Man vs. machine

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

There’s Delta blues, Chicago blues, Texas blues, Piedmont blues and Jump blues, to name a few, but Everett “Dusty” Dutschke is taking the blues to new places.
Dusty is making his own brand of blues, armed with his guitar and his Boss drum machine, which he lovingly calls “The Boss.” A drum machine in blues music? There’s a first time for everything.
“That’s how I came up with the name, RoboDrum. We get criticized all the time because,” he said, mocking his critics’ Southern accent, “‘You don’t have a drummer.’”

Finding a place
Dusty grew up in a musical family in Texas. He moved to Mississippi as a teenager and began working in broadcasting, always working on music. He played with several different bands but nothing seemed to stick, so in the late 2000s, he started RoboDrum.
Blues is Dusty’s first love, but he wanted to make the genre his own.
“The only decision I made was to modernize the blues,” he said. “The blues is stuck on a 65-year-old shelf. It’s been played the same way.”
The blues appeals to listeners of every age, he said, and he wanted a sound that could appeal to everyone, too.
He’s released two RoboDrum albums, “For Your Leather” and “Guitar Czar,” as a solo act – “For Your Leather” in 2009 and “Guitar Czar” in February.
He wanted to add “a new flavor” to his music, so he teamed with Reginald “Se’an” Farris, a Tupelo musician who comes from more of a classical background.
“We have two entirely different styles, but together it works,” Se’an said. “It shouldn’t work, but it does.”
And as for that third member – “The Boss”? Dusty admits there’s some novelty to a blues band using a drum machine as a drummer, but “The Boss” meets his needs.
“It happened out of necessity. Tupelo has a shortage of bass players and drummers,” he said. “I became very loop-oriented, so I didn’t need that person.”

On the road
Neither does the audience, apparently. He said he’s heard some complaints about the mechanical drummer, but “it takes them about a half a second to forget about (the machine) in a live show.”
A RoboDrum live show showcases both songs from the two albums as well as a few covers. Se’an and Dusty allow the music to breathe a little bit live – and it’s not like the drum machine can complain.
“I’m a greedy blues guitarist, so I like a lot of space” to improvise, Dusty said.
Dusty and Se’an are now promoting “Guitar Czar” by performing locally and regionally, as well as with a few tours that will take the guys thousands of miles from home.
For Dusty, writing, recording and performing his own music is as much a necessity as breathing.
“This goes back to who we are as people,” he said. “People don’t pay attention to their creative side. It’s important to me for me to have that balance.”

Contact Daily Journal writer Sheena Barnett at 678-1580 or sheena.barnett@djournal.com. Also read her entertainment blog, Scene Now, at NEMS360.com/pages/scene_now.

Learn more:
Who: RoboDrum, made up of Everett “Dusty” Dutschke and Reginald “Se’an” Farris