People of Earth:
In the last few days, I’ve been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I’ve been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I’ve been absurdly lucky. That said, I’ve been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.
Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.
But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.
Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.
So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn’t matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.
There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.
Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it’s always been that way.
Boots Riley and Tom Morello Step Up and Get Busy on Jimmy Fallon
by Davey D
We tip our hats to Boots Riley of the Coup and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine. As you know the pair came together to form the Street Sweepers Social Club and their new album was released earlier this week. Last night they appeared on the Jimmy Fallon show and got busy. For those of us who’ve known Boots over the years. It was the first time we’ve seen him get busy on the dance tip..LOL The video says it all
On another note.. we keep hearing conversations about how its cool to see artists like Boots moving into Rock-N-Roll. I guess one of the reasons this convo been surfacing is because we recently had Lil Wayne rolling out in that direction and so for many this appears to be a new thing. I guess people forgot about Ice T and his rock band Body Count..and their dope song Cop Killer LOL
We just have to remind people nothing could be further from the truth. Hip Hop artists merging with rock has been going on from day one.
And when I say ‘day one’ I mean years before Run DMC hooked up with Aerosmith to do a remake of ‘Walk This Way’. In fact one of the reasons why Run DMC even agreed to help save the careers of Aerosmith who ironicly were flioundering at that time was because the drum beat to that song had long been used as a popular break beat back in Hip Hop’s pioneering days.
I recall Jam Master Jay talking about how the original versions of the remake had a much harder hip hop feel. It was more percussion based with the guitar riffs being used to add flavor. At the time the trio did the song Jay wanted to take it back to the early days of Hip Hop and have it reflected in the song. This meant that Aerosmith’s role would’ve been limited. It would’ve been all about the drums.
I don’t know if it was good thing or not, but the powers that be intervened and pushed to make Walk this Way more of a rock song and the rest is history. Hip Hop officlally meets Rock-N-Roll… Well that’s the MTV version of the Hip Hop history..
Hip Hop and Rock as I said goes way back and before Run DMC teamed up with Aerosmith there was stretch of time where the early pioneers were hooking up with Punk Rockers and New Wave artists. The most visible examples was Afrika Bambaataa teaming up with Johnny Rotten to do the classic song World Destruction. The collab clearly reflected boths artists taste and love for music. The other classic was Blondie doing the song Rapture where they shout out Grandmaster Flash and Fab Five Freddy. Lead singer Debbie Harry herself does the rap and in the video she features graf artists Freddy, Lee Quiones and Jean-Michael Basquiat . What was interesting about this chart topping song was the NY Daily News had an article where they basically credited Blondie for inventing rap. I was dumfounded.
Fortunately Debby Harry was one of those people who didn’t try to exploit the situation as she often noted Rapture was her way of paying tribute to the block parties she and others used to attend up in the Bronx. She was inspired by Hip Hop and many within Hip Hop were inspired by New Wave Punk scene. This was reflected in songs like ‘Punk Rock Rap’ by the Cold Crush Brothers or “Genius Rap’ by Dr Jeckyl & Mr Hyde’ which borrowed from Tom Tom Club’s ‘Genius Of Love’ which was huge hit amongst early Hip Hoppers.
During the pioneering era all sorts of Rrck songs ranging from Queen‘s Another One Bites the Dust to Billy Squiers ‘Big Beat’ to Liquid Liquid’s Caravan were all used as break beats. If it had a funky percussion section it got used. So this notion of rock and rap is nothing new. Boots and Tom merrelo are just a continuum in a long line of folks who make good music pushing the envelop and exploring new ways to take things a higher level.