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Questlove Admits to Being ‘Out of His Mind’ at 2014 Essence Music Festival [EXCLUSIVE]

Astrid Stawiarz, Getty Images

People say that the most magnificent geniuses are completely insane. The adage may be true as Questlove revealed that he definitely feels as if he has a screw loose while performing.

On Saturday evening (July 5) at the 2014 Essence Music Festival, the Philadelphia native said, “I’m literally out of my mind when I’m onstage because I’m also the coach so you’ll see me talk into the mic onstage without hearing what I’m saying.”

“I’m busy directing traffic,” he tells The Boombox. “I’m telling ‘this’ person like, ‘Yo, you missed a dance step,’ or ‘That’s not the right note!’ I’m literally not in my usual mental element when I’m onstage.”

There’s obviously a method to the madness. This nagging need to win has afforded the drummer, along with all other members of the Roots, the luxuries of what happens when you work hard and often. Back in February, the band was plucked for a regular gig on Jimmy Fallon’s late-night show and they still hold down major shows.

Quest says that it’s a matter of playing multiple roles. ”I gotta play drums and play chess and figure out what’s happening three songs from now. Call audibles when we have 12 minutes left to do another song.”

He admits that this year’s Essence Music Festival had the whole Roots crew a little more shaken than usual. “We’ve been doing shows professional for 20 years,” he explained. “And I don’t think I’ve ever been more nervous or concerned about the outcome of any show we’ve ever done besides this one that we just did.”

“You can count the amount of rehearsing that the Roots have done on one hand in our 20-year career but for this show? Every nook and cranny… So yeah, we’re satisfied with how this one worked out.”

The Roots brought Nelly and Common out during their set on Saturday night to a packed house at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Now that the work is done, there’s one show that Quest can’t wait to attend back home on the East Coast.

“I saw the Jacksons recently while they were doing a week in Atlantic City,” the musician shared. “I know a lot of people are crazy skeptical, like, ‘How can a Michael-less Jackson show be a success? But I’m going to fly home to see them a second time because it was a really engaging show.”

“You could tell that they put a lot of thought into it. I can’t usually just enjoy shows because I have to analyze and dissect them.”

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