Interview by Dale Roy & Patrick Schroeder with vocalist and legend Big Boss late October 2011…

I am not even sure what to say here. For me Root is one of my hallowed bands I worship. I ordered their debut album on limited vinyl back in the early 90s. A lot of people only seem to credit bands like Dark Throne or Immortal with the second wave of early 90s black metal. But Root was playing this style and sound while those bands were still playing standard death metal. They are still going 25 years later, they have evolved musically but still play dark metal and worship Satan!! Read on...



Metal hails Big Boss thank you for taking the time to do the interview with us. Please introduce yourself and your band to the readers.

ROOT is one of the original pre-second wave Black Metal bands, following Venom and Bathory. Today they are one of the most well known Metal acts from Czech Republic. In their early days, ROOT played live shows and had a great friendship with another legend of Black Metal, Master's Hammer (R.I.P).

ROOT has released 8 full-length studio albums, four video clips, a live album and two DVD's thus far. Jiri "Big Boss" Valter is one of the oldest and most respected vocalists in Black Metal. He is considered to be a controversial celebrity in Czech Republic and is also the founder of the Church of Satan in Czechoslovakia. He has made guest appearances on albums by Moonspell, Helheim and Behemoth.

ROOT has played hundreds of live gigs mainly in their homeland of Czech Republic, but also Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, Serbia, Poland, France, England, Switzerland, Canada.  ROOT has shared the stage with such great bands as: Moonspell, Anathema, Cradle of Filth, Apocalyptica, Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Nifelheim, Pungent Stench, Behemoth, Master, Destroyer 666, Enslaved, Testament, Napalm Death, Master's Hammer, Krabathor, Hypnos and many more ...
When did you first get into metal? Who were some of the first bands you listened to? Who are some of your "current" favorite bands?

Around 1970 I started listening to Black Sabbath and so it happened. The first bands I've been listening to were Possessed, Exciter, Slayer, etc. Now I am mainly listening to classical music like Beethoven or Wagner ... regarding metal music there are bands like A Skylit Drive, Our Last Night ..., etc.

During your early days your country was still under communist rule and it was illegal to own many of the albums correct? How hard was it for you back then to collect vinyls and was there a black market for this stuff in those days? You used the name Rootan instead of Satan in the beginning to trick the Communist police, is that true?

It was quite easy because I had family in Austria so they brought me those records of my favorite bands. Aside from it there were "black exchange markets" where the records imported from abroad were changed, so it was not as difficult as you may think. Instead of Satan we had to use different name Rootan because I did not want the other band members to be persecuted like me. I've been used to it but I did not want to pull the others into that shit.

I know the band has been in the UG metal scene since the mid-80's when you first  started the band did you ever think you would still be going strong over 20 years later? How do you feel the bands music has changed over the years?

Yes, from the next year 2012 Root will be on scene for 25 years. I think that the basis of our music are essentially the same but thanks to continual musical growth we are playing around with different styles. We are trying to put things together that nobody else did and that is why we still have our original sound and image. 

I ordered the original vinyl version of “Zjeveni” LP in the early 90s released by Zeras records. It is one of the prized possessions in my vinyl collection and one of my fave albums of all time. It is a special album for me and a classic. Could you please tell me anything you can remember about recording and releasing this album? Where did you take the photo on the album cover?

It's 25 years already hahaha .... I really do not remember how it went over that period of our career (Yes I guess that was a lot of bottles of beer ago! Haha - Dale), but we were novices in the studio so it had to be a lot about fun. That photo was made ​​somewhere in Prague but I do not know where. The cover was made by Franta Storm (Masters Hammer). 

Is it true that Monitor records who released the vinyl of “Temple Of The Underworld” tried to stop you from releasing the CD with another label later on? Root has had a number of different labels, do you find labels difficult to deal with and any thoughts of signing a longer term deal with a label?

Monitor / EMI wanted to make trouble to us with the cover so I have to explain them very vigorously that their rights to that cover have expired so I am the only owner of this cover. After that they quietly vacated the province. We sign a contract for the only album with each company and then they have the rights to this medium from 3 to 5 years according to the agreement. I think it is favourable for both sides. 

I believe your father was a professor of music and he appeared playing piano on the Root album “The Book”. Have your parents always supported your band and are they proud of your music? This must have been a special moment to have your father appear on a Root album.

Yes, my father plays on the album "The Book". My parents have always supported me. My mother heard some demos of Root before she died and enjoyed them pretty much. Unfortunately she did not live to the age our first record was released. And you are right, it's very nice and wonderful impression to have my father playing on the album.

What is it that has kept you and the band so motivated to keep going after all these years? When the day does come that Root decides to stop the band how would you like the UG maniacs to remember the band?

