There Are More Music Autobiographies out There Than You Can Shake a Drumstick At

By DiNovella, Elizabeth | The Progressive, December 2013 | Go to article overview

There Are More Music Autobiographies out There Than You Can Shake a Drumstick At


DiNovella, Elizabeth, The Progressive


There are more music autobiographies out there than you can shake a drumstick at. Some are epic (see Richards, Keith). Some are sensationalist and cliched (see Mustaine, Dave). The best have a bit of kiss and tell to go along with the rock and roll (see Motley Criie).

Mo Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove (Grand Central Publishing), by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, is none of these things. This brilliant book is a rumpus ride through the mind of Generation X's drummer extraordinaire: Ahmir Thompson, aka Questlove, of The Roots. (The book is co-written by Ben Greenman, an editor at The New Yorker.)

Questlove turns the rock memoir into a collaborative conversation about his own history, integrating other voices throughout the text. Just like his drumbeats, Questlove takes something we think we know--the rock memoir--and turns it into something not only better, but something we didn't even know was possible. Who else puts out an autobiography that isn't all about him?

The book explains how The Roots go from an urban, indie hip-hop collective to the house band on network television and not sell out. The Roots carry Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and are equal partners in creating its Success.

Forget Madonna and her reinventions. The Roots don't have to reinvent themselves.

Jeremy Scahill is arguably the best investigative reporter of my generation. …

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