As backing guitarist for everyone from the Beastie Boys to John
McLaughlin and the Boss on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, the Roots’
“Captain” Kirk Douglas stands in the unique position of spearheading
a soul-music resurgence and taking guitar into genres heretofore
untouched by his funky brand of 6-string badness.
BY TESSA JEFFERS
Seeing neo-soul band the Roots on tour is entirely different from what you see during their main gig as the house band for Late
Night with Jimmy Fallon or when they’re collaborating with pop titans like John Legend.
Performing live as a stand-alone entity, the
eight-member outfit led by famed producer
Questlove (drums/vocals), Black Thought
(MC), and guitarist “Captain” Kirk Douglas
shows mad diversity—everything from schizophrenic jazz stylings to deep, hip-hop-tinged
grooves, strutting funk, and ripping rock jams.
It’s safe to say the Roots could solidly back
virtually any act, given that they’ve done so
for everyone from Jay-Z to Bruce Springsteen,
Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, and Fall Out Boy.
Needless to say, the group possesses a dynamism that few can match, and over the course
of their career they’ve managed to evolve while
still playing from the heart and remaining true
to the music that inspires them. And that’s
why the Roots is largely responsible for both
a renaissance in, and a major re-imagining of,