Dustin Douglas & The Electric Gentlemen
“All I’m trying to do is continue the tradition of The Stones, Zeppelin and The Faces,” says lead guitarist/singer/songwriter Dustin Douglas of the modern blues rock band Dustin Douglas & The Electric Gentlemen. “Take the traditional blues spirit, mix it with some heavy rock n’ roll and play it for a new generation.”
Dustin and his bandmates—drummer Tommy Smallcomb and bassist Matt “The Dane” Gabriel—impressively underline their chops and style on their third album Black Leather Blues in April 2023 via MoMojo Records. The 10-song album was launched with two punchy singles and videos—Broken” and “Why Would You Say Such A Thing”—that were followed by the current video for the moody acoustic ballad “Change,” filmed on location in the band’s home state of Pennsylvania.
10 QUESTIONS WITH DUSTIN DOUGLAS:
TALKING ABOUT THE ‘BLACK LEATHER BLUES’ ALBUM
Congrats on your new album Black Leather Blues (released April 14, 2023, via MoMojo Records), which is modern blues-rock with plenty of attitude and drama. What do you want music fans to take away from this album?
Dustin Douglas (singer, songwriter and guitarist): Thank you! I want fans to know that old-school rock n’ roll is alive and well. Old school spirited rock n roll music in the vein of Aerosmith, The Cream and Cactus is not a dying breed. But it’s not just for the classic rock enthusiasts. There’s certainly a fresh, modern element to it as well. I listen to Rage Against the Machine and Paramore as much as I listen to Zeppelin and Stevie Ray Vaughan. It’s an old school spirit for the new school soul.
If you were to record a duet with a current artist outside the genre of music for which you’re known, who might that be, and which song would you cover and why?
Dustin: That’s a wicked question. There’s an alternative country artists named Koe Wetzel that I dig. Like myself, he brings this punk rock energy to his genre of music and it’s killer. We both definitely grew up listening to things outside of our genre like Blink 182, hip hop and some new metal. I think if we duetted on and old school Blink 182 song, it would be super fun to put a blues/rock, country rock spin on it. Break all the rules! Haha.
Dustin Douglas & The Electric Gentlemen are known as a powerful live act. Have any rituals on your own, or with the band, before hitting the stage to psych yourself up?
Dustin: Before I hit the stage, I really like to slow things down for a few minutes and say “thank you” a few times to myself. Call it meditation if you will. Just to give thanks for the opportunity to be doing this for a living. It truly is a dream come true. Plus I do some some stretching!
Can you talk about particular books or films that have helped shape your sensibility as an artist?
Dustin: As a child I read so many music biographies. The first I can remember is Hammer Of The Gods, the Zeppelin story—my parents had a hard cover of it laying around. I’ve read that one a number of times. More recently, the Joe Perry, Keith Richards and Ozzy bios were all great. It’s safe to say that if it’s a music biography, chances are I’ve read it.
If you could have a conversation with anyone who’s living or dead, who would it be and why?
Dustin: My first hero growing up was Elvis Presley. I think it would be great to sit and talk with Elvis about all of the peaks and valleys of his career. Especially knowing what we know now about it. I’d also love to talk with Keith Richards because who wouldn’t!!??
Have you had a Spinal Tap moment in your career so far?
Dustin: There’s always Spinal Tap moments that happen! The one that instantly comes to mind is showing up to a gig and realizing my guitars somehow did not make it to the show. That’s one I will always remember.
Is there a song you crank up on Friday night to kick off the weekend—and a song you kick back with on a Sunday morning?
Dustin: Man, AC/DC is always a safe bet to kick off the weekend right. Or sometimes I’ll throw on some old school hip-hop. I listen to it all. On a relaxing Sunday, I love to throw on some classical music or lately it’s been Alice in Chains Unplugged. You never know what you’re going to hear around here!
What advice would you give now to your younger self?
Dustin: I’d have to tell a younger me to just relax a bit more. When you’re younger, you spend a lot of time stressed about the outcome of everything. Worrying gets you nowhere and changes nothing. Everything works out the way it was intended to, as long as you put in the hard work and have the vision. I truly believe that.
What was the first concert you attended and what was it like?
Dustin: When I was 10 years old, my parents took me to the local amphitheater to see Aerosmith. It changed my life forever. From that moment on, I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
Which two bands would you like to open for, and why, in that dream bill in your mind?
Dustin: For me, I’d love to share the stage with Aerosmith and The Black Crowes. Coincidentally, Aerosmith just announced their farewell tour with the Black Crowes supporting. That would be a dream come true. Not only because they’re two of my all-time favorite bands, but because I know the audience would understand what we do as a band and totally get it. Let the manifestation begin!
DUSTIN DOUGLAS & THE ELECTRIC GENTLEMEN
L-R: Tommy Smallcomb, Drums; Dustin Douglas, Vocals/Guitar; Matt Gabriel, Bass
Photo credit: Brittany Boote
Cover art for Black Leather Blues