Good vibe times with The Roots

Roots founder Tariq Trot­ter prom­ises great shows, even if the band fails to get along, writes Mikey Cahill

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - CONTENTS -

LADIES and gen­tle­men, please make him feel wel­come, it’s the Dalai Lama of the Mi­cro­phone, the MC with pos­i­tive vibes even though his name is Black Thought, The Roots co-founder with Quest­love: Tariq Trot­ter! Um. Hello. Tariq?

‘‘It’s ac­tu­ally past my bed­time right now,’’ Trot­ter croaks. He’s not be­ing rude, he just sounds a lit­tle like burnt toast. Like the world has over­cooked him and in­stead of talk­ing about an Aus­tralian tour he’d rather be catch­ing some Zs.

It’s so far into Trot­ter’s day that he’s speak­ing at a pace that sug­gests he’s from the Amer­i­can Deep South, not Philadel­phia. Isn’t he used to (drum roll) late nights (boom, tish)? ‘‘We taped Late Night with Jimmy Fal­lon from five to seven tonight, then I went shop­ping with my wife, and now I’m home and I should get to bed,’’ he says.

We might as well cut him some slack, The Roots are 13 al­bums into their ca­reer and they’ve never, re­peat, never made a bad record. Last month they knocked it outta the park with a fully fledged Elvis Costello col­lab­o­ra­tion, Wise Up Ghost.

Trot­ter and drum­mer and Twit­ter over­lord Quest­love formed The Roots in 1987 af­ter jam­ming at the Philadel­phia High School for Cre­ative Per­form­ing Arts.

Side­walks led to cof­fee shops led to sta­di­ums as they as­sem­bled a posse of mu­si­cians and char­ac­ters that had enough cre­ative ten­sion to bear fruit.

Their big­gest hit has been The Seed Ver­sion 2.0, fea­tur­ing Cody Chesnutt. Just like Chesnutt, The Roots have long re­jected rap’s booty clips and ver­te­brae-test­ing bling. Black Thought rapped: ‘‘Who can stop the mu­sic run­ning through th­ese veins? In­fin­itely go against the grain,’’ on What They Do way back in the day and even threw down a Su­per Mario Brothers Rap in June dur­ing Video Game Week on Fal­lon.

Back to their live show, be­cause with The Roots that’s the end game. ‘‘It has to be in the ab­sence of all ego,’’ he of­fers. ‘‘If ev­ery­thing is good for us, be­tween the mem­bers of the band be­fore the cur­tain opens up, then the crowd will get a good show. Even if ev­ery­thing isn’t good we’re still gonna be pro­fes­sional and give it all. For the au­di­ence, it’s win-win.’’ Re­cent in­clu­sions in their sets have in­cluded Sweet

Child o’ Mine and Whole Lotta Love – any chance they’ll cover some Aus­tralian mu­sic?

‘‘It’s a pos­si­bil­ity we’ll do some­thing that Aus­tralians will in­stantly iden­tify with,’’ he says. Any AC/DC up your 16 sleeves? ‘‘Not yet, but it’s doable.’’

The Roots, Vi­o­lent Femmes, Neil Finn, The Cat Em­pire and more play the sold-out Falls Mu­sic & Arts Fes­ti­val, at North By­ron Park­lands, Yel­gun, from De­cem­ber 31 to Jan­uary 3.

The Roots

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