interview by: Roberto
In the already cult world of underground metal, Root occupies
a unique place. This Czech band that is often given the black metal tag
has been around a long time - longer than most of the seminal Norwegian
crop. Root's tracing its, well, roots back to 1987 is one main reason
for its culthood. More importantly, though, it's because the band is so
At the clear forefront of this strangeness is frontman Big
Boss. Definitely an intriguing and enigmatic character. How could you
think anything else of a guy in a sort of black metal band with that kind
of stage name; who writes all the lyrics dealing with Satan and black
magic; who sings in an invariably wacky but always excellent, powerful
voice; and with the dumbest/coolest corpsepaint ever; and who wears monk's
robes? He's the only guy in the band to ever have "acted out"
in this way. I guess he's sort of like the fabulously goofy Czech equivalent
of King Diamond.
Primarily, this interview was intended to be primarily with
Big Boss and supplemented by another member of the band. However, it turned
out Big Boss is the worst email interview ever, so consequently the really
cool and insightful answers are provided by bassist Igor Hubik, with only
the remotely interesting Big Boss answers used complementarily here and
there. Hubik was good enough to answer my questions about Root's entirely
brilliant new album, Black Seal, as well as other insightful
tidbits about the band and its history.
MaelstroMaelstrom: Your new album, Black Seal, is clearly
your best yet. You are definitely moving in a more melodic heavy metal
direction, and seem to be more inspired and focused than on any other
of your records. Please talk about your feelings on the new album.
Igor Hubik: Well, I guess that Root still develops with
each new album. It's the same also this time. There are influences of
classic kinds of Metal, it's concerned mainly with the guitar solos and
some another parts. But there are also pretty hard thrashing riffs, fresh
rhythms or screamed voices at the single songs. I think we put our feelings
which rose from reading the lyrics and it can be heard from the songs.
The feeling hasn't lost any percent from itself...
Big: Boss: My feelings is fantastic, as usually from every
[one of] our albums. But I don't think it is influenced with heavy metal,
as you think... or do you know some heavy metal band which play songs
as "Liber Prohibitus" or "Theriak"? he he he
MaelstroMaelstrom: Root is more often than not classified as a black
metal band, but clearly the new album is not musically black metal. Yet
you still deal a great deal with Satan lyrically, but with that unique
and quirky angle that all Root albums have. Please talk about the driving
force and themes behind your lyrics.
Igor Hubik: Oh, the lyrics are so great because they're
written by a "man" who is just the real artist concerning the
lyrics writing - Big Boss. He wrote complete lyrics on all the albums
of Root. What I know from him so he finds an inspiration from different
spheres. He's fascinated by the Universe, mystic powers, interesting books
and, of course, by own dreams. Big Boss is able to write the lyrics during
one night for example. Members of Root write the music after the reading
the lyrics as far and that's a reason why the music is connected with
the lyrics as one synthesy. About Black Metal - some people call our style
like that but for example our label uses usually description Dark Metal.
We don't think about that.
Maelstrom: Please tell us about Root's singer, Big Boss. Is he really
big? He sort of looks like a jolly black metal lumberjack in religious
robes. Do you have any stories you could tell us about Big Boss or any
other members of the band?
Igor Hubik: Man, you would have to travel together with us by one
car and listen to his thoughts, jokes and philosophies to understand who
is Big Boss. There are so many stories that your site could be created
just from these cryptic tales, hahaha! Anyway, he's pretty great singer
and artist in my eyes. When he enters the stage so Root fans are simply
fascinated by his movements, snoots and image. They always welcome him
with highly risen up hands and loud screaming. When you read the interviews
with him so it's usually interesting and you can laugh too. Anyway, the
personality that you can love or hate. There's nothing between! There
are so many people who don't understand him and don't like him personally
but who are also able to confess that Big Boss is really good singer and
personality. If is Big Boss a big one? We call it "a little big man"
in Czech language. He's not really tall - anyway, haha!!! But the greatest
one thanx to his acts! Do appreciate he's fifty actually, sings alive
the Metal songs, worked at the crematory some years, lives alone just
with the PC, drinks vodka and has twenty five years younger friends...
It's interesting, isn't it?
Maelstrom: How did you all meet originally?
Igor Hubik: It's the process of Root's long history. Big Boss and
Blackie founded the band at the end of eighties and there circulated other
musicians around them. Everybody says that this actual line-up is the
strongest at Root's history, it seems to be true word. I helped with the
bass parts on Blackie´s project Entrials some years ago and together
with guitarist Ashok we helped Big Boss to feature his the second solo
album "Belial´s Wind" alive - one gig only. Then Big Boss
and Blackie offered us the participating at Root. It's gonna be three
years already. It seems like this line-up will stand some time yet! The
drummer Evil joined the band since the third album The Temple in the
Underworld at ´92!
Maelstrom: (to Big Boss) Your main vocal approach on "Black
Seal" reminds me quite often of a lower version of Candlemass' Messiah
Marcolin. Were you at all influenced by him?
