Album concept still critical to Rusted Root's self-expression
If you measure them by albums sold, Rusted Root might be the most successful Pittsburgh-based rock band of all time, having sold about 3 million or so since they began.
Nowadays, “the album” isn't as all-important as it was in the days when listeners actually paid for music. In these file-sharing days, some think the format has lost its relevance entirely.
Rusted Root — who perform New Year's Eve at the Rex Theater — isn't among them.
“It's extremely important to us,” songwriter-singer-guitarist Michael Glabicki says. “It's our medium, our way of expressing ourselves. I can't see breaking things up into singles like that. It gets us fans who really believe in us, as opposed to those who say, ‘Eh, I just like that song.' ”
The band is staying busy on the road with last year's album, “The Movement,” which expands the band's complex, yet upbeat, all-over-the-map rhythmic signature to include elements like calypso and Afro-pop.
Still, it's nothing that the fans of 1994's breakthrough, “When I Woke,” wouldn't recognize.
The drum-powered positivity is still there, as is the band's underrated ear for crafting memorable pop hooks. Mere instrumental virtuosity isn't what got “Send Me on My Way” into movies, TV shows and commercials (“Ice Age,” “Charmed,” “New Girl” and others), after all.
Another thing Rusted Root has no plans to change is their deep roots in the verdant hills and valleys of Pittsburgh.
“It's cheaper, and that's a good thing for artists,” Glabicki says. “I don't think we could have done it living in New York or L.A., or something.
“Pittsburgh's got a really wonderful energy to it. It's a warm, loving energy — and a very cultural area, too.
“For us, I think we soaked a lot of that into our music.”
Rusted Root's remarkable endurance — 23-years-plus as a band — is a tribute to the strength of its original vision, which hasn't changed.
“In many ways, it's the same vision, and in some ways, we have a lot more,” Glabicki says.
“I think that's through the experience of playing so much. I think we've explored a lot on the albums, and fallen short a bit, but that's helped us figure out what we could and couldn't do. We know a lot more now.
“I don't know where it's all going, but in the end it's all about the live show. Who can play live and who can't — it's got to come down to that at some point.”
After the New Year's Eve show, Rusted Root will be back on tour with Donna the Buffalo in January.
Michael Machosky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7901.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Wiz Khalifa’s life not the same, but he’s still having fun
- Rock For Life drums up help for those in need
- ‘Bangerz’ tour a long way from ‘Hannah Montana’ for Miley Cyrus
- Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble woos with ‘Drunken Moon’
- Get back to roots at AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival
- Miley weighs in on her newest work, changing image
- Takei to host Pittsburgh Pops ‘Sci-Fi’ concerts
- 5 Seconds of Summer announce 2015 tour
- Sinnett’s drumming shows ‘Change’ is a good thing
- Review: New Music Ensemble presents 23 short pieces