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Up Past Midnight With The Roots: Hanging With Jimmy Fallon's New House Band

March 5, 2009 6:45 PM ET

With due respect to Paul Shaffer and the Max Weinberg Seven, when Late Night With Jimmy Fallon premiered on March 2nd, the Roots instantly became the hottest band on late-night television. Rock Daily recently caught up with ?uestlove and the Roots as the hip-hop vets rehearsed for their full-time gig as the house band for Fallon's show — check out the video above for shots of the group in action and ?uestlove giving us the scoop.

Fallon recently told Rolling Stone that because the Roots are serving as his house band, "there's no way anyone's falling asleep." The group was faced with an almost insurmountable task leading up to the debut episode: Write around 200 new songs for the program, as ?uestlove told the Smoking Section (because NBC won't pay royalties for other band's songs). "I'm personally saying now that I don't want the rehearsals to stop. This is the most we've ever written as a group," ?uestlove says. "I think that once we get 200 songs under our belt, I'll lay off the three-to-five hour rehearsals."

So how did NBC convince the prolific road warriors to settle down on one stage? Incentives like spending more time with their families and rehearsals on NBC's tab definitely helped, as did the increased pay for the decreased workload. "If you total up the seconds we appear on TV, we're on camera for 640 to 800-something seconds a week," ?uestlove says. "That's the equivalent of 10 nights on the road. Our manager would not let us take this gig if it didn't match or surpass what we get on the road.

Related Stories:

Up All Night With Jimmy Fallon
Video: At the Photo Shoot With Jimmy Fallon
White Stripes' Final Late Night Gig: Conan O'Brien on Special Relationship With Jack and Meg

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Song Stories

“I Was Made to Love Her”

Stevie Wonder | 1967

Stevie Wonder discovered true love while still a teenager, writing this ode to young love when he was only 17. The song, Wonder explained, "kind of speaks of my first love, to a girl named Angie, who was a very beautiful woman. She's married now. Actually, she was my third girlfriend but my first love. I used to call Angie up and we would talk and say, 'I love you, I love you,' and we'd talk and we'd both go to sleep on the phone.” The Beach Boys, Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston and Boyz II Men have all recorded versions of "I Was Made to Love Her."

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