NBC is now clearing the Roots’ selections for walk-on music on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon following a recent incident in which the band played Fishbone’s “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” as Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann came on stage. Shortly after the episode aired, the Minnesota congresswoman received a personal letter from NBC’s vice president of late night programming, Don Vaughan. Fallon also phoned Bachmann with an apology.
In the latest issue of Rolling Stone (available now on newsstands and through Rolling Stone All Access), Roots drummer and Fallon bandleader Questlove revealed that he must now clear every walk-on song with three different people, and can under no circumstances tweet about the Bachmann incident ever again. Fallon told Rolling Stone that “it was a real bummer that it happened. We don’t want to censor anyone, but…I don’t know. Maybe Questlove is a Romney guy.”
“It’s still a comedy show, so they promise not to step on my toes or that type of thing, but they definitely want to know the title of the song, the subject matter of the song – can it be seen as an insult?” Questlove told the Associated Press. “It was kind of wrong for me to throw [NBC] under the bus without telling them what it was, so I understand from a business standpoint.”
Questlove and the Roots have made a point of selecting clever walk-on music during their stint on Late Night. Before the Bachmann episode, he tweeted “aight late night walkon song devotees: you love it when we snark: this next one takes the cake. ask around cause i aint tweeting title.” After some fans correctly identified the tune, he provided a link to buy Fishbone’s song on iTunes.