NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When U Can’t


Illustration by TORREN THOMAS

FRESH AIR: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, the drummer and leader of The Tonight Show’s house band The Roots, says he’s obsessed with the creative process. His new book, somethingtofoodabout, is a collection of his interviews with chefs about how art and creativity apply to their preparation and presentation of food. Speaking with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross in front of an audience in Philadelphia, Questlove likens some of the meals he’s eaten to ephemeral works of art. “Maybe I did have the equivalent of a Mona Lisa when I went to Jiro’s restaurant in Japan,” he says. “But now there is no evidence of that. You only have my story to tell you.” Instead of re-creating the “magic” of a perfect meal, Questlove’s book is an attempt to capture the process that brought the meal into existence. “I always say that I’m more obsessed with the journey of getting there than the destination,” he says. Questlove’s own journey began in Philadelphia, where his father, the late Lee Andrews, headed up the doo-wop group Lee Andrews and the Hearts. In addition to his father, Questlove points to Prince as another big influence. Questlove says that when he first met the rock icon, he was both intimidated by him and surprised that Prince was familiar with his work. “I don’t think I even said words the first time I met him,” he says. “I was just talking backwards … ‘How does he know I’m alive? How does he know I exist?'” MORE