Daryl Hall on Hall and Oates Concert Film, New Music: Exclusive Interview
Daryl Hall and John Oates have traveled to a lot of places over the more than four decades that they’ve been together. But surprisingly, the legendary duo had never played a concert together in Dublin.
“It’s the most bizarre thing,” Hall admitted during a recent conversation with Ultimate Classic Rock. “I played there once in the ‘90s as a solo artist with one of my albums. Why John and I have never played there is beyond my understanding. It’s just one of those weird things. I knew that theater there from when I played there, and I knew that it was going to be a good gig, and that’s why I suggested that we record it. Because I just knew that it was going to be a magic show. And I was not mistaken.”
Indeed, Live in Dublin, which will be available on audio and video March 31 from Eagle Rock Entertainment, is a special evening in which the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees were on fire. Filmed on July 15, 2014, at the Olympia Theatre, Hall was especially happy to have the opportunity to capture a performance featuring the current Hall & Oates band.
“This era is my favorite band," he says. "You might think, 'Oh, well, it’s the one he has now, so this is his favorite.' But really, this is my favorite band that we’ve ever had. You know, we have Charlie [DeChant], who has been there since the very beginning, so there is a tie to the original lineup. Then the people that are there now, they’re just the right guys. They understand my kind of music, they’re versatile and they’re all actually really good artists in their own right.”
In addition to expected hits like “Rich Girl,” “Sara Smile” and “Kiss on My List,” the Dublin set also includes some obscure cuts from the Hall & Oates songbook, such as “It’s Uncanny” and “Las Vegas Turnaround.”
“We don’t just want to play the songs that are the obvious ones,” Hall explains. “Between me and John, we have hundreds of songs to play, and I’m proud of just about every one of them. I like to just pull them out. It gives the band something new to do and I think it gives the audience something, and they go, 'Wow, I never heard this song before,' or 'Wow, I forgot about this song!' I think it’s good for the band and John and I and the audience to mix it up and throw obscure songs in.”
Hall admits that exploring the many songs from their catalog when he performs them with other artists on his hit web series Live From Daryl’s House adds helpful new context to the material.
“I really do learn from the Daryl’s House show," he says. "Every time we do a show, it gives me a slightly different perspective on my own songs that we perform, and I’m influenced subtly, subconsciously or consciously, by the artists that come on the show. We’re never off the road very much, but when I go off the road, even for a little while, I come back and I generally have a different way of approaching the songs, and that’s what keeps them interesting. Otherwise, it would just be boring for us to just play the same songs that we’ve played for decades, the same way. So it helps to constantly have some new influences that will alter it and allow these songs to evolve.”
There’s a visible looseness to the collaborative performances on Live From Daryl’s House, and Hall acknowledges that they keep things pretty low-key by design.
“It keeps the band on its toes -- because we never know what’s going to happen," he says. "We don’t really rehearse ... it’s all really very spontaneous and what you see is what’s really happening for the first time. So I think that is something that is an interesting thing that is communicated through to people that are watching.” Thanks to the new Daryl’s House venue in Pawling, N.Y., fans can finally enjoy that experience outside of their living room.
“The whole idea was that people constantly said, 'Can I come to the house and watch the show?' I’d say 'No, there’s no audience. You know, it will spoil the show if we have an audience.' But then I started thinking, Well, why not have an experience that’s similar to the show, both visually and where people can eat the kind of food that we can eat on the show? They can hang out and watch the area musicians competing in an environment that looks like the house. You know, sort of duplicate the experience of the show and allow people to participate. That was really my concept.”
Being a club owner is something that takes Hall back to his roots a bit, and there are a number of things that he enjoys about that new addition to his lengthy resume.
“I’ve always been partial to clubs. Maybe a lot of musicians’ fantasy is to say, “Hey, I’ll have my own club there and I can play there whenever I feel like it.” That’s a little bit in my head,” he admits. “But I believe in a club and the concept of a club as a music venue. It’s a great way for artists and their audiences to all be one thing There’s sort of no fourth wall between the stage and the audience that happens in a club. That doesn’t really happen in any other kind of venue, and I’m partial to that kind of thing, as you can see by my Live From Daryl’s House show where there is no audience. The audience is sort of part of the environment. I really like that feeling. It allows a lot of looseness and lack of pretension and allows really interesting and fresh things to happen.”
For fans interested in new music, there’s some positive news. Hall has started planning his next solo album, which would be his first since 2011’s Laughing Down Crying. He also says that new material under the Hall & Oates banner remains a possibility. “Maybe John and I will record a song or two at some point,” he says. “I never say never.”
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