- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 13, 2017

Rusted Root is coming back to the DMV Sunday evening to rock out with a catalog encompassing their work from the 1990s on through to new tunes. While the band has seen several lineup changes over the years, lead singer and guitarist Michael Glabicki has always been front and center when the Pittsburgh band takes to the road.

Which brings us to Sunday evening, which sees Rusted Root performing at The State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia. Mr. Glabicki spoke with The Washington Times about life on the road and the changing face of the music industry.

Oh, and a certain “gift” fans often bring him at shows.

Question: How has this current tour being going for you?

Answer: We’ve been back home for are days working in the studio [after touring] Alaska. We definitely love going up there. It’s a whole different vibe and the crowd just is really honest about the music.

Q: What is it specific to Alaska you respond to?

A: All I can say really is that it’s maybe more reminiscent of the early ‘90s or the ‘60s, where people were just taken by the music and honestly giving back to the music. And in that way, it just feels [like] more where we come from.

Q: What do you like about coming back to D.C.?

A: Well, we’re playing the State Theatre. We always get a good crowd there — it’s always sort of high-energy. The kind of crowd that we can get moving together up and down and sideways.

It’s a little bit more of a really energetic crowd that cuts loose and isn’t afraid to sweat.

Q: How has your preshow ritual changes over the years?

A: It’s much more casual now. I’ve integrated it more into “this is my life” kind of thinking about it. So if I’m not feeling like it, I might not show up at soundcheck. If I feel like I need to go into town, I might be feeling disconnected from the overnight drive. I might go to a bar. I might hang out with an old person at the bar. Usually kind of always ends up being conversations about directions and how to get around the city.

I don’t know why, but I kind of just go with it. Because I’m a professional traveler too.

Q: What is your hometown Pittsburgh music scene like now?

A: I think everywhere took a hit for a while with the [music] industry collapse. And then everybody tired to figure out how to move forward form there. The same thing happened in Pittsburg, where a lot of clubs closed down. Now they’re starting to reopen again.

Also, the internet had an effect too. I had this place across the street from where I lived a few years back, and I used to go watch music there. What happened was people started relating to music more through the internet. So when they showed up for a show, they would come in on time, stand there and wait for the band to play, and the band would play and they would clap and then immediately after the show was over, they would leave. Nobody really talked to one another. It was just weird.

And I should say too that the bands were usually awful. The ones that just kid of promoting themselves on the interest for the first time and never really played live before.

Now it’s awesome because these bands are coming up now that are even more real because they’re fighting against that whole wave that just happened. These are real people now, real artists coming out. There are a lot of young bands that are just incredible.

Q: What do you tell said young bands about navigating the 21st century music industry?

A: Everything should center around your live show — I think more so now than ever. But at some point you’re going to have to blow people away — there’s no getting around it. You might as well start making that your focal point.

If you can blow away people live, then everything else will follow.

Q: Tell me about the new music Rusted Root is working on now.

A: We’ve been kind of developing our system for a little while now, figuring out what we’re going to do in the future. I think what we’re going to do is release two to three songs at once and then, if people buy a ticket [to a show], they’ll get one or two downloads per show.

The next tour will have two or three more and then next tour two or three more. At the end of a year, then we’ll package the songs and throw three or four new songs on it and make an album out of it.

Q: What’s the one thing you absolutely have to have on the road?

A: Pot.

Q: Fair enough. What about the different state laws?

A: We don’t really travel with it. We pretty much show up and people give it to us.

Q: So fans and strangers just offer it up?

A: Sure. But we’ve gotten some really beautiful other gifts. I’m in my studio now and looking at this moose antler that was carved by an Indian tribe up in the Buffalo area. It’s craved like an eagle.

Q: Do you still have goals?

A: I think I want to get into more performance art. I want to do more video screen-type stuff behind the stage. Kind of tie it in more with social media and create an alternate reality of the band through it. It seems like the next frontier as far as creativity.

Q: What do you think about the current wave of ‘90s nostalgia?

A: I didn’t know it was a thing. Speaking for ourselves, I would say that our music is more timeless and ritualistic in a sense — more shamanistic.

I think it’s just got a new surge because people the listening crowd is coming back to real music. I don’t think anybody really thinks, when they hear music, “‘90s music.” It could be young kids coming up now or old folks that like the ‘60 music.

Q: What can fans at The State Theatre expect?

A: Be ready to hear some new music. We’re going to play three new songs off the new record and then, in the following months, we’ll start releasing those new singles, so they should keep an eye out for those.

Rusted Root plays The State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia, Sunday evening. Tickets are still available at TicketAlternative.com.


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