Aidin Vaziri | A while back, we checked in with the Roots’ drummer and bandleader, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. He let us in on how the Philadelphia hip-hop crew unexpectedly became the house band on NBC’s “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,” playing walk-on music for big-time celebrities and stirring up the occasional controversy. The Roots’ groundbreaking albums, such as 1999’s “Things Fall Apart” and 2002’s “Phrenology,” have pushed the genre in new directions, while the band members have become regular players at the Grammys, in movies and, well, probably your living room.
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
Q: At what point do you think the novelty of being a TV band is going to wear off?
A: The novelty doesn’t wear off because every week you have to be on your toes. This is a blessing in disguise because every day we have to rehearse. One thing people don’t know about the group is that, for all the acclaim we have gotten, we never rehearse because every day we used to do a three-hour show. Rehearsals have been off in some nondescript town and the real show is in Los Angeles or Chicago. But now we get real rehearsals every day. Our songwriting has gotten way better. Our musicianship has gotten way better. It takes practice. There’s no hiding on television.