Questlove Digs Coachella’s Tupac Hologram, Hopes for Led Zeppelin Holo-Reunion

Plus: Why he recently paid $59.99 for a Best Western room just to use the toilet.

Yesterday, I got Questlove on the phone to interview him about the Roots Picnic for a piece in Philadelphia magazine, and we discussed the two-day festival at length, as you’ll soon see in the June issue. But we also talked about the Coachella Tupac hologram … and how far the drummer’s willing to go for a clean, private bathroom.

Let’s talk about the Tupac hologram.
I tweeted about Tupac, and the second I did, fans of Gorillaz, Mariah Carey [both of whom have used holograms] and this Japanese singer’s all came at me. I knew about the Japanese concert, but of course to the dismay of Mariah Carey and the Gorillaz … None of them have the means or—I am not saying the smarts—to market it. This is the first time it’s been talked about. Tupac is a beloved hip hop outlaw, and it’s like it’s happening for the first time. Hip hop is world famous for that, “discovering” stuff that might be old music or a dressing style. It is like hip hop to take something that’s been there all the while and claim it as its own.

Where do you see the technology taking us going forward?
[The Tupac performance] is going to be a watermark, and, as I’ve predicted, I fully expect the Elvis estate, Jackson estates, and possibly the Beatles estates to now follow suit. I’m sort of looking down the line, and I know this is going to be the standard of entertainment.

Seriously? You think this will replace “live” performance?
I happen to know that Kanye was considering this when Glow in the Dark first started. He always wanted this particular Glow in the Dark show, he wanted it to be like Cirque du Soleil with someone else playing his role. I believe the wheels are turning in the minds of those people. Kanye included. I think in five to seven years, once technology gets cheaper, this will be my competition. I predict that Kanye will be the first artist to cash in on it.

Conceivably, Kanye could release an album five years from now with simultaneous “live” performances all around the world.
Yes. Instead of Clear Channel giving a concert and you go to a movie theater to watch it, Kanye can now perform his brand-new album behind a green screen and throw an event for which you get to watch it wherever you are. Because you know it’s gonna happen.

Maybe we can finally see the Led Zeppelin reunion tour.
You know what’s hilarious? Ten years ago, they released a DVD of all the lost Led Zeppelin performances. Now, see … Ugh. See you hit the magic button. That would pique my curiosity. As a concert junkie, I’m the one that is like, I wanna know what that’s like. What would that have been like to see Zeppelin in 1975 when Physical Graffiti came out? They have the shows. Now all they have to do is match the visuals with that. And the way the art is now, as with video games, they could get animators that could draw and reproduce the movements.

And five to seven years from now, from 20 feet away, I’m thinking it would look legit.
I would be feeding the animal that kills me. I would be the first in line to see that Zeppelin show.

Are you doing week two of Coachella?
I’ll be there. Well, I accepted a gig at the ACE Hotel that is damn near Coachella. I’m doing their pool party, which is fine for me, because the one thing I loathe about these types of festivals is how do these people defecate. There’s no sanitary toilet. Nowhere to go. I couldn’t take that.

Questlove, are you telling me that you’re one of those people who doesn’t crap in a restaurant?
Tariq got mad at me [on Sunday], because I made our bus driver pull over at a Best Western in Breezewood. The truck stop there is the most unsanitary truck stop I’ve ever seen. It’s like they intentionally go on the seat. So it was either the Best Western or make the bus suffer. I’ve done enough DJ gigs that I could give up $59.99 to the Best Western. It was the look on the face of the proprietor that made it all worthwhile. He’d never seen me a day before in his life, and I told him, “I’m gonna get this room for all of 10 minutes.”

Did you leave a tip for the housekeeper?
I always leave a tip for the housekeeper.

Editor’s Note: Read part two of this Q&A, in which Questlove talks fried chicken, Philadelphia’s public art and classical music, on The Philly Post on Thursday.