St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'Local heavy metal musician, DJ, radio host, label head, and store owner Earl J. Root died Friday of complications from non-Hodgkin's regenerative lymphoma. He was 46.'
This explains the thunderstorm on Friday night: There was a explosion-packed welcoming party for Earl in Metal Heaven.
For those of you who don't know/love Earl: Unfuck yourself. I'll never forget one of my first weekends living in Minneapolis; we'd been driving somewhere, listening to KFAI's Saturday night jungle/drum n bass show. After buying some drugs getting back in the car, the radio blasted to life at brain-searing volume with what I immediately identified as ... wait -- Kataklysm? On the radio? Guh?
From that moment on, I was a regular Saturday night listener to Earl's four-hour bonanza Root Of All Evil. I'll never forget the night he premiered tracks from Testament's The Gathering. Or when I finally admitted to myself that Hammerfall's "Keep The Flame Burning" is awesome. Or Earl's patronage of the real Disturbed. Or the times I'd be a late nominee for designated driver: 'Sure, I'll drive us all home, but we're listening to Root, fuckers! What's that, drunk-ass girlfriend, you love Emperor? But it won't go any louder!'
Whenever I was in St. Paul, Earl's heavenly record store Root Cellar was the mandatory first stop. He was one of those cats who was cool as fuck but didn't seem to realize it. The only person unimpressed by him was him. Truly metal.
Earl J. Root
March 29 1962 - May 23 2008