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Stars converged inside The Theater at Madison Square Garden for a special benefit concert honoring what would have been John Lennon’s 75th birthday. A few of the musicians participating in the event along with the evening’s host, Kevin Bacon, stopped to chat with me on the red carpet. The concert aired on AMC Saturday, December 19.
bacon

RCA Records artist Elle King stopped by “Ralphie Tonight” to perform an acoustic version of her single “Ex’s & Oh’s” and talk with us about her album Love Stuff, performing on “The Tonight Show,” and more.

King will play a number of festivals this summer in addition to supporting James Bay on a portion of his U.S. tour.

Even before landing on late night television, The Roots were one of the busiest bands in showbiz. Formed by emcee Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson in 1987, the Philadelphia-based crew toured the globe extensively before landing at 30 Rock alongside Jimmy Fallon in March of 2009.

But regardless how road-tested you are, few could move through the schedule that the band held over the past three weeks and not feel at least a little worse for wear. First, The Roots traveled to Phoenix for “The Tonight Show” post-Super Bowl. Then they flew farther west for Fallon’s “LA Week” of shows.

“I’m tired,” Questlove said, pretty matter-of-factly, when I caught up with him the Thursday before The GRAMMYs at a party he was DJ-ing at in Hollywood. “I love the great weather but I can’t wait to get back to New York, to my regular New York routine.”

Still, it was far from all gloom for Thompson.

“(The west coast has) been great. People have been receiving us well,” he continued. “(We’ve had) some of the highest ratings we’ve had and the biggest trending topics we’ve ever done…it’s been awesome. I can’t wait for next year.”


The Roots’ resurrected its pre-GRAMMYs jam with a weeklong jam session, and Questlove backed Ed Sheeran’s John Mayer-assisted performance of “Thinking Out Loud” at Sunday night’s award show. Then the band returned to New York for a week of shows and events leading up to last weekend’s NBA All-Star Game, which was held at Madison Square Garden.

“We’re holding up as well as can be expected,” Trotter told me on Saturday, before The Roots played GQ’s All-Star Party. The emcee was in attendance at an event for a new partnership between Dwyane Wade’s “Wade’s World” and the Sandals Foundation called, “Game Changer.” “It was rough, the two weeks we were out on the west coast, just because we didn’t sleep much.”

However echoing Quest’s sentiments, Tariq felt a sense of accomplishment leaving Los Angeles, successfully completing the run on “The Tonight Show” in LA while bringing the band’s GRAMMY tradition back to life.

“It was definitely a homecoming for ‘The Tonight Show,’” said Trotter. “It was a homecoming for me. I lived in LA for quite a few years and I just love it out there. The only thing that could make it better would be the decision to pick the show up and move back to the west coast, especially during a time like now when the weather is so depressing here on the east coast.”

And that’s coming from someone who is not only well-traveled, but from Philadelphia.

Some sights and sounds from day 2 of “Ralphie Tonight” at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for Westwood One’s “Red Carpet Radio” at The 57th GRAMMYs. The busiest of the two days saw GRAMMY nominees, pas winners and more stop by to chat with “Ralphie Tonight.”





Sights and sounds from day 1 of “Ralphie Tonight” at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for Westwood One’s “Red Carpet Radio” at The 57th GRAMMYs. GRAMMY winners, award-winning directors, up-and-coming stars and everyone in between stopped by to chat on “Ralphie Tonight.”



“Late Night” and “The Tonight Show” have elevated The Roots to a whole new level of fame, but the Philadelphia-born band has been around since 1987. Its influence reaches far beyond television. Look no further than… well, Joel and Benji Madden, the twin brothers that comprised a very popular pop rock band from Baltimore.

“We did a show once in D.C., and the cats from Good Charlotte told me the same thing, and I couldn’t believe it,” Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson told me on the red carpet of The Tony Awards earlier this month. I had just informed him that the band’s 1995 release “Do You Want More?!!!??!” inspired my camera man, Dan Mulqueen, to play drums and join a band.

“They’re like, ‘Yo dude, we saw you at the 9:30 Club and then we went home and were like, “Yo, let’s start a band,”’ Quest continued. “I’m like, ‘Wait, you’re trying to tell me, that you guys weren’t a band before seeing The Roots and you saw The Roots one night and then you decided, “We’re gonna start a band called Good Charlotte.”’”

The Madden Brothers (a name which they now also record under as a pop rock duo) confirmed this again to the drummer. While he has a hard time believing it, Quest thinks it’s both cool but a bit weird.

“Hip hop is leery to celebrate age,” he explained. “Hip hop is like the only culture in which it’s youth-obsessed.”

Jay Z is changing this in my opinion, and Quest agreed but noted he is accomplishing this by staying relevant. You could make a similar argument for Thompson, but he believes that in addition to wearing his age (43) proudly, it is his expansion outside of the genre that has afforded him the opportunity to become an elder statesman of sorts that is not looked at necessarily as elder.

“I’m working on three plays right now that will probably wind up on Broadway in 2016,” he revealed. “It’s hip hop’s turn.”

Quest told the story of how he even ended up at The Tony’s: A few weeks prior, award show host Hugh Jackman was on “The Tonight Show.” He pitched Quest on the idea that “The Music Man” was actually a hip hop play. The musician bought in to it, and agreed to help produce the rap that Jackman did during the show along side LL Cool J and T.I.

It is one of Questlove’s many skills that has come to light since Jimmy Fallon’s rise up the rankings of late night TV. And it is a ride that The Roots seem to be enjoying quite a bit.

“This is the coolest job ever,” he said simply of his position with “The Tonight Show.” We’re a bunch of 14 year-olds in the bodies of 40 year-olds.”

But it seems now, that “youth-obsessed” culture is simply looking at that age as just a number.

I caught up with celebrities arriving at Radio City Music Hall in New York for the 68th Annual Tony Awards. Check out my interviews with Questlove, Wayne Brady, Fantasia, T.I., and more below.

Early Thursday morning I’m back at my apartment. My usual routine involves sitting at my work station, blogging content from that night’s show and working on new material for the following evening. More times than not I’ll have my TV on in the background. Usually I just let SportsCenter loop over and over, but the other morning I turned on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” I remember years ago sitting in my old studio apartment and watching Fallon’s first episode. It has been really fun to see his evolution as a host, and the “Saturday Night Live” alum is one of my favorite’s to watch on TV now. Anyways, Fallon was interviewing Vanessa Hudgens, of High School Musical fame. He asks the actress what she is currently listening to, and they exchange a few bands before she says this:

I began to laugh because I think “Rack City” is one of those so-bad-it’s-amazing tracks. Plus I find it hilarious that a former Disney star is talking about “throwin hundids” on late night television. However, I was a little shocked that Fallon’s house band, The Roots, didn’t take full advantage of this opportunity to belt in to Tyga’s song. So, Isent a tweet over to drummer Questlove.

What do you know, he responds. And my initial reaction was justified.

Questo is one of those guys that you never hear a bad thing about in media circles. I interviewed him the day “Late Night” premiered, and you can still download that interview here.

This video has gone extremely viral – a kid offering inspiration to others after learning how to ride his bicycle.

Just as much of a feel good story here: a soldier uses the Kansas City Royals to propose to his girlfriend.

And Karmin is back, this time teaming up with ?uestlove from The Roots to cover Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass.”

Download the mp3

The day that “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” on WBRE launched, new house band & current Roots drummer ?uestlove called in to The Ralphie Radio Show.


Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” airs weeknights at 12:35a on WBRE/NBC.
Twitter Links:
– Jimmy Fallon
– ?uestlove
– Ralphie