The Roots drummer Questlove has shared a moving story about how a run-in with police when he was 16 cut short his passion for Bono-led rockers U2, who have since given him a “new beginning” by performing with The Roots in New York.
Taking to Instagram to post a photo of U2 (below), Questlove, sometimes stylised as
?uestlove, recounted the incident, which saw he and his friends held at gunpoint as they listened to U2’s music. The experience, ?uestlove says, “robbed” him of the ability to enjoy the band’s music, and left him feeling guilty for “just being me”.
“U2’s music haunts me. Always did,” begins Questlove’s story.
“I was 16 yrs old coming from a Friday afternoon church youth group event. At 8 me & two pals went to see their ’88 Rattle & Hum doc. We were sold: it was a half hour to midnight & we had just enough time to run to #TowerRecords & cop their discography..
“Grabbed Unforgettable & popped it in the player. Instantly a fan. A great night of hanging w friends, food, movies & music #FunTimes…..& then….it happened….I became an adult: we got pulled over.”
Questlove says that unlike most people’s “rites of passage”, the incident which followed wasn’t a happy one.
“Most people’s Rites Of Passage are marked happy occasions like graduation or birth or things you do when in love. Mine was being held at gunpoint at 16.
“Why?! — the only thing I remember was #TheEdge’s trademark delay plug in… They were itching for us to try something.”
Questlove says that the police holdup made him question himself and his actions, and left him and his friends “traumatised”.
“I hated the guilt of just being me. Nothing more degrading in life than the helplessness you feel when you get pulled over,” he says.
Not only did the frightening incident change how Questlove felt about himself, it also changed his feelings towards U2’s music.
“U2 never sounded the same again. Every song = Put your hands in the air now!! Echoing. I felt robbed of a lot that night. But the ability to NOT associate that sound w that experience was hard to get over,” he writes.
“I Never shared this cause I thought it was silly. But in light of what’s (always been) goin on, I felt it was time.”
Questlove closed his story by thanking U2 for inviting him to their recent New York show, and for giving him “a new beginning”. Catch his photo of the band and read his story in full, below.
While at U2’s recent New York show, The Roots performed Angel Of Harlem with the band after Questlove’s good friend and Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon sang vocals on Desire. Footage of all the fun is available to view below.
Watch: U2 & Jimmy Fallon Perform Desire, U2 & The Roots Perform Angel Of Harlem In New York