Faces of Kingston: Dustin Bryant

Andrew Parker (photo by Morgan Y. Evans)

Dustin Bryant is the operator of the popular and important Planet Woodstock Music store at 1112 Morton Blvd. in Kingston. A premiere spot for music gear, in-store events and servicing as well as a small vinyl shop, the place is a one stop shop for musicians in these parts and was a dream come true for longtime Kingston enthusiast Bryant. This week, Faces of Kingston focuses on this figure in the local music scene

Morgan Y. Evans: How long have you been here, for those who don’t know? 

Dustin Bryant: Well, I grew up in Accord and I’ve lived in Kingston now for over 11 years. I went to LA after high school and then I moved back. 

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Just lived the dream out there for a while? Neighbors with Pamela Anderson?

My first apartment had a Jacuzzi and pool on the roof. You could see the Hollywood sign. I was like, “Oh, this is how it is.” Making not the smartest decision to purchase a bar as a 23-year-old brought me back to Kingston, but in retrospect it now is probably one of the best places to be. I got out of the bar business quite quickly and got back into my wheelhouse, which is music gear and guitars and all that. I started working at Abrams Music when I was in high school, then Musicians Institute in California. When I came back Tom Benton was doing his Planet Noise thing out in Woodstock. Tom Benton is how I got my shop name, through him. He let me kind of take it over and we moved to Kingston in 2010. It’s pretty cool to be coming up on that milestone. 

How would you describe what you do here?

We have a mix of everything. Drum gear, guitars, used vinyl, tambourines. We also have a really cool stage where we have bands once a month. We try to also showcase high school bands and get young bands in to shred and have an awesome time. It is also cool because when they need a string they can just get it right here. 

Do you also do in-house repairs?

Sometimes the day of a show I fix people’s guitars! We also do lessons. A little bit of everything. Band instrument rentals for schools. 

What first made you as a young person think music related work would be something you’d enjoy?

First I was working in the food industry. One of my first jobs was washing dishes and then working my way up to tossing pizzas. 

Can you still do that? Are you good at it? I’m terrible. That’s a mess waiting to happen. 

I still can but now I do it for fun instead of smelling like flour everyday. After that is when I worked at Abrams. There is nothing more fun than selling a kid their first guitar. Christmas comes around and someone is so excited to try something out. 

So you wanted to encourage people, not be the snob at a store who is like,”You’ll never be as good as Marty Friedman.” (laughing)

(laughing) I am more for seeing the look of excitement on a kid’s face instead of telling them they have to do this or have that pedal or they are nothing. There are so many fun experiences you can have with instruments at all levels, by yourself or with friends. You can be at home by yourself learning and never need to be part of a scene. Or you can join one which can be fun as well. I remember when I was in high school there was the Flying Saucer Café and a little gathering of bands that loved to frequent it. It was cool meeting Earl Walker Lundy (of the band Shadow Witch) years later and realizing he was the same guy who booked the place. So it is fun to be part of a scene. 

Yeah, he just looks more like a wizard now (laughing). 

Sometimes I perform with a Rage Against the Machine tribute band, so that’s another level of fun. Some people shun those type of bands in certain scenes but it’s another type of fun. 

Yeah, I used to be a snob about that but then had a blast playing a bunch of Motley songs with friends and you loosen up and get over yourself. It takes all kinds. 

Exactly. Every style of music has a purpose. It’s cool now in Kingston you have a venue for almost anything. 

Yeah, you can’t please everyone all the time but people should be stoked about what we have right now and try to remember how barren it has been at certain times in the past. 

Yeah. Any Thursday, Friday or Saturday night you can hear a huge variety of music within a few miles of each other. 

I like to ask people who have experienced the city for good and bad what they think we are doing well and what we can maybe improve. Thoughts?

One of the best things I’ve noticed is that having the store here every business owner is supportive of other local places. The owner of The Beverly comes in and gets gear from us at times. The Crown, The Anchor, Keegan’s … they all try to keep it in the community. That is one of the best things to be a part of and see grow, where it wasn’t like that before. 

Is there an area we can do better?

We just fixed Washington Avenue, so … (laughing)

You’re like, “I’ll just count my blessings for now.” (laughing)

I live on Washington Avenue so it took 15 years or so, but …

If you complain the streets will crack open. 

There’s always a group that loves to complain. You can read that anywhere, especially the online comment section of the Daily Freeman (laughing). 

(Mariah Carey voice) “I don’t know her.”

I think overall the positives far outweigh the negatives in our city. 

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