The Roots Find Their Home in San Francisco

Band gets back to live performances in Bay Area show

One of the hardest working bands in show business is getting back to its roots.

The Roots took flack for taking a break from touring and putting out albums to become a late night television band. Former Jay Leno saxophonist Branford Marsalis -- who abruptly quit his gig as Leno's musical foil in the early 1990s -- cautioned against the move telling the band that they would be "neutered!" wrote that the band "opening up for Jimmy Fallon every night is the cultural equivalent of Miles Davis playing his horn on the subway platform."

Shows how much they know. One of Rolling Stone's "twenty greatest live acts in the world" is getting back to the road and have something to look forward to when the tour is over.

Drummer Questlove and his band of hip hopsters are taking a break from their late night duties with Jimmy Fallon to play a show this Saturday at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco.

Questlove and Black Thought said the gig has been good for them and has offered a steady pay check in a turbulent economy, a chance to spend time with their families and enabled the band "to survive."

The Roots Slo Jam the news

"This would basically match or surpass what we would make touring 200-plus days out of the year," ?uestlove said. "And, two, this allows us to be home."

Roots' MC, Tariq Trotter, or Black Thought, said before the late night gig started, "the further we were sinking into economic disaster."

When the economy went into recession, ticket sales -- their chief source of income -- started to slow.

The band also said the show has been a welcomed break from the road for a band that has always toured extensively.

"Initially I was a little leery," said Black Thought. "I initially was thinking, `Is this just going to be ammo for some other rapper to try to dis me for?' Like, `Your career is so over now. You're a house band for ...' You have to be that many steps ahead of whatever move you're going to make."

Tickets for the show are still available at the SF Jazz Web site.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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