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February 14th, 2012

?uestlove: “Strokes Are The New Bullets”


Shortly after the stroke and death of comedian Patrice O’Neal, fellow funnyman W. Kamau Bell wrote a short blog post for SF Weekly about the perils of life in front of the spotlight. In it, he talks about the shit hours, the shit diets, the easy access to drugs/alcohol that working comedians are confronted with while chasing laughs and paychecks. Today, Toure wrote a similar piece for Time. In the wake of Whitney Houston’s death, many musicians are reevaluating their lifestyles: the extra long hours, the extra excessive excess. “There is a body-ravaging norm of excess that is claiming too many music stars and a culture of enablers surrounding them who are comfortable looking the other way if they’re productive,” Toure writes in a thoughtful but somewhat NO DUH piece that lists a spate of recently dead musicians, all 50 years-0ld or younger, as evidence. Whitney was 48. Michael Jackson, 50. Heavy D, 44. Nate Dogg, 41. Amy Winehouse, 27. He even makes mention of the two seizures Rick Ross recently suffered. The rapper tells Toure they were due to lack of sleep. He was getting a not-so-healthy two hours a night. (RUH!)

Toure quotes ?uestlove a lot in the piece. The Roots drummer has a lot to say about he subject. “I already gave my whole band the speech,” he says. “We gotta live different. Lack of sleep, not watching what we eat, extra patron in the rider. No more. I wanna be old. This is a wake-up call like no other. And I’m obsessed with the health of everybody I know in this industry.” The story says ?uest is now in the process of  hiring a trainer and a nutritionist. “I’m not worried about bullets,” ?uest says. “I’m worried about strokes. Strokes are the new bullets.” More quotes about health and healthy living from the man who just launched his own brand of fried chicken after the jump.

“I’m obsessed with why our heroes are not making it past 50.”

“If you’re traveling by plane, I can definitely see sleep deprivation happening because plane trips are not long enough to get quality sleep. But on a tour bus you’re going 70 mph over bumps, and you have to be mentally trained to do it. I know people who want to go home after three days. To make it, you have to desensitize yourself and be a robot. I’m 60% human and 40% work machine.”

“I used to think there was something heroic in not sleeping, then I ended up in the hospital for four days. Happened last November. I’d planned my time on two hours of sleep a day for 20 days in a row. I’d work out, go do the Jimmy Fallon show, work on the Roots album from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., work on D’Angelo’s album from 2:30 to 6, catnap on his couch then go to the gym. Did that 15, 20 days in a row, but if you don’t sleep that long your immune system is worn out and you’re susceptible to all kinds of diseases. I got coxsackie virus, which adults aren’t even supposed to get. I couldn’t work for two weeks. Couldn’t even hold a drumstick. The result of not sleeping. You think it’s cool and rebellious, but it’s not.”
?uest says many artists work this hard and exhaust themselves because they fear falling off or becoming irrelevent:
“The drop to the bottom is too embarrassing and too hard to handle. Would Whitney rather have gone out like Melba Moore or like this? Cuz Melba Moore is not an option. She’s gone to the bottom; she was destitute.”

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