Rusted Root is comprised of six members. In order of appearance in the band, they are:
- Michael Glabicki- lead vocals, guitar, and mandolin (yes, the mandolin.)
- Liz Berlin- back-up vocals, violin (I'm jealous!), and some percussion.
- Patrick Norman- vocals, bass, percussion
- Jim Donovan- drums, back-up vocals, guitar. (This guy is really nice!)
- John Buynak- guitar, percussion, flute, mandolin (another mandolin player!)
- Jim DiSpirito- percussion, hand drums
The band originated in Pittsburgh, PA in the late 80s. For some reason, there are a few different stories circulating about how everyone got together, but this is the one I'm telling. If it's not true, just email me and tell me what's true!
Anyway, Liz Berlin and Mike Glabicki met at a Battle of the Bands in Pittsburgh, forming an acoustic duo. After Patrick Norman and Jim Donovan joined in, Root began its strong percussion base. (Does that sentence even make sense? Oh well, you know what I mean.) With the addition of John Buynak and Jim DiSpirito, the band was completed. Because you can never have enough mandolin players. ;)
Their first album was Cruel Sun, a recording strong in percussion and with more of the "tribal" (for lack of a better word) sound: I'm thinking "Primal Scream". Many of the songs on this album are also on later ones, only redone. I can never decide which versions I like better. An interesting thought on this album: It's called Cruel Sun, yet Cruel Sun (the song) is not on it, it's on When I Woke. Just a ponderment for you.
Next comes When I Woke, by far their most popular album. "Send me on my Way" was broadcast on the radio, and it's the song most people know Root for. Ecstacy was also released on the airwaves, but was played a little less. With the dance-like-you're-a-crazy-person Martyr, the beautiful and brooding Cruel Sun, and all the songs in between, it doesn't take a geneticist to figure out why this is Root's most popular album.
Remember was their next full-length endeavor. It's more mellow, save for songs like "Who do you tell it To?" and "Voodoo", and gets away from the "tribal" feel of the first two albums. A lot of Root fans don't like Remember as much, but I still love it. I haven't heard of any of these songs being played on the radio, but my friend swears she heard "Voodoo" once. "Faith I Do Believe" is rockin', Bullets in the Fire (especially the "wake up..." part) is beautiful, and "Sister Contine" is just freakin' awesome. It's my favorite song from the album and I always wanted to hear it live. I guess I'll have to wait for the reunion tour now. :)
The fourth album is self-titled, and kind of hard to classify. Not quite the style of When I Woke, not quite Remember. I guess that's what makes Root so good. You never know what you're gonna get. (Thank you, Forrest Gump.) "Magenta Radio" sticks in your head all day (doo-doo-doo-DOO-doo-doo-doo... you get the idea), but it's in a good way, not the Bill Knapp's "I will kill myself if I don't stop singing "doo-doo-do-doo-doo-DWEE-do-do-do" jingle. (If you haven't heard the Bill Knapp's jingle, you are a lucky, lucky person.) This album has been disputed by Root fans as well, but you can't deny the beauty of songs like "Moon" and "She Roll Me Up".
Rusted Root has toured with Page & Plant, the Grateful Dead, and Further Fest. They played Woodstock '99, and I think it's safe to say that Root was NOT responsible for inciting riots! They have also done headlining tours, which we LOVE! This final tour *sniff* is with Jewel, and I must say that only an hour of Root live is just not enough!