Rusted Root's Michael Glabicki on Jamming, Healing, and Virginia Key Grassroots Festival
The car that nearly crushed him has finally stopped moving, but the pain is a beating drum inside his skull. And the gleaming light that shines beyond his reach is beautiful.
"I was living in Fort Lauderdale," Glabicki remembers more than 40 years later. "And I've always looked upon that incident as something that really opened up some doorways."
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Fast-forward to 1994, when 100,000 jam band fans gather for the Grateful Dead in a swirl of tie dye, beads, dreadlocks, enormous clouds of reefer smoke, and top-quality acid. Usually the Deadheads would still be in the parking lot, getting drunk, starting hippie fights, and trading Jerry tapes. But today they've gathered to watch the opening band, Rusted Root.
Band founder, singer, and guitarist Glabicki says, "It was pretty overwhelming at the time. Just a really surreal experience. It was really cool 'cause a lot of the band members came out and watched our performance too."
Rusted Root formed in Pittsburgh in the early '90s. The group's first album, Cruel Sun, released independently, inspired a rabid fan base among college kids in the Northeast, for whom the Root played incessantly.
This fanatic following led to a label deal with Mercury, and Glabicki and crew's major-league debut, When I Woke, which went platinum, surfing the same neo-jam wave as Dave Matthews Band and Blues Traveler. The Root's hit single from that album, "Send Me on My Way," broke the Billboard Top 100 chart at number 72 and it still sees wide licensing today in movies such as Ice Age and Matilda as well as Israeli TV shows and even an Enterprise rental-car commercial.
The band has toured with Santana, opened for Led Zeppelin's Page and Plant reunion, and rocked more festivals than it can remember. But it's been awhile since Rusted Root has seen sunny Miami.
"We've been wanting to come down and spend some time," the frontman says. "It's been sporadic over the years. I think our last time there was with Jewel. We were on tour with her and we ended up going to Key West after to hang out."