Admittedly, I thought Jimmy Fallon’s move to late night back in 2009 was a bad idea. He had seemed like a lightweight during his SNL years — never able to keep a straight face through a sketch — and even with the Roots in tow, he seemed too much the douchey white boy to have earned the seat that Conan O’Brien had spent so many years keeping warm.
I was wrong.
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It makes complete sense that Questlove would want to write a book about Soul Train. How the Roots drummer and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon bandleader found the time to do it while he “poured through more than 1,100 episodes of the show,” according to the dust jacket of Soul Train: The Music, Dance and Style of a Generation, out today, is a mystery.
For a coffee table book, it’s a fairly modest tome—nearly 250 pages of full-color photos and large print, though still with more writing than you might expect from a guy as busy as Questlove is these days. In his introduction, he wastes no time mentioning his hometown. The fourth line: “Growing up in my house in Philadelphia, we weren’t allowed to watch anything on television except Sesame Street and Soul Train.”
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In case the runaway viral smash “The Fox” by Norway’s Ylvis slipped under your radar until right now, or if you’ve always wondered “just what does a fox say?”, we present for your lazy Saturday viewing pleasure the duo’s stunning performance with The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, featuring everyone’s favorite afro-pick’d drummer/band leader rocking it vulpine style.
If you’re wondering just who the heck Ylvis is, it’s actually brothers Bard and Vegard Ylvisaker, and they’re sort of like Norway’s Flight of the Conchords. They host a show called I Kveld Med Ylvis (Tonight With Ylvis) on TV Norge and they and their runaway hit just got the New York Times treatment:
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From the ongoing treasure trove of musical Jimmy Fallon videos: A–dare we say–stripped down appearance from Miley Cyrus.
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Just months after releasing critically well-received Mo’ Beta Blues, Questo of the Roots has a new jawn out. Soul Train: The Music, Dance, and Style of a Generation will hit bookstores on October 22nd.
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It’s heartwarming, hilarious, and well-executed. But but but…it’s not quite as effective as the “Blurred Lines” they did with the same instruments. The kazoo/plastic flute orchestra is actually plausible when you’re performing the theme from Sesame Street with the cast of Sesame Street.
The Roots’ new album with Elvis Costello is finally out, and Questlove is doing interviews for the album with Costello. Billboard reports:
Their musical relationship began with Costello’s visits to “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” where Quest leads house band (and acclaimed hip-hop group) The Roots. When the two realized how good their chemistry on stage is together, they quietly decided to give the idea of recording a few songs together a go—without informing their respective record labels.
“We recorded this in our closet of a dressing room after ‘Fallon’ shows,” Quest recalls. When their early demos turned out well, they cranked things up and went into full album mode. Lyrically, Costello says “Wise Up Ghost” “a collage” of unused material pulled from notebooks dating decades ago and fresh thoughts as well.
“I had verses from songs written 20 to 30 years apart that had the same theme or spoke to one another and that accumulated inside the frame of the new piece of music and told a new story,” says Elvis.
One of the nice things about Wise Up Ghost is how organic it sounds — it doesn’t sound like one of those shotgun weddings, where you put two artists together in the studio and it’s just kind of awkward.
It was the opposite of a shotgun wedding. We never knew we were making a record. I always give the analogy, like when the girl asks the guy after a fourth date: “What are we doing? Are we dating?” After we did fourteen of these songs, we were like, “Are we making a record? Or are we just doing this for fun?” Initially, I thought that maybe I’d just leak a song on the Internet for free. Elvis just happened to play it for Don Was, and it went from there.
We made this album in our dressing room [at Late Night With Jimmy Fallon]. After the show was over, Elvis would come at, like, seven o’clock, and we’d just mess around until 2 a.m. and go home with these cool songs. And after a while, that wound up being sixteen, seventeen songs.
In light of the landmark decision ruling New York City’s stop-and-frisk policy unconstitutional, Questlove spoke to Democracy Now about his own experience with the policy, in Philly and in New York. The first time, he said, occurred in 1987 after he and a buddy drove to buy a copy of U2′s Joshua Tree, in anticipation of an upcoming show at JFK Stadium.
We were driving home and then seconds later on Washington Avenue in Philly, cops stopped us and he was holding a gun on us. And there’s nothing like the first time a gun is held on you. Like, we were 16, mind you.
That was the first time. The last time? Two or three weeks ago, driving back to Manhattan from his regular Thursday night DJ gig at the Brooklyn Bowl.
They walked up, asked to see license and registration. And it was like four of them with flashlights everywhere … They wanted to know, ‘Are you in a cab? Is this a cab? Where’s your New York taxi license?’ I have my own car, and I have my own driver.
They let him go five minutes later, after he showed them a copy of his new book. “I get stopped all the time,” he said, estimating 20 or 30 instances in the last two decades. [Democracy Now]
If you have at least one functioning ear, you’ve heard Robin Thicke’s inescapable hit “Blurred Lines.” The song just hit nine weeks at No. 1 and bailed out Stephen Colbert when his Colbchella episode got Daft Punk’d. But like Sharknado and Mayor Nutter’s vacation, the song and the accompanying video are shrouded in wonder and mystery. To bring the summer to a satisfying close, here are the answers to your burning questions surrounding 2013’s most infectious jam.
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Jimmy Fallon, Robin Thicke, and the Roots, jammed into some place more cramped than the back of a Volkswagon, performing “Blurred Lines.” With tiny toy instruments. Including kazoo, colored xylophone and tiny banana.
The irony of course is that the original “unrated” video could not be less about kazoos, colored xylophones, and tiny bananas. Well, maybe tiny bananas.
[Late Night with Jimmy Fallon]