Rusted Root will welcome you to its party at Temple

Anna Obergfell

The title of Rusted Root’s latest album, “Welcome To My Party,” offers an inviting and stimulating feeling just as the music offers the same engaging and exhilarating emotion. The 11-track album offers a happy medium “between a dance mix and the organic Rusted Root sound,” said lead singer and songwriter Michael Glabicki. I got a chance to catch up with Glabicki as we talked about the new album and tour that will hit up Temple University on Sept. 24.

Rusted Root kicked off its summer opening for Santana with a 20-date tour that ran through Aug. 25. It was a positive experience for Glabicki who said of the platinum-selling artist, “He’s a very gracious and open person. Kind of like a teacher and a friend.”

Glabicki also mentions other rock idols that have joined Rusted Root’s repertoire of collaborations including his favorite, Robert Plant of Led Zepplin, “because of his humbleness and curiosity for music … that’s where a lot of the magic comes from.” And you can also count Radiohead’s “Kid A,” Neil Young and Rust Never Sleeps as personal listening favorites.

Rusted Root is presently headlining a month-and-a-half long trek across America which will have Mike Doughty of Soul Coughing opening.

The tradition before each show consists of Glabicki going on stage for a few minutes ahead of time, checking out the crowd and having a sip of beer so that he can calm his nerves and get a feel for the venue.

He claims that every crowd it plays for “has different energy. Some are relaxed and close their eyes, while others get really excited. Each night is a new challenge.” As he takes a minute to observe the reaction of his fans, he notices some crying and others laughing. “I just get tuned into the music and react to it through myself and I take the audience as an extension of myself. Whatever they feel is fine with me. I’m not trying to make them feel any certain way.”

After a show, the group usually goes to a booth off stage to sign souvenirs and meet with fans. “Most people approach me in a very cool way, but I don’t worry about it too much.” The most bizarre comment he has ever heard came from a girl who asked, “‘Can I have your baby?'”

After taking a one-year hiatus, the band worked together to create a combination of harmonious sounds based on unique cultural influences each member brought back from their time off. However, they had a slight problem that most bands would dream of: there were too many ideas. “I felt like I had to step in and take a director role and figure out when to say no,” said Glabicki. “Everybody has such a strong opinion … every decision on where to eat or even sleep becomes a group meeting,” he joked.

Glabicki’s favorite song from the new CD is “Hands are Law.” He elaborated on a few other songs explaining that they have personal meaning behind them. The song “Artificial Winter” has lyrics that make a reference to a man and his child saying, “A father cries out into the night/ As his child slips away/ The door shuts as the boy/ Reaches that forbidden road.” Glabicki shared a personal story behind the meaning of the words involving the relationship between him and his father. The song begins as a process of flushing out the mental projection from his father concerning his disapproval for his son’s career in music.

Glabicki said in a melancholy tone, “My father did what his father wanted him to do, but after he saw me do what I wanted to do, against his will, he decided to do what he really wanted to do.” His father had leukemia the last 12 years of his life, but during the last two he quit his job as a plumber and followed his dream to become a golf instructor. He died two years ago, but they shared a common bond: the determination to follow a dream.

Another new song, “Blue Diamonds,” is an emotional song about Glabicki’s vision of a “celestial being.” He saw her after being hit by a car at a young age and again when he hurt his arm in a construction project. He remembered her from the first encounter and said pensively that it was a very, “comfortable and familiar feeling. This song is a love song to her.”