It is great enthusiasm and love for music which keeps us going on and on. Ashok, Igorr, Paul Dred and Hanz are great musicians who will sacrifice everything for our music. I do not think we want to stop. And when we will finally decide to stop our horde of fans will certainly remember Root as their favorite band which gave a lot to their lives.

Is it true you founded the Czech Republic chapter of the Church of Satan? Is the CoS still an important part of your life? 

Yes, I founded Czech Church of Satan but I passed all its leading to younger members a few years ago. I don´t know how it is going so far. Back then Satanic philosophy was the basis for my further life and it is important part of my life until today.

The band recently released its newest release "Heritage Of Satan" how long did it take you and the band to write and record the music for this release? Are you all happy with how it turned out? How has response been from press and fans?

It is too is early for the responses :-). Of course we're always happy with our work. We never used any well known producer or famous studio as thousands of bands usually do. We try to develop by ourselves and still teach new things during recording process. That´s why any ROOT record is not the same or similar to the others. We want to be original both with music and sound. The new album “Heritage Of Satan” was recorded at three different studios. It´s been different kind of work compared to previous albums. The new experience again, you know. 

Can you tell us what the lyrics on “Heritage To Satan” are about or does the title of the album tell us all we need to know about the lyrics? The Kargeras album was mostly a conceptual album, did you find it harder or easier to write a concept album?

The theme of this album is transfer of Satan's power to his Son. Usually I have the lyrics ready in advance for at least two years prior to the recording so the band has better chance to get used to the essence of lyrics. It's not hard, at least not for me. Check out our second band called Equirhodont we have together with Ashok and Igorr and you'd just read the stories ... 

Recently Root played in my homeland of Canada. How did this trip go and did you like our country? How was the crowd? Did you try any good food? Plans to return soon to North America? Do the many years of metal and drinking catch up to you and make it hard to do a lot of live shows?

We fell in love with Canada. The Proof of this love is that I was recited the first stanza of the Canadian anthem during the entire show which I've never did in any country. Fans were fantastic and promoters (our hosts) have been amazing. We got absolutely perfect service. Big thanks to Teresa Flaming and all the people from her large staff. I did not find any of your national meal during our trip. Maybe the guys from the band but not me. But that's okay, we did not come just to eat but rather play :-) We are looking to come to the Canada again but it is organizer’s business and it is very expensive for them. Alcohol is a part of metal music but we do not drink before the concert. But the situation changes after the show of course, hahaha .... (I think he missed what I meant on this question but I loved the answer anyway! - Dale)

As we mentioned earlier Root has been making music for over twenty years. But I was wondering is there a certain Root song and release you feel that sticks out as your favorite?

Every band always says about its latest album that it is the best thing they made. I say it different way - all of our albums are the best things we recorded otherwise we would not recorded them. Therefore I do not have any favorite one :-) sorry :-) 

The music of Root has progressed and morphed over the years and so has your vocals. Did you consciously try to develop your great, charismatic voice or did it happen naturally? Do you protect your voice for recording sessions or live shows?

My voice is naturally developing together with our music. But I take it as a gift from Nature.  I do not particularly neither care about nor practice my voice even before or after the show. I just treat it as best as I can. 

I unfortunately have not gotten my hands on any of your Big Boss solo albums. Can you tell me and the readers what the music is like and general lyrical concept. I assume it is quite different than Root?

They are three completely different albums - the first one "BigBoss - Q7 'is musical medley exclusively made by using the computers and the keyboards,. The second one - "BigBoss - Belial's Wind" is pure Black Metal recorded with help from my friends from different bands. Third cut - "BigBoss - Doomy Ballads" is an album of ballads where you can also find my mates from Root (Ashok-guitars and bass Igorr) playing with me and they were so kind to composed some of the songs. There are a number of significant guests from other bands. 

We want to thank you for doing this interview and for all the great music over the years brother! Please give us some future plans, last words?

There are lot of opened concerts supporting new album and we will also start to work on third Equirhodont album so there is so much to look forward. Thanks for the interview.





The Root Discography 

War of Rats Demo, 1988

Reap Of Hell Demo, 1988

Messengers of Death Demo, 1989

The Trial Demo, 1989

7 Cernych Jezdcu / 666 7 Inch EP, 1990

Zjeveni Full Length, 1990

Hell Symphony Full Length, 1991

The Temple In The Underworld, 1992

Kargeras Full Length, 1996

The Book Full Length, 1999

Black Seal Full Length, 2001

Split with Atomizer 6 Inch EP, 2003

Dema Compilation (Demos + Live Tracks), 2003

Madness of The Graves Full Length, 2003

Capturing Sweden - Live In Falkenburg Full Length, 2005

Casilda CD EP, 2006

Daemon Viam Invenient Full Length, 2007

Heritage of Satan Full Length, 2011



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