Burning Stars: Your third album, Roll The Dice, came out a few months ago. What can you tell me about it? How many songs
did you write for the album and how did you narrow it down to the 11 you chose?
Dustin Hengst (drums): Mike Woods wrote about 30 songs total for the album, and we feel like we chose the best 11 original
songs. It's always hard picking the best out of that many, but we really wanted this record to tell a story, the story of life in a
band, so that's how we selected the tracks.
BS: Did you do anything different this time around in the studio or writing than on your past albums?
Dustin: Well, we split time between L.A and Connecticut studios, which was new for us. We also were a lot more open minded
about arrangements this time around, I think Mike's original concepts for the songs remained mostly intact, and we were
more open to exploring new ideas with keyboards and such.
BS: You worked with producers David Spreng and Greg DiCrosta. What was it like working with them? You've worked with
David Spreng before on your last album, Out Here All Night. What made you want to work with him again?
Dustin: Simply put, David Spreng is an amazing producer. He was like the 5th member of the band during the "Out Here All
Night" sessions, and has an amazing ear for rock and roll. Once you establish that connection and that brotherhood with a
creative partner, it becomes sacred. But you also are always looking for that new blood, that fresh set of ears, which is why we
chose Greg DiCrosta to produce the second half of the record. He is an old friend of ours from New Haven, CT., and we can't
say enough good things about him, he is truly a student of the recording arts.
BS: The song you chose as the first single/video is "Talk Of The Town". How did you decide on that to be the first single to
represent the album?
Dustin: We thought that song really grabbed the listener by surprise, it was mostly meant to just get you to go, 'huh?' and
wake up a little, and kinda rattle your cage to remind everyone that we were back. It's also a good stripper song, haha.
BS: This is the first album that had songs where Mike and Vazquez sang lead vocals on a couple songs. Can you explain how
the decision was made that those songs would be included on the album?
Dustin: Well, Noelle had suggested when we were in Vegas a few years back on tour that on the next record we try a few
tunes with Vaz or Woods singing lead, you know kinda like Kiss, The Who or The Cars might do. So when it came down to it,
we just ran with the idea. We have always thought of ourselves as a multi-talented band; each member is a great
singer-songwriter in their own right, and we just wanted to showcase that.
BS: Out of the twelve tracks you put on the album, which was your favorite to write and/or record and why?
Dustin: I think collectively our favorite is the last track, "When It Ends". It pretty much sums up the finality of loving each
other as band members, but also moving on with your own lives. As much as we had a fear of failure, there is also something
to be said of fearing success.
BS: You covered "You Could Be Mine" by Guns And Roses. What made you choose that song?
Dustin: We were approached by Classic Rock Magazine to record a song for a special CD they were releasing featuring cover
versions of rock songs from famous movies. At first we considered "Dream Warriors" by Dokken from the Freddy films, then
we considered "Against All Odds", but finally settled on the GnR tune, and it turned out so good we released it again on our
BS: As of right now you don't have any tours announced. Do you have anything in the works?
Dustin: Not right now. Noelle has decided to commit some time to environmental work in Vermont, she has a passion for
environmental causes, so we will be waiting for her to decide when we can tour again.
BS: What does Damone have in store for the fans for the remainder of 2009?
Dustin: Hopefully we can get back out there and play the new tunes for the fans, but that's up to Noelle, she's an
environmentalist now. We might have to get one of those conversion tour busses that runs on grease or whatever too, haha.
(Dustin passed away in 2011. RIP Dustin.)
Damone interview by: Maureen Benedict