Rusted Root frontman loves the Olympic Village

LAKE PLACID – When Michael Glabicki and his son went camping in Lake Placid, they snuck into a site that wasn’t legal because it was out of season and woke up in the morning to law enforcement telling them they weren’t allowed to be there.

“But they were nice,” Glabicki said.

Glabicki will likely receive a warmer welcome this time when he returns to the Olympic village on Tuesday, July 9, this time with his band Rusted Root to play a free show at Mid’s Park as part of the Songs at Mirror Lake Music Series.

In a phone interview with the Enterprise the day the band was to set out on tour, Glabicki, who is the band’s founder, front man, songwriter and singer/guitarist, said he couldn’t recall whether he’s played any shows in the Adirondacks before, but that he has certainly played in northern New York.

He said he likes playing in the area, because it has a similar feel to the band’s hometown of Pittsburgh. He said it’s a more working-class community.

“And we relate to that really well,” he said. “I don’t know how to describe it, but there’s just some way we relate to the audience up there that feels similar to Pittsburgh. It just feels very natural for us and very easy for us.”

The band is known for its intensive touring schedule, and this one is no different. They are jumping all over the Northeast and heading as far as Michigan and Ohio before heading to Lake Placid, then they wander throughout the Northeast some more, hitting up various clubs and music festivals before heading to Illinois and Wisconsin in late August.

Glabicki said that kind of schedule is tough to keep up.

“I mean, I feel fatigue most of my life,” he said. “So I mean, I’m already fatigued, so it’s more about how not to completely pass out.”

He said he has to watch out for pushing it too hard and overdosing on coffee. Sometimes he has to just tell his manager not to call him for two days straight because he will be sleeping, he said.

But he finds music therapeutic. He started Rusted Root in the midst of a deep depression after he returned from war-torn Nicaragua and dropped out of college. He said playing music and writing songs allows him to clearly see all the different parts of himself, and whether those parts are communicating or fighting with one another.

He also sees it as a clear part of his path, as much as his family and his relationships are. It also sometimes helps him decipher what’s going on.

“I dream in a way, a lot of times, and there’s profound messages in my dreams and profound meaning, and often times I learn what that is when I write the song and it kind of unfolds what it is,” Glabicki said. “Sometimes it’s not like that. Sometimes it’s me having a profound experience in life elsewhere and being able to clearly define what that experience was and write a song about it – that sort of helps in life also.

“So it’s, yeah, it’s a pretty magical thing.”

The band seeps in influences all over the place with its world-music feel, borrowing beats and tunes from African, Middle Eastern and Indian cultures as well as popular music like the Bee Gees, Elvis Costello, Neil Young, Tony Childs, the Black Keys, Black Sabbath and various Afro Pop music.

Glabicki said lately he’s been listening to a lot of My Morning Jacket, Aimee Mann and Neil Young, and since blues and soul singer Bobby Bland died recently, he’s been putting his music on here and there as well.

Although Glabicki has fun playing big venues, he typically enjoys shows in smaller clubs the most.

“That’s like my personal favorite, just because it’s really intimate and, you know, it’s just good for the ritual that we put on to have it be a little tighter and a little bit more intimate.”

The Fillmore in San Francisco is his favorite venue. It’s big enough to let a lot of people in to the party, but it’s also intimate enough to feel a connection with the crowd.

They have been on the bill with a variety of well-known bands including Dave Matthews Band and the Allman Brothers Band, but Glabicki said the best performer they’ve played with is a tie between Santana and the Robert Plant and Jimmy Page reunion tour.

“We just learned a lot from those experiences,” Glabicki said.

Rusted Root is touring now to promote its newest album, “The Movement,” released at the end of 2012. The band got together in the early 1990s, so they are calling this album their 20-year-anniversary celebration. It’s the first album Glabicki has done all the production and engineering work on, and he said it gave him a chance to “not hand over the reins to somebody else that doesn’t always fully understand where the band’s at the time.”

They raised money to make the album with a Kickstarter-style campaign called “Fortunate Freaks Unite! We Are Rusted Root,” and as part of a reward for contributing, some fans were allowed to come and watch the recording process for a day, clapping their hands or shouting in the background of some songs, and there were other fans who were able to come into the studio during sound check and get a video made of them playing percussion.

“It was just a different way to kind of expand upon what we’re doing and how we’re connected to the fans,” Glabicki said.

Glabicki said some people are calling “The Movement” the band’s best record yet, and a number of people say it blends well with their existing live set.

“It was more about the fans, and more about the live show on this record,” Glabicki said. “It was a very conscious decision for me as a producer to choose songs that would not only make a great record but to expand upon the live show, yet be meaningful songs to us individually.”

The show in Lake Placid will be a mix of older songs and tunes from the new album.

Glabicki said he’s a fan of the Lake Placid area and he’s looking forward to getting back.

“I love it,” he said.