Archives For the roots

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.
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My Thanksgiving tradition: Waking up early, walking a few blocks to Central Park West, chatting with some friends who are performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and snapping a few photos and videos the floats.
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A big thanks to Macy’s along with Rachel Platten, Pat Monahan, Brendon Urie, Questlove, Shawn Mendes, Prince Royce, Trey Songz and Spongebob Squarepants.

Before performing on “The Tonight Show,” Hozier chatted with “Ralphie Tonight” about the success of his single “Take Me To Church,” walking red carpets and reacted to something that Annie Lennox recently said about his hit song on our show. We also asked Hozier if he cares about the potential label of “one-hit wonder,” and his answer might surprise you.


The singer also talked about the next singles off his album in both the U.S. and UK respectively, In America, “Work Song” is the next track to be released from the LP; he performed it on “Fallon” last week.

Before heading to 30 Rock for “Tonight Show” rehearsals, Hozier chatted with “Ralphie Tonight” about the performance and what we could expect.

Hozier performed the second US single, “Work Song,” from his self-titled album. The full conversation with Andrew will air Monday evening (3/9) on “Ralphie Tonight.”

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.

It was a busy Saturday in New York before the NBA All-Star Game. We caught up with Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union, Jill Martin and others at the Wade Bowling Classic. The event at Bowlmor Lanes in Times Square benefited “Game Changer,” a new partnership between Wade’s World and the Sandals Foundation.

After Saturday’s festivities at Barclays Center, it was off to the Bric Arts Center in Brooklyn where Spike Lee held his “Spreadin’ Love is Da Brooklyn Way” All-Star Weekend Sneaker Jam.

“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.

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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

so i was in DC for the weekend… pictures to come, but for now, here’s this week’s portion of the ralphie report that describes some of the randomness that occurred…
The Green Apple Festival is billed as the world’s largest Earth Day celebration. This year’s festivities were scheduled in eight cities in landmarks across the U.S. Sites included Central Park in New York City and The Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

Another location – The National Mall in Washington D.C., did not party with scheduled acts The Roots, Ne-Yo, and will.i.am. Despite a celebration of Earth, Mother Nature did not cooperate. Downpours brought thunder, lightening, and damage to the sound equipment. The day-long concert began at noon, but would not last much after. The only big act to perform a quick music set was American Idol runner-up Blake Lewis.

In yet another sign that this world is smaller than we all think, I ran into Lewis at the bar inside The Marriott on Pennsylvania Avenue later in the night. Turns out the Seattle-born singer did not find out that he would perform at the festival until 48 hours before hand. Of course, Lewis was disappointed that the dismal weather cut the event short.

“Like literally, right when I stepped on (stage), the rain started,” he told me over a beer. “It’s too bad, because there was a nice crowd too, and by the time I finished there was about 6,000 people there.”

Officials ended the event just after 3 pm. The large crowd never saw The Roots jam with will.i.am. or Doug E. Fresh. Even Lewis planned on jumping in on the action – but instead relegated back to his hotel room.

Meanwhile the lead emcee of The Black Eyed Peas packed his bags and hopped on the next first class flight to Los Angeles. After spending a mere few hours at home, will.i.am would jet off to London, supporting his CD, Songs About Girls, which is still receiving copious amounts of love overseas.

Lewis planned on spending the night in our nation’s capital – as unsexy as that might seem. After all, this was a Sunday night in a city filled with weekday warriors working the 9 to 5. A flight home awaited the Idol contestant in the morning.

And me? Well the weekend was a far cry from a disappointment. After an eventful Saturday evening in D.C. with one of my college roommates, I spend the early part of Sunday watching my Yankees defeat the Orioles in Baltimore.

Of course, the evening wasn’t so shabby either.

so i was in DC for the weekend… pictures to come, but for now, here’s this week’s portion of the ralphie report that describes some of the randomness that occurred…
The Green Apple Festival is billed as the world’s largest Earth Day celebration. This year’s festivities were scheduled in eight cities in landmarks across the U.S. Sites included Central Park in New York City and The Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

Another location – The National Mall in Washington D.C., did not party with scheduled acts The Roots, Ne-Yo, and will.i.am. Despite a celebration of Earth, Mother Nature did not cooperate. Downpours brought thunder, lightening, and damage to the sound equipment. The day-long concert began at noon, but would not last much after. The only big act to perform a quick music set was American Idol runner-up Blake Lewis.

In yet another sign that this world is smaller than we all think, I ran into Lewis at the bar inside The Marriott on Pennsylvania Avenue later in the night. Turns out the Seattle-born singer did not find out that he would perform at the festival until 48 hours before hand. Of course, Lewis was disappointed that the dismal weather cut the event short.

“Like literally, right when I stepped on (stage), the rain started,” he told me over a beer. “It’s too bad, because there was a nice crowd too, and by the time I finished there was about 6,000 people there.”

Officials ended the event just after 3 pm. The large crowd never saw The Roots jam with will.i.am. or Doug E. Fresh. Even Lewis planned on jumping in on the action – but instead relegated back to his hotel room.

Meanwhile the lead emcee of The Black Eyed Peas packed his bags and hopped on the next first class flight to Los Angeles. After spending a mere few hours at home, will.i.am would jet off to London, supporting his CD, Songs About Girls, which is still receiving copious amounts of love overseas.

Lewis planned on spending the night in our nation’s capital – as unsexy as that might seem. After all, this was a Sunday night in a city filled with weekday warriors working the 9 to 5. A flight home awaited the Idol contestant in the morning.

And me? Well the weekend was a far cry from a disappointment. After an eventful Saturday evening in D.C. with one of my college roommates, I spend the early part of Sunday watching my Yankees defeat the Orioles in Baltimore.

Of course, the evening wasn’t so shabby either.