The Roots’ ?uestlove on Life on “Jimmy Fallon” as Late Night’s Hottest House Band

November 20th, 2009 by Andy Greene Leave a reply »


As Jay Leno, David Letterman and Conan O’Brien battle for late-night supremacy, one thing has become clear: Jimmy Fallon has the hottest house band. In their eight months on the air, the Roots have played with everybody from Paul Simon to Christopher Cross to Weird Al Yankovic, and have been hilarious in skits. As the group preps for a show featuring Hulk Hogan and Edward Norton, ?uestlove reveals that the network was initially skittish about bringing them onboard. “All they knew of us was ‘rap group,’ ” the drummer says. “They were a tad bit worried if we had range or not. In the beginning they were throwing a lot of debris and Hanna Barbara-style Acme TNT obstacles at us to see if we could obstacle the course. On a whim, four hours before the show they said to us once, ‘We’re going to do a Broadway song. Can you learn it? Here’s the sheet music.’ I was like, ‘Wait a minute, you guys are trying to get rid of us. You think we cant do this.’ ”

In those early days, NBC also put the group on 13-week contracts. “Once we did [the sketch] ‘Freestyling With The Roots’ for the first time, they knew we were there for life. At this point they have complete faith in us.” (For even more on the Roots’ Fallon gig, grab the current issue of RS.)

?uestlove’s Fallon countdown: his favorite all-star jams, celebrity slams and more.

As ?uestlove sits behind his drum kit in the group’s tiny rehearsal space, he is simultaneously writing texts on his cell phone, eating yogurt, jamming with his band (sometimes playing with one hand) and conducting an interview. Their current problem is figuring out what song to play as Hulk Hogan walks out. Their initial idea to play “Staying Alive” is deemed too mean because the wrestler&...

Article Source: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily


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