Draft Tap Into the Cold advertising campaign. With the increased national exposure, came opening spots on tours with Johnny Winter, The Georgia Satellites and John Lee Hooker. The boys were even picked as Grand Marshals for the International Hot Rod Association, appearing trackside for meet and greets at several drag races. The new CD was then picked up by France's DixieFrog Records and released in Europe.
The Dusters had achieved international notoriety and were revered by European critics and fans alike. The group's fiery style earned them a cult status in roots rock circles in Europe. In the wake of their overseas success, the band's drummer resigned, citing personal problems and an inability to continue with the rigors of non-stop touring. While The Dusters were selling out shows in America and enjoying success in Europe, their American releases were not reaching their audience. Frustrated and forced to find a new drummer, The Dusters took a short break to re-arm and began writing songs for their third release.
At the end of a three-week period, The Dusters had new material, a new drummer and a new lease on life. The band's line up consisted of original members, Ken McMahan on guitar and vocals and David Barnette on bass, and a freshly initiated Chicago blues drummer by the name of Jeffrey Perkins. The revived and rested Dusters entered the legendary Quad Studios to begin work on their next effort, "Unlisted Number". Once completed, DixieFrog released the disc in Europe and the boys embarked on another European tour. Playing to sold out shows, an in-store performance at Paris' Virgin Megastore that resulted in the Paris Police being called in for crowd control, The Dusters were on the verge of international success. However at home, things weren't going as well. The disc, failed to be released in the U.S., as the label to which they were signed, began to sputter and misfire. Frustrated by the two opposite degrees of success on different continents, The Dusters decided it was time to take some time to reflect and reevaluate their business representation. Signed to an ironclad contract, Ken and David decided to take an extended break to allow their contractual obligations to lapse without lawsuits and damaged emotions.
Jump forward several years, to a chance meeting on, of all places, Beale Street, Memphis. David and Ken could not believe the coincidence of running into each other on the street that spawned the Blues and Rock 'n' Roll movements. While they originally had every intention of getting back together after their original contract had expired, life whether good or bad has a way of running on its own terms. David was now pursuing a life-long dream of building and restoring '50s hotrods and motorcycles in Southern California and Ken was pursuing a solo career and about to start work on a new studio release with Jeffery on drums. Ken's new songs were blues- rock and it only seemed natural to ask if David would play on the disc.
And play they did. With their friend Dan Baird, formerly of the Georgia Satellites, at the production helm and the former trio back intact, The Dusters' fourth disc, "DANG!", released in Europe on their former overseas label DixieFrog Records and domestically available on Lucky Hand Records. A European tour followed. The Dusters, with Dan Baird on Rhythm Guitar and Mauro Magellan (also of The Georgia Satellites) on Drums, toured in support of "DANG!" The group played to sold-out crowds in France, Spain, Austria, Germany, Holland and the United Kingdom. Following the European run, Ken and David decide it is time to return the acoustic roots and raw emotional power of the early Delta Blues.
In an effort to celebrate the music of the Delta Region, both past and present, The Dusters, using history as inspiration, retrace the 1941 footsteps of famed folklorist Alan Lomax, John W. Work III and The Fisk University-Library of Congress Coahoma County Study. On Aug 31 through Sept 3, to the very day, The Dusters return to Stovall Farms, to the very site Alan Lomax and John Work first recorded a then unknown bluesman, known as "Mississippi" Muddy Water and recorded his "I Be's Troubled" and others.
The days and months following the field recordings, The Dusters track at the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis and at Hopson Plantation in a 1940's Share-cropper shack, using period instruments and amplifiers.
The recordings feature legendary blues musicians such as Pinetop Perkins (Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters), Big Jack Johnson (The Oil Man), J.M. Van Eaton (Jerry Lee Lewis), Eddie Shaw (Howlin' Wolf), and T-Model Ford.
In keeping with the spirit of the original recordings made by Lomax and associates, the sessions also feature various musicians from the Tennessee/Mississippi Delta and Texas. The Dusters' David and Ken are joined by platinum selling guitarists Mike Scaccia (Rigor Mortis/Ministry) and Nick Kane (The Mavericks), Terry "Big T" Williams, Lightnin' Malcolm, Cedric Burnside and others including local Clarksdale, MS musicians B.J. Stokes and Omar Gordon.
The Dusters are currently putting the final touches on this exciting project.