Questlove of The Roots Discusses Captain Morgan, His Band’s New Album and Donovan McNabb


It’s a good time to be a fan of The Roots. Not only do they have a new album coming out soon (undun, due 12/6 on Def Jam), but starting right now, you can download a brand new track the band contributed to Captain Morgan’s “To Life, Love & Loot” campaign by visiting the Captain Morgan Facebook page. It’s free, and it’s unlike anything you’ve heard from The Roots before.

In light of all this activity, we decided to check in with The Roots’ much beloved and insanely talented drummer, Questlove, to find out more about the Captain Morgan campaign, the new track, the new album and, naturally, whether he would consider playing Donovan McNabb in a movie.

How did working with Captain Morgan come about?

They approached us about making new music for their “Life, Love & Loot” campaign and, having been familiar with their commercials about the real life Captain Henry Morgan, we said this was something up our alley. And they welcomed the challenge of us doing something out of the ordinary. The track is unlike anything we’ve ever done before. I think it really brought out the best in us and we gave a great performance.

We haven’t heard the entire track yet, but from what we have heard it sounds like a straight up rock record.

Exactly! I guess for The Roots, the thing that makes it interesting for us is trying new challenges and our own sense of adventure. This provided us with a great opportunity to try out new ideas.

Is the sound on the Captain Morgan track any indication of what to expect from The Roots’ upcoming album (undun, out 12/6 on Def Jam)?

The exact opposite! The undun record is a very somber, challenging album. It’s a backwards narrative of a character named Redford Stevens, who’s pretty much compiled from four or five real life people we’ve known in Philadelphia. But we tell the story backwards. We decided to tone down the fireworks on the album. It’s a meaningful, somber record.

So making this “Love, Life, & Loot” song while we were recording the undun album provided a great outlet to get our energy out, because we didn’t do any songs like that on this particular project.

Are there any plans to tour in support of the new album?

We pretty much fill in every date that we can during our hiatus (from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon). We get about 14 weeks off during the calendar year. A lot of our activity is northeast based, but there are always weekends and the hiatus dates. So yes, I’m almost certain we’ll find a way to tour once the album comes out. We still enjoy touring even though we don’t do it as much as we used to.

Okay, time for a serious question. We ran an article last year speculating what the cast would look like if Hollywood ever decided to make a movie about Michael Vick (read it here). Somehow, you were picked to play Donovan McNabb. Is acting something you’ve ever considered getting into in any sort of major way?

(Laughs) I got picked to play McNabb? Well, we have similar beards, I’ll say that much.

Yep! That’s exactly why we picked you.

Based on his performance in Minnesota, I think we have the same knees as well! But no, I prefer to score films. The acting bug hasn’t bit me yet.

To download The Roots’ new song from the “To Life, Love & Loot” campaign, visit the Captain Morgan Facebook page by clicking here. And don’t forget to check out The Roots’ new album, undun, in stores 12/6 on Def Jam.