11 Things You Don't Know About The Roots An interview by Ashley LaRae
After over 20 years of collaboration together, The Roots' unique sound, impressive talent, and diverse style has made them the most successful hip hop band to date. Not only have they won a Grammy Award (and been nominated for six) but they also have a killer live show (Rolling Stone named them one of the "twenty greatest live acts in the world"...and I agree!). Keeping us musically entertained on Late night with Jimmy Fallon nightly and working with some of the world's best acts, they're definitely busy...but The Roots' musical director (and one of the most recognizable drummers of our time), ?uestlove, gave me some time after one of their concerts to share some things we don't already know.
11 things you don't know about ?uestlove and The Roots:
1. The Roots made up a secret language using chords and rhythm (like Morse Code! They've known each other for so long that a simple change in rhythm can mean an entire sentence to one another during a show. They have actual conversations this way while performing and we have no idea).
2. ?uestlove's favorite part of being in a band is the inside jokes (like their secret code above...when they crack jokes and discuss the audience members while we all sit their clueless, bobbing our heads in awe).
3. As a kid, ?uestlove was obsessed with anything circular that rotated. This is where his love for records came about...his parents would sit him in front of rotating objects (like records on a record player) for hours to keep him quiet.
4. He used to judge records based on how the logo rotated on the turntable (not the actual music itself).
5. Now that we know his biggest quirk as a child (call him "Rotator Boy"), it turns out that he's obsessed with Soul Train as an adult (I mean, totally obsessed. Like, he can recall at least 600 episodes to memory...in sequence! In particular, from episode 1 to 649...Wow, that's unusually impressive).
6. He cannot confirm (out loud at least...while being recorded) that his favorite food is fried chicken (but he DOES nod his head "yes" while grinning and saying "no")...He loves the fried chicken from The Blue Ribbon in New York.
7. The night I interviewed him, they were scheduled to perform on Dancing with the Stars the next morning (they were asked to perform last year but were excited to be able to do it this year. If you missed their performance with John Legend, you can watch it here).
8. Before each show, ?uestlove runs to a quiet room to concentrate (he calls it "cleansing" himself) for at least 30 minutes.
9. When asked how he would best describe The Roots, he says they're non-descript (but also stresses that they're "normal". Based on the times I've been around them, I'd use the word "grounded" to describe their normalcy).
10. Outside of music, his biggest passion is Soul Train (!).
11. His hobbies are (drum roll please.....................) Soul Train! (Did I mention that he's obsessed?)
...and a few more things you should know:
1. The Roots latest album, a collaboration with John Legend titled “Wake Up!” was released on September 21st.
2. They have released twelve studio albums and two live albums, beginning in 1993.
3. Each member of The Roots has worked with PETA, promoting compassion for animals.