July 22 • 10:12 AM

Former Imlay rocker finds his voice with 'Dismantle'

CD release party set for this Friday

Along with vocals, Herbert plays guitar for ‘Dismantle,’ which has attracted a local following.
September 19, 2007
IMLAY CITY — Being raised in a small, rural town is a far cry from spending one's youth struggling to escape the residual rust and grime that was once a flourishing Detroit.

But for 25-year-old Justin Herbert, attaching himself to the frustrations of a generation of young people trying to find their way out of metro-Detroit's economic morass is a natural evolution.

As a member of Dismantle, a Detroit-area band whose music and lyrics reflect the economic and personal stresses experienced by a growing segment of today's youth, the vocalist/guitarist has found a vehicle for his musical passion and ambition.

A 2000 graduate of Imlay City High School, Herbert is employed, holding down a full-time position with a satellite TV provider. While he does not consider himself a victim of the economic downturn, he is acutely aware of its presence.

He also recognizes the toll that the decimated job market and lack of opportunity have taken on countless young adults trying to succeed in what was formerly middle class America.

"People are seeing a lot of layoffs and pay cuts," says Herbert. "My best friend is only a year older than me, and he's already facing a buy-out from Ford. That's going on with everybody.

"Another friend who has a degree and was trying to get a job at a gas station was told she was overqualified."

If the band's overriding musical message is to warn of the potential consequences of not creating economic options for young adults, they could have plenty of listeners.

Dismantle's lyrics speak to a generation living on the edge, whose frustrations boil over into excesses of drinking, drugs, depression and sexual promiscuity. With its hook-laden, hard-driving approach to urban rock, the band is able to connect with a sometimes disengaged segment of the population, which is becoming more evident at live performances.

"Now that we're getting a little better known, we see a lot of people singing along at our shows," says Herbert. "We're definitely trying to appeal to middle class America. But we want to talk to everyone—not just the downtrodden. We are using music as a way to escape from all the stuff that's going on right now."

As the band's primary lyricist and songwriter, Herbert likes to be appreciated, but guards against being taken too seriously.

"We're not exactly Lennon-esque with our lyrics," he says. "We don't want to get too tricky with word play. Some of our songs have a darker side and some are meant to be taken seriously. But most are just about rock and roll and having fun. They're coping songs to get through the hard times."

Some of Herbert's original songs, like "Smokin' and Drinkin," "Sometimes The Devil Wins," "Dirty River" and "Liquor Store," have the makings of rock anthems, already becoming crowd favorites at various show venues.

While enjoying composing and recording the band's music, he favors live performances.

"I like to write and record," he says, "but I love the adrenalin rush of playing for people. There's nothing better than getting on stage and seeing a packed room having fun to our music."

On Fri., Sept. 21, Dismantle will host a CD release party, starting at 8 p.m. at The Dawg House on Groesbeck Highway in Clinton Township.

The group's first CD is titled "More Rock & Roll," and features 11 original songs. The band's lineup includes: Herbert, lead vocals and guitar; Glynn Somma, guitar; Brad Causley, bass; and Eric Brodzik, drums.

"I just heard the (recording) masters and am very excited about the CD," says Herbert. "This was our first attempt. I hope we can look back at this in 20 years and be proud of it."

Herbert views the completion and release of the CD as a measurable achievement in his musical career.

"I started playing in a band with some Lapeer guys when I was 15," he recalls. "My roots were heavy into old country and old rock & roll like Ted Nugent, (Bob) Seger and Iggy and the Stooges. This group (Dismantle) has a lot of diversity. We used to have a lot heavier sound when I joined them in 2005. The other guys are older and more into 'metal,' but it all comes together pretty nicely."

In addition to the Sept. 21 CD release party, upcoming Dismantle performances include: The Ritz in Warren on Sept. 28; Paychecks Lounge in Hamtramck on Sept. 29; The Ritz again on Oct. 20; and a return visit to The Dawg House on Oct. 27.

Herbert resides in Harrison Township with his wife, Tara, and 15-month-old daughter, Riley.

For more information about Dismantle, including photos and bios, go to the band's Web sites at: or

Staff Writer
Castle Creek
07 - 22 - 19
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