Root! (stylised ROOT!) was an Australian rock band from Melbourne formed in 2005. Their music combines alt-country, blues and indie rock with elements of spoken word, satire, social commentary and post-modernism. They have gained attention through a band member being a former member of Melbourne band TISM.[1]

OriginMelbourne, Victoria, Australia
GenresAlternative rock
Years active2005–2010, 2012
LabelsMeek Joe Records, Shock
Associated actsTISM, The DC3
Past membersDC Root
Henri Root
Doug Lee Root
Steve Root
Owen Root
Barnaby Root
Smiley Root
Joe Root (infrequent live member)


In early 2005, Root! began as a series of demos written solely by lead singer Damian Cowell ("DC Root"). In late 2006, guitarist Henri Grawe ("Henri Root") was hired as a tradesperson to build a set of shelves for DC. "Henri came 'round to my house to build me some shelves and I discovered that he was a jazz trained musician".[2] During 2006, the group was fleshed out with Steve Root on keyboards and Barnaby Root on drums. Cowell and Grawe knew each other as far back as 2000 - Grawe had worked with Cowell's former band TISM on their 2001 album De Rigueurmortis.

Their first concert as a group was made at the closing party of Melbourne’s Spanish Club on 17 June 2007. Although barely announced, word that an alleged member of TISM was unveiling a new project led to a large, expectant crowd assembling. From there, word of mouth spread, leading to heavy traffic on the band's nascent MySpace page, the creation of a fan website entitled The Root! Compendium, and growing demand for an album.[3]

Root! appeared at a handful of other performances over the next few months, whilst re-recording tracks for their debut album, Root Supposed He Was Out Of The Question. In 2008, the band played live with additional musicians Joe Talia (aka Joe Root, pedal steel and banjo) and Douglas Lee Robertson (aka Doug Lee Root, bass).[4]

The album, Root Supposed... was released in December, 2007 and featured no singles. During 2008 tours, new material was played including "Get Up Yourself" which became the first single from the follow-up album Surface Paradise (formerly Root Is The Money Of All Evil)[5]

In 2009, drummer Barnaby Root left the band and was replaced with Smiley Root on drums. After playing several gigs and appearing in the video for "My Other Bumper Sticker is Intelligent," he left the band to be replaced by Owen Root. Around this time, the album Surface Paradise was released.

After a handful of gigs in mid-2010, Root! announced they would be playing their "Last Ever Show" on 20 August 2010. Although the press release concluded with "... is there a new project on the way? All will be revealed soon. Stay tuned."[6]

For the next three years, Cowell, Robinson and Grawe performed as a trio under the name The DC3. For their one-year anniversary, Root! reformed to open for The DC3 at the Regal Ballroom, 3 February 2012.[7][8]

Musical style and influences

DC Root and Henri Root claim that their initial common musical ground was the Flying Burrito Brothers[9] and Mark E. Smith. DC describes Root! as made up of all the things he loves about country that has been mixed with other genres. It is the "long-winded musical excursion" with "a little wit as well"[9] inherent in country music that allows DC Root to employ poetic, literary imagery and then undercuts it with self-effacing references.


  • DC Root (aka Damian Cowell[10][11]) – vocals, samples
  • Henri Root (aka Henri Grawe[12]) – guitar, vocals
  • Doug Lee Root (aka Douglass Lee Robertson[4]) - Bass, vocals
  • Steve Root (aka Steve Paix[13]) – keyboards, vocals
  • Owen Root (aka Owen Smythe) - drums - Former drummer for Grin Dogs and Splurge.
Former members
  • Barnaby Root (aka Barnaby Gold) – drums, vocals
  • Joe Root (aka Joe Talia, played live only) - slide guitar, banjo
  • Smiley Root (aka Derek Smiley, former drummer for Ice Cream Hands)




Music videos

  • My Other Bumper Sticker is Intelligent (2009)


  • The Making of Surface Paradise (2010)


  1. Christie Eliezer's Music Business News: Festivals
  2. Root, DC. 3RRR "Best of the Brat" Interview 16 October 2007.
  3. The Root! Compendium - Archive - 17 June 2007. "After the gig I managed to catch up with DC Root who claimed that a CD's worth of material had been completed and was "ready to go,"" - Review by Adam.
  4. The Root! Compendium - Old News - February 2008 - "I was accompanied to my left by the [...] figure of Doug Lee Root on bass and vocals. [...] the bassist and singer for Melbourne’s much-loved, critically acclaimed Ice-Cream Hands" -DC Root
  5. The Root! Compendium - Old News - October, 2008 "See Root! play their forthcoming album Root Is The Money Of All Evil..."
  6. The ROOT! Compendium - Old News - July 2010
  7. "The DC3's One Year Anniversary Show" (Press release). Nibbles Music. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  8. "The DC3 and ROOT! update" (Press release). Nibbles Music. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  9. Webcuts Music: Root! The Interview (Interview) 27 April 2008. Accessed 10 July 2008.
  10. The Age, 7 September 2007 "Out of the question"
  11. Writers of Root! songs registered with APRA
  12. Composers of Root! songs registered with APRA
  13. Steve Paix in Tarmac Adam

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