and MC Black
Kirk looks on.
it’s the end product that’s most important—there are so many other opportunities for me to get my playing out.
Vintage Sound Never Looked So Good
When strummed the first
thing that you will notice is
the vintage “bang” and depth.
The Cort Earth 100’s solid
spruce top and carefully
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to deliver this classic
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feel and see it
The Roots has a new bassist, Mark
Kelley, who has been onboard a few
months now. As far as writing guitar
and bass parts, what’s the dynamic like
between you two?
A large part of what the Roots is now
is being a house band for Fallon. The
time we spend onstage together, where
the audience pays to see the act the
Roots and the Roots alone, that’s sort
of the past. So when we do a show
where people are paying to see the
Roots only, that’s a very special evening.
But we’re writing all the time—every
time we go to commercial, that’s an
What are those writing sessions like?
Well, for instance, right now Questlove
is sick, so he’s out from the Fallon show
for a week. So Frank Knuckles, our percussionist, is writing the set. It’s a very
well-oiled machine, as far as coming up
with stuff at the drop of a hat. Because
the only intent is to take us in and out
of a commercial, we don’t feel like we
have to change the world with every
piece of music we write. But because that
pressure is lifted, you can come up with
some really cool stuff—because we all
want to make stuff that we enjoy playing. By virtue of that, sometimes really
good stuff happens, and sometimes that
stuff also finds its way onto albums.
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What’s it like to jam with so many
It’s fun. Work can definitely be a box of
chocolates. Yesterday, we were the backing band for Hunter Hayes, a fantastic
who’s, like, 20 years old and a formidable
player. I only heard about him through the
show. I went on You Tube to check him out
and saw that he’s already played the Grand
Ole Opry, and he’s got a big hit that we
backed him on yesterday. But I only found
out about that from being in the Roots and
being on Jimmy Fallon. That sort of scenario happens pretty regularly. You get to see
people’s fingers up close— all these people
like John McLaughlin. It really enriches
your musical experience.