Billboard Bits: The Roots, Guitar Center, Guinness

The Roots will serve as the house band on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon," which premieres March 2 on NBC. Fallon made the announcement yesterday (Dec. 8) on the show's newly launched Web site.

Fallon is taking over "Late Night" for Conan O'Brien, who is in turn taking over "The Tonight Show" from Jay Leno.

The Roots will get in a handful of live dates before taping begins on the show, including Dec. 30 in Atlantic City, N.J., and a four-date run in Japan in mid-January.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.


Guitar Center will on Jan. 10 present the grand finals for their annual Drum-Off contest at the Music Box at the Fonda Theater in Los Angeles. Nearly 5,000 contestants are vying to be crowned Guitar Center's Drum-Off Champion. The winner will receive more than $45,000 in cash and prizes.

The event will be hosted by Jane's Addiction's Stephen Perkins and will boast live performances from Papa Roach, Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden and Jason Bittner of Shadows Fall. There will also be a collaborative performance by Thomas Pridgen of the Mars Volta and Thomas Lang. Pridgen won first place in the Drum-Off in 1993 when he was a mere nine years old.

Tickets for the all-ages show are $15 and available at Ticketmaster.com

-- Laura O'Connor, N.Y.


EMI Music has partnered with Guinness owner Diageo Ireland for an album featuring music from the brewer's iconic TV commercials. The deal marks 250 years since Arthur Guinness signed the lease on St. James Gate Brewery in Dublin.

"Guinness 250 -- Music From the TV Ads" has 17 tracks featured on commercials, including artists ranging from Dusty Springfield, Dionne Warwick and Al Jolson to the Jesus and Mary Chain, Leftfield and Future Sound Of London.

The release, through EMI Music's catalog division on Feb. 9 in the U.K., U.S. and parts of Europe, begins a partnership between EMI Music and Diageo Global Licensing. They will develop new music-based projects across Diageo's brands in Europe and North America.

-- Andre Paine, London

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