The Roots To Stop Touring, Become Jimmy Fallon’s House Band On ‘Late Night’?

Drummer/leader ?uestlove says group will always perform live, but might abandon large-scale touring.

Over the weekend, a video interview popped up on the Internet in which Roots drummer/leader ?uestlove announced that the long-running group will be retiring from large-scale touring and taking on a new gig as Jimmy Fallon’s house band when he takes over NBC’s “Late Night” from Conan O’Brien in 2009.

?uest must’ve said something that someone found objectionable: That interview has been removed from YouTube and apparently everywhere else.

However, we did manage to find a transcript on one blog, which reportedly took it from the Roots’ official site, OkayPlayer.com.

In the interview, ?uestlove put the announcement in perspective, saying that the group will not be retiring from playing live, but from long, large-scale tours.

“Yeah, it’s hard to make this announcement ’cause it’s not like we wanted to pull the heartstrings on some ‘This is our last tour’ [statement], ’cause we will forever do gigs,” he said. “I see the possible chance of this being a ‘bigger’ move … but on the real? I don’t know if I want to be 40, on the road and single no more. And with the kids my group has now getting older … it’s harder for the guys to leave more than it was when the kids were 2 and 3. And I can’t even start to go on that path till a woman takes me seriously. And ain’t no one taking a man serious who is in his own home for only three months out the year. I been in my crib since 2006 and I still ain’t unpacked everything yet.”

To facilitate that, he said smaller-scale tours are the course the band will probably take. “I mean, people east of Chicago shouldn’t fear [that they'll never see the group], and I’m certain that on weekends we could trek to an occasional Seattle or [San] Diego,” he said. “But obviously Europe and abroad could miss out.”

Later on in the interview, ?uest talked about his excitement over the Fallon gig. “I’mma love my new home at 30 Rock [NBC's headquarters],” he said. “Two visits and I’m already on a first-name basis with the ‘SNL’ cats.”

While ?uestlove and reps for the group’s label, Island Def Jam, had not responded to MTV News’ requests for comment — and a rep for NBC said, “Nothing to confirm at this time” — a label rep reportedly confirmed the report to the Philadelphia Daily News, saying the group will join Fallon on the show in June. The paper also reported that Fallon and the group recently taped “something” at Philly nightclub Kung Fu Necktie.

The long-running Philadelphia group, which released its first album in 1993 and was one of the first groups to pair rappers with a live band, enjoys a popularity and influence not necessarily reflected by its one major hit, 1999′s collaboration with Erykah Badu, “You Got Me.” The Roots have toured and worked with a wide range of musicians, including backing Jay-Z at his “Unplugged” concert in 2001 and Reasonable Doubt anniversary show in 2006, touring with the Dave Matthews Band and other jam bands, and collaborating with Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump. ?uestlove in particular has worked with an enormous variety of artists — most prominently Badu, Common and D’Angelo — serving as musical director for the Jay-Z concerts (including his 2003 “Fade to Black” show ) as well as “The Dave Chappelle Show.”