Big Boss: I know him, but I think that he doesn' influnce me.
I am Big Boss and he is Marcolin.
Maelstrom: Why did you originally choose the name Root?
Igor Hubik: There's written an interesting sentence at Root's history
about it. It should be something easily memorable, strong, mysterious...
There's the band Torr already (Czech old Metal band) so let's say it oppositely
- ROOT. Guys told me that by this way too so may be it's not just a narrative...
Maelstrom: Root has always had one of the most solid and enjoyable
rhythm sections as far as I'm concerned. On Black Seal, it seems
that the guitarists have really upped their level of musicianship in their
riffs and solos. Is Root's new direction allowing all members of the band
to fully demonstrate their talents?
Igor Hubik: It's each artist, isn't it? Of course, we try to do
our best and I guess you can hear it - you wouldn't ask that if you would
not. For example Ashok trains fast fingers for many years already. You
can't hear Slayer's or Metallica's rhythm guitars from him, mainly Malmsteen,
Vai, Moore and another electric guitar stars. He practices this kind of
art and it resuscitated Root's songs pretty much I think. The drummer
Evil is very good musician, he can play also the guitar well. Blackie
is able still create new and new riffs and 99 percents of them are applicable
for the albums. A real talent man - that's why he has project Cales, Entrials.
And Big Boss' voice? We're all just proud we can attend him with our instruments!
And you must hear I speak the truth!!!
Maelstrom: What are your reactions to having your song "Pisen
Pro Satana" included on Nargaroth's Black Metal ist Krieg - A
Dedication Monument. Have you heard the album? What do you think of
the cover of your song?
Igor Hubik: I have found it just today at your web site! That's
great! I hope we'll get this album somewhere. Pisen Pro Satana is a real
Czech Metal hymn. Not only Czech as we can see. When we played this song
at Sweden last year so Rootans below the stage transfigured in dancing
devils! Hell On Earth! I wanna hear the Nargaroth version, it can be cool
job. If they sing it in English so... We have to contact them for the
Maelstrom: If you were to make a covers album, which songs from which
bands would you cover?
Igor Hubik: This album will never be released by Root 'cause we
have to concentrate on our own stuff. Guys recorded only Metallica´s
"Fade To Black" once for a local Tribute To Cliff Burton CD.
There's also cool curiosity beneath the disc. The letter from Cliff´s
parents from ´87 addressed to Big Boss! He had the club together
with Metal friends (fans) which was called Total Metal and they corresponded
with other Metal maniax worldwide then. So he got also the answer from
Cliff's parents after Total Metal's commiseration of Cliff's death.
Maelstrom: The last song on Black Seal totals about 20 minutes.
However, the last 10 minutes is the unaccompanied chorus of the song,
looped over and over again. Why did you decide to do this?
Igor Hubik: Big Boss´ reaction is simple - UUUUUUAAAAARRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!
It was his idea: Let's do something shocking, original! So many people
asked about that already and he is pleased by that so much - really crazy.
Nobody of us didn't want do something like that. But the result is cool.
Big Boss´ another argumentation: Fans give so many money for the
album so they should get full minute CD! Haha, is it normal? It's not
I guess but it's released already, hahahaha!
Maelstrom: The song "Liber Prohibitus" speaks of the Necronomicon.
There has been much debate on whether this is a real book from ancient
times. What do you think?
Igor Hubik: When we recorded the guitars, bass, drums, keys for
this song, Boss was sitting at his apartment, relaxing and watching the
TV. We cursed him - it's his composition, you know. We didn't know if
to laugh or cry but during the listening to this song we always laugh
now! It's so primitive, stupid and childish riff! But then He sang the
lyrics and it turned of 180 points. The song transfigured to the real
hymn and I personally love it very much now. The force of Boss´
voice is definitely heard just at "Liber Prohibitus"!
Maelstrom: Looking back on Root's discography, the album that sticks
out the most from the rest stylistically is Kargeras. That album
to me sounded like a mix of grunge rock, hard rock and heavy metal. Looking
back on the time you made that album, could you please comment on the
Igor Hubik: The worst season of Root's career. Boss stopped the
communication with Blackie, they were fighting between each other, drinking
many alco bottles. Nevertheless they recorded great CD. I love these lyrics
the most - like the set, you know. Also the music is a little bit fresher
than on other CDs because the music was written along with the lyrics.
It corresponds very well I think.
Big Boss: This was very bad times for Root... We have been on
the edge of breakdown and our relationships was on the freezing-point....I
don't like memories on this time of our existence...sorry.
Maelstrom: Thanks for the interview, guys. Anything else you'd like
to tell us about?
Igor Hubik: Thanx for interview, don't forget to visit our
web pages www.redblack.cz/root.
If anybody wants something from us, let me know on firstname.lastname@example.org
to get all the important infos. Metal Maniax, get in touch!
Big Boss: Thanx too and STAY PROUD!