Hall & Oates Singer Hated the Late ’80s, Too
Published: February 19, 2014
During the intervening years Oates left New York and reestablished himself in Colorado. There he fell in love and started a family, providing a firmer foundation for his life and career.
“My life from 1978 to 1988 was based totally on my career—failed marriage, constant touring, constant recording, being a bit of an asshole. You know, traveling around the world being a rock star. I just felt that it was time to do something else,” he says. “It saved my life really, because it showed me I could be a musician but it didn’t have to define me totally.”
Nor has Oates let his musical partnership with Hall define him wholly. Since making his solo debut with 2002’s Phunk Shui, Oates has released four more full-length studio albums, including the forthcoming Good Road to Follow. It’s culled from more than 30 tracks many featuring collaborations (Ryan Tedder, Vince Gill, Jerry Douglas, Hot Chelle Rae), some released last year as digital singles.
“I had gotten to work with various people, really absorbing what it is they do,” Oates says. “I kept releasing [the music as] singles. They were all different and unique and people said, ‘This is really cool, but when are we going to be getting the album?’ I was already past the album in my mind.”
Rather than have the widely varied material bristling up against each other on a single disc, Oates conceived of the album as a three-EP collection. Each five-song side has its own distinct flavor. Much of the album recalls Oates’ long-standing love of roots and Americana, which predates Hall.
“That’s kind of what I brought to the table when I met Daryl. That in combination with R&B is what we created together,” he says. “So I go back to my roots and the traditional acoustic stuff on my own and I think that’s been a trademark of my solo career.”
Oates feels blessed to be able to mount arena tours with Hall and play more intimately on his own. It’s the best of both worlds and he appreciates the variety.
“I am not a person who likes to stay in one place, physically or mentally, for better or worse,” he says. He credits that restlessness with his continued vitality. “Sometimes you have to push yourself. It’s not easy. Certain people have the drive and some people don’t. I still have it and I’m happy to enjoy it. I’m not going to take it for granted.”
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