Last week the Roots drummer talked about how he rocks a party and prepping for his big Prince-dedicated show.
Between performances from Timeflies, Neon Trees and Ludacris at Billboard’s relaunch party at New York City’s Stage 48 last Thursday, Questlove’s DJing kept feet on the dance floor and heads bopping. He spun everything from Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” to Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Paris,” leaving no member of the crowd without hearing a song they could dance to.
“The reason why I get chosen is that I’m all-inclusive,” Quest said to Billboard during a break backstage. “I hit the baby boomers, the Generation Xers, Generation Yers and the millennium generation.”
“I play stuff from now, going all the way back to Benny Goodman playing old jazz stuff,” he added. “It’s fun to trick people into dancing to music that they’re not used to. I don’t even think the crowd noticed that they danced to Miles Davis tonight.”
Quest had just gotten off the set from filming that evening’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” along with his Roots crew. That’s his day job. But he’s got plenty going on elsewhere.
Partnering with Michael Dorf, the founder of City Winery, Quest will head a show commemorating legendary rock and funk man Prince to raise funds for music education programs serving the poor on March 7 at Carnegie Hall.
“We choose a god each year to worship,” Quest said. “So this year is Prince’s year. I’m honored to be leading the house band.”
Acts on the bill include his group the Roots, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Talib Kweli, Living Colour and more.
He’s also working with old school icon Al Green on his new album. The two paired before for Green’s critically acclaimed and award-winning “Lay It Down.”
“I noticed that all the Grammys he’s won, he’s never won any for soul music,” Quest said. “I got him his first R&B and Soul Grammy. I hope we get to make more magic.”
Questlove is one of the busier guys in the music business, but knows his time as the it DJ, composer/glue man, drummer won’t last forever. “You got to take crazy advantage of it,” he cautioned. “I know now not to let any opportunity lie.”