Douglas and Damon “Tuba Gooding
Jr.” Bryson catch a vibe during the
University of Vermont’s Springfest
2011. Photo by Jennifer Murtha
What are some of your favorite performances so far?
Springsteen, definitely. I get chills just
thinking about that. Playing “Late in the
Evening” with Paul Simon was magical.
We played with Tom Jones. We’ve played
with Jimmy Buffett, Todd Rundgren, Elvis
Costello. All of those had an element of
magic to them.
Which situations were the most surprising
We played a piece with Mos Def called
“Casa Bey” that was more complex than
what you would expect from a hip-hop
artist. When we collaborate with hip-hop artists, they tend to be repetitive,
loop-based things. But when we did this
with Mos Def, it was sort of a The Rite of
Spring-like arrangement. There were a lot
of parts, and we’re not reading when we’re
up there [on air], so you have to do a lot
Hip-hop also places a lot
of emphasis on rhythm and
the word. I’ve gotten better
as a guitar player from being
in the Roots, and rhythm is
a huge part of it.
of memorization. It’s a best-case scenario
to play things many times to get it in your
head and in your fingers, but sometimes
you don’t have that opportunity. So it
requires a lot of focus.
Let’s talk about your weapons of choice a
With the Roots, I use Mesa/Boogie amplifiers. They’re just very versatile, sort of like a
Swiss Army knife, but without getting into
the digital world—which I’m not opposed
to, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.
I like the feel of tubes, and I’ve just found
a situation that works for me and allows
me to worry about other things. My setup