The Roots: Jimmy Fallon's house band -- Tariq ''Black Thought'' Trotter on his new gig as ''Late Night'''s bandleader

By EW Staff
Updated February 27, 2009 at 05:00 AM EST

What made you take this gig?
I mean, it’s a recession. It’s being felt in every industry. So the opportunity to have one foot in one industry and be able to put another foot in something else was just very welcome.

Did you know Jimmy well before this?
Just in passing, from being at a couple of the same events. We also just happened to be super major Saturday Night Live fans and fans of the fraternity that Jimmy comes from.

With your new schedule, will you guys still be able to tour?
I think so. There’s a certain amount of time per year that you get off, so we’ll just use that. And then on the weekends we’ll travel, [but] we won’t be able to go abroad as much.

Will you only be playing the Roots’ music on Late Night?
We’ll just be playing new material [due to licensing issues with the Roots’ catalog]. We’ll probably play some Roots songs when we’re off air, but then as soon as they’re coming back we’ll just start playing something else.