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Live hip-hop act The Roots are famous for the intensity of their on-stage shows. But they work just as hard to show audiences what’s going on backstage.
Drummer ?uestlove said that along with sharing their lifestyle, songs like False Media, from the band’s latest, Game Theory, criticize the spread of misinformation in the media.
“I always want people to have an idea of what truth is, not just what people want them to see,” he said. “(Today you see) a lot of spin and webs of lies over webs of lies — there’s too much to register.”
?uestlove pointed to deliberate half truths as well as genuine mistakes, such as when he played drums for Prince in 2000. While he enjoyed a “rock star moment” climbing behind the kit, ?uestlove received a surprise the next day.
“(The reviewer) wrote one of the wonders of the night was a drummer who got pulled from the audience,” he said. “(But) she thought I was Buddy (Miles)! … It was a bittersweet moment — getting called a 430-pound drummer is definitely not the shit.”
The group’s efforts to connect fans with the touring lifestyle began with the video for What They Do and extended to projects like the film Block Party. When they moved online the group started answering fan questions through video interviews on Myspace, and ?uestlove’s ‘Award Touries’ used YouTube to document their tour. The group’s goal? To show people they live “regular Joe lives.”
“When (my neighbours) find out I’m a musician, they always ask why I’m still living there,” said ?uestlove. “Some of us still drive regular cars. … Just because we’re artists doesn’t mean we live in mansions.”