Rusted’s roots: Percussive, group-oriented rock
COPPER MOUNTAIN – Before the Pittsburgh sextet gathered enough material to begin touring, lead vocalist Michael Glabicki had the members take African drumming lessons with drummer and percussionist Jim Donovan. The prerequisite for admission into the band helped guide the group sound toward the force of polyrhythmic harmony. Like so many bands today, Rusted Root really can’t be classified into a single genre, though the music the band makes is uniquely familiar to anyone who has listened to it through the years.”Our music is something you have to hear. It’s always difficult to describe,” said bassist Patrick Norman. “It’s with our own slant, but it’s rock ‘n’ roll nonetheless.”After a long departure from the group, Jenn Wertz brought her vocals, guitars and percussion back. John Buynak wails electric guitar and plays some percussion and flute. Liz Berlin also grooves on the guitar, percussion and vocals. And then there’s Norman, Glabicki and Donovan to deal with the rest of the music.”Music is ever-changing; it’s always new. There’s a few things most people couldn’t go without – food, water, air – and I feel like music is one of those (elemental necessities) in life,” said Norman.Glabicki founded Rusted Root in 1988 upon returning from a trip to South America. However, the first group was not to be, so Glabicki called on Berlin (with whom he had previously collaborated) to sing with him. Berlin knew Donovan because she had taken a drumming course with him. Donovan knew Norman. Buynak was a bicycle messenger when he signed on. And, Wertz, originally hired to photograph, was the last.
“Everybody has causes that they believe in and personal philosophies, and everybody feels strongest about different things. And all of this comes out because we try to speak what we believe,” said Norman. “Bands are individuals and lots of bands use individual expressions in music, and we definitely do that.”Rusted Root’s songwriting has always been a strong draw for its fans. The group’s second release, “When I Woke,” produced the hit single “Send Me On My Way,” which set the foundation for three more records and three EPs – the most-recent being “Welcome To My Party,” which came out in April of 2002.”I’ve learned a lot from this band because everybody has different skills. We’ve developed a lot of our strengths off of each other,” said the 38-year-old bass player. “I never quite dared to dream I could make a living in music.”Norman started out listening to his parents’ phonograph/turntable/chest contraption. One of his earliest memories is of singing along with “ABC” by the Jackson 5. He then picked up a trumpet, and soon moved to the guitar and percussion instruments.
“There’s nothing that I can conceive of doing that would make me more satisfied than playing music,” he said.Norman recently released a solo album called “Digital World” on iTunes. The album will be available in stores within the next couple months. He says the album has electronica meeting rock ‘n’ roll with a little soul, and he played, sang, engineered and mixed every sound on the album with the help of a friend who is a DJ.”A lot of what we do isn’t necessarily theory-based,” said Norman. “Liz might sing something off-key, and it wouldn’t make sense until later, or John might come out with a guitar riff I’d never thought of. And it’s these unique decisions that lend to why this band sounds so unique.”Our main objective is always to have a good time playing, to turn the crowd on,” said Norman.Rusted Root plays a free show Saturday in the Burning Stones Plaza at Copper Mountain Resort at 3:30 p.m.
Saturday• 89 a.m. Volcom Rail Jam Registration, Jack’s• 99:30 a.m. Volcom Rail Jam Practice, Catalyst Terrain Park• 9:30 a.m. Volcom Peanut Butter and Rail Jam, Catalyst Terrain Park
• 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Liza, Burning Stones Plaza• 12:30 p.m. Benevento/Russo Duo, Burning Stones Plaza• 3:305 p.m. Rusted Root, Burning Stones Plaza• 5 p.m. 20th annual Eenie Weenie Bikini Contest, Rosi’s Run in East Village
Sunday• All Day, Colorado’s Largest Easter Egg Hunt, Center Village/Main Vein/High Point• Noon to 1 p.m.Ages 5-and-under Easter Egg Hunt, Climbing Wall• 12 p.m. Ages 6-12 Easter Egg Hunt, Giggleworks• 12 p.m. Madame Andrews & The Heavenly Echoes, Burning Stones Plaza• 2:454 p.m. The Lee Boys, Burning Stones Plaza
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