Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Daryl Hall on his Web show, misperceptions about his band's name, and the complete and utter lack of irony attached to Hall and Oates' music

Daryl Hall looks to set the record straight on his band's name and music.

Posted By on Tue, Sep 4, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Hair and Oates
  • Hair and Oates
Last week, I was waiting around for a call from John Oates, one half of '80s "rock and soul" duo Hall and Oates. (The two are at Starlight this Saturday, September 8.) When the phone rang, it was Daryl Hall on the other end. There'd been a miscommunication between me and the band's publicists somewhere along the way. It rendered many of my questions — a few of them having to do with Oates' hairstyles — unusable. I tried to salvage the interview, but Hall seemed miffed and gave mostly curt answers. It was a total missed opportunity. But he said a few interesting things; read on for the full conversation.

I noticed you guys are touring as Daryl Hall and John Oates. Is there a reason you’re not going just by Hall and Oates?

We’ve always been Daryl Hall and John Oates. Never once in our lives were we Hall and Oates. We’ve been fighting that fight since 1972. People keep calling us Hall and Oates, but we’ve been billed as Daryl Hall and John Oates since the very beginning.

Oh. OK. Are the two of you enjoying touring together again?

We never really stopped. Here’s the thing: John and I have always been two different people. We’re basically two solo artists who work together. We do that a lot. As the years have gone on, we have done more stuff separately, but we still do, I don’t know, a few tours a year. There hasn’t been a period where we haven’t been on the road sharing a band.

Do you ever play solo stuff at a Daryl Hall and John Oates show?

Never.

I would assume you guys are seeing a different audience the past seven or eight years, right? There's been a revival of sorts of some of the aesthetics of your guys' music.

Oh, absolutely, no doubt about it. I think every artist kind of hopes to cross generations. It’s one of those things — it changes the arc of your life and musical career. For various reasons, we’ve been discovered by a new generation of people. Actually maybe even two generations of people. Because now there’s teenagers in addition to some of these college kids and kids in their 20s. At our shows, more and more it’s the kids in the front and the people who’ve been following us for a long time are sitting further out in the middle and the back. It’s getting to be 50/50 at this point, which is really encouraging and gratifying.

What are your thoughts on the irony some people seem to attach to Hall and Oates? I don't personally feel this way, but I think for some people, there's a bit of a shtick to it — like this is funny, cheesy '80s music.

I think in the very beginning, when there was a transition to this new audience, there was still an attitude of certain people who looked at it that way. But that has completely gone away. And people who like us, like us. Period. I don’t think there’s any irony to it at all anymore.

None at all?

Not anymore.

In terms of touring, is there a big difference being a legacy act? How is it different than in the '80s, when you were a more current, on-the-charts type of group?

I don’t think of us as a legacy act. Actually, I do. I shouldn’t say that. We’ve been around a long time. But we're not — I don’t think we’re pegged in a period. Some people will listen to “Kiss on My Lips” and peg us in that period. But we’ve been making records a long time. And we’ve gone through a lot of decades, and I feel we are, less than a lot of people, pegged in a certain period of time. There’s a certain amount of that, yeah, but not as much as a lot of other people and acts.

Any like-minded bands you're seeing come up lately?

I have a show called Live From Daryl’s House that is completely devoted to the new generation of musicians that have been inspired or influenced by me. They come to my house, and we trade off music together. It’s become my real career, to tell the truth — that interaction between me and another generation. So there’s so many people that I wouldn’t know where to start.

How about just naming a couple maybe.

Nick Waterhouse. Allen Stone. New artists that are just breaking and are popular with kids right now. That’s basically the concept of my show.

Daryl Hall and John Oates. Saturday, September 8, at Starlight Theatre. Live From Darryl’s House, by the way, returns to Palladia on September 6, at 11 p.m. EDT.

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