Volume 91, Issue 13

Thursday, September 18, 1997



This band is far from Rusty

Gazette file photo

By Kent McKee
Gazette Staff

The intense rock scene of North America is consuming Toronto-based band Rusty like a giant machine that turns delicate little plastic parts into an incredulously marketable product. Although some people feel guitar music is on the way out, Rusty has acquired a sound and vitality that proves rockers and loafers still have a place on the face of this ever-changing and peculiar planet.

"The genre of rock 'n' roll that began in 1956 is still alive and well and I don't think it's going anywhere," proclaims Jim Moore, the intuitive and rather pleasant bassist of Rusty. "People have been plotting the demise of rock 'n' roll since it's conception."

Rusty does have an icon – it's Ken MacNeil, a guy that stuffs his toque with his dreadlocks. He's as photogenic as someone who just got out of bed, and perhaps he just might swallow his own head the next time he yawns.

"North American culture needs to have a talking head," claims Moore. "Techno may not be as popular because there is no face. Prodigy is flying a little bigger because they have that guy."

Although MacNeil is the despotic figure and frontman of the troop, there is no dominating writer of the music. They collectively police their jam sessions to keep the songwriting fresh.

"We work pretty hard to achieve what we have," says Moore, who jokes that in five years the band will be collecting welfare.

Rusty isn't a band you would expect to find your mother listening to. On the other hand, they don't have the excessive drums and grand guitars that inspire metal head-bangers either.

Their characteristic raw sound, brims with riffs and saturated by copious distorted guitar really works. Add the drums and the baggy, throaty vocals and you get Rusty's unmistakable, resonant expression of artfulness.

Rusty interacts intrinsically and thrives during the merriment and glee of playing concerts. Everyone wants a Rusty T-shirt.

"It's not necessarily in numbers but more in interesting things that happen when we are playing," says Moore explaining what turns his crank at a gig. Moore's favourite part of his job is kicking out the low notes when the band is assuring an unexpectedly stellar performance.

Currently, Rusty, playing Saturday at Call the Office, is busy performing all over North America promoting their CD Sophomoric. Despite the variety of people and circumstances, Moore confesses, "Audiences are audiences. In North America it's pretty much the same. Urban is urban, rural is rural. Attitudes are pretty much the same."

Although some people smash their guitars in rage to conform to the idea that rock music is dead, the heart of Rusty seems to be found in the self-assured bassist who states: "I think guitar music is alive and well."

Gazette file photo

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Copyright The Gazette 1997