Latest Questlove Articles
- Dave Matthews Performs With The Roots, Maggie Rogers & Vusi Mahlasela At Apollo In The Hamptons Benefit
Dave Matthews was backed by The Roots and collaborated with Maggie Rogers, Vusi Mahlasela and more at the 10th annual Apollo In The Hamptons benefit on Saturday night.
Watch David Crosby perform with The Roots and discuss his documentary film with director Cameron Crowe on Tuesday’s episode of ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.’
Watch The Who team up with The Roots and Jimmy Fallon for a performance of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” featuring classroom instruments.
Watch The Roots perform the classic pop hit “More Today Than Yesterday” at the intimate New York City jazz club Django.
The Roots have unveiled the lineup for the 2019 Roots Picnic, which is set to include sets from H.E.R., 21 Savage, Lil Baby, Raphael Saadiq vs. Soulquarians, Tank & The Bangas and more.
Watch Weezer, Jimmy Fallon and The Roots perform A-Ha’s classic 1984 hit “Take On Me” on classroom instruments.
More Questlove Articles
Drummer/producer Ahmir Thompson is a living link between the digital science of modern hip-hop and the flesh-and-blood textures of vintage R&B. He co-founded the Roots, universally hailed as one of the most sonically inventive hip-hop acts. Meanwhile, his collaborations with such artists as D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, and Common have reasserted the importance of real-time playing in a style dominated by sampling and programming. “I’m really into the game of making people guess, is it a machine, or is it him?” says Thompson, who also goes by the name ?uestlove (pronounced “Questlove”). One famous example is the Roots’ biggest hit, “You Got Me,” which sounds for all the world like a programmed side stick patternuntil Thompson cuts loose with a blazing drum-and-bass groove. Like much of Thompson’s work, the passage is startling, witty, and funky. “Hip-hop is based in rhythm, repetition, and perfect time,” says Thompson. “With Roots stuff, I go for a more perfect, quantized-type sound than I would with, say, Erykah or D’Angelo. For D’Angelo’s Voodoo, we wanted to play as perfectly as we could, but then deliberately insert the little glitch that makes it sound messed up. The idea was to sound disciplined, but with a total human feel.” For Thompson, “human feel” is bred in the bone. His father was the leader of the ’50s doo-wop group Lee Andrews and the Hearts, and Ahmir literally grew up onstage. “My whole family was involved playing the oldies circuit with groups like the Coasters, the Drifters, the Chiffons,” he says. “I was playing percussion at gigs from the age of seven because my parents didn’t believe in babysitters. By 13, I was the musical director, and I stayed in that world until I got a record deal with the Roots at age 22.” But Thompson is quick to point out that he is no real-time purist: “In actuality, one of the biggest influences on my drumming is a producer and drum programmer named Jaydee, from the group Slum Village. He makes programmed stuff so real, you really can’t tell it’s programmed. He might program 128 bars, with absolutely no looping or quantizing. When Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest first played me some of his stuff, I said, ‘The drums are messed up! The time is wrong!’ And when we did a song for D’Angelo’s record that Lenny Kravitz was supposed to play on, Lenny said, ‘I can’t play with thisthere’s a discrepancy in the drum pattern.’ And we’re like, ‘It’s supposed to be this way!'” Thompson relies on several Yamaha kits: a new Maple Custom Absolute, several sets from the early ’80s, and the Stage Custom he used with D’Angelo. But Thompson’s tireless studio experimentation is as crucial to his drum sounds as the instruments themselves. “I like to mold sounds like clay,” he says. “Sometimes I put drums through a guitar amp. Or we might put mikes everywherein the room, down the hall, anyplace you might hear the drums. Sometimes we use just the farthest mikes, EQ them until they sound dirty enough, mix it all to one track, really compress it, and then bounce it to another track. We’d go around that cycle a few timessix generations, maybe.”
Watch Bob Weir perform Grateful Dead songs with Old Crow Medicine Show and “Deep Elem Blues” with Edie Brickell from Lockn’ 2019.
Widespread Panic kicks off their three-night run at the Ryman in Nashville with a number of bust outs from Neil Young, The Beatles and more.
Watch Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi join Trey Anastasio Band at Lockn’ festival 2019.
The String Cheese Incident will perform at Denver’s new Mission Ballroom as part of the band’s home state Thanksgiving Run 2019.
Watch Bob Weir appear onstage – on a couch – during Joe Russo’s Almost Dead’s performance at the Lockn’ festival Thursday night.