NBC Budget Cuts Leave the Roots Scrambling to Write Some Late Night Jams

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While the jury is still out as to whether Jimmy Fallon's impending late-night experiment will end up with him being crowned the next Conan O'Brien or the next Chevy Chase, there is one area of the show that observers seem to be feeling pretty okay about: the music. Ever since the Roots were announced as Fallon's backing band, fans have been pretty comfortable that the show's bumpers will sound a little more funky and at least as equally muscular as what the Max Weinberg 7 has been bringing to the table. However, with the show's debut less than two weeks away, it seems that the Roots might have been taken slightly aback by NBC budget cuts that will prevent the band from playing published music by other artists. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Roots drummer ?uestlove admitted that the band is scrambling to put together enough original compositions to fill the airtime.

As if commuting via bus back and forth from Philly every night (!) wasn't enough pressure for the band, the guys seem to be a little bit behind the 8-Ball when it comes to putting together their musical beds. "We have to write 200 new songs, which will probably last about a year," ?uestlove tells RS. "We've written about 55 so far." While we don't see this being any sort of major disruption for the show, it is surprising to learn that NBC is no longer willing to spring to pay publisher fees for the band to play instrumental covers of hit songs (à la Paul Schaffer and the CBS Orchestra) on their Late Night program. Hmmm, maybe now's a good time to see whether the McFlurry folks have any spare change lying around? Then again, it probably won't matter, considering that most of the audience is gonna be drunk, anyway.

The Roots' ?uestlove Talks Late Night With Jimmy Fallon [Rolling Stone]