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Artist Q&A

Hall & Oates takes on Aurora

‘Kiss on My List’ duo to perform Friday at RiverEdge Park

John Oates
John Oates

AURORA – With hits like “Rich Girl,” “Kiss on My List,” and “Private Eyes,” Daryl Hall and John Oates have sold more albums than any other duo in music history.

Hall & Oates will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, July 31, at RiverEdge Park, 360 N. Broadway Ave., Aurora.

Tickets are $60, available by calling 630-896-6666 or visiting the RiverEdge Park website at www.riveredgeaurora.com.

Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to interview Oates about his career.

Eric Schelkopf: In 2006, a headline in Spin Magazine read: “Why Hall and Oates are the New Velvet Underground.” What do you think your musical influence has been?
John Oates:
Although I like Velvet Underground, we have nothing to do with them in terms of attitude, musical sensibilities or anything like that at all.

We come from a totally different school of music and playing and thought. But that’s OK.

What I am assuming they were trying to say is that we were – to a younger generation – hip and cool. And if they were saying that back in 2006, you can magnify it now by about a thousand.

We have had an entire new audience. We have a young audience who have really gone deep into our album catalog. They love the ’80s stuff, but they are also into the music that we made in the ’70s.

It’s really cool to be able to play to a new, enthusiastic, young audience.

Schelkopf: So, that must be pretty refreshing, that you are playing to a new audience. Did that kind of surprise you?
Oates:
It happened incrementally over the last 10 years. It had to do a lot with Daryl’s TV show, “Live From Daryl’s House,” bringing in new audiences and getting exposure on television.

It also is about the solo work that I have been doing with a lot of young artists and collaborating with a lot of diverse musicians. All that stuff is just the sum total and result of us branching out as individuals, which has brought attention back to Hall & Oates.

Schelkopf: It seems like it’s been a whirlwind year for the both of you, including the fact that you guys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year. What did it mean to you to be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
Oates:
It’s great. I look at it as almost a lifetime achievement award.

What they’re doing is celebrating your past, not your future. And I only look at the future.

The past is what it is. It’s there, and it’s on record – literally and figuratively. To be honest with you, I think being inducted into the American Songwriters Hall of Fame back in 2005 was much more significant. Because the reality is if we hadn’t written the songs that we wrote, we wouldn’t be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

So, to be honored as a songwriter and to be put up along the greats of American songwriting, people like Cole Porter and George Gershwin, to be included in that unique group is much more significant than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Schelkopf: Why do you think you and Daryl have collaborated so well together?
Oates:
We’re very similar in a lot of ways. We’re both artistically-driven people, but our personal lives are completely separate from our music.

We’re kind of like brothers that live in different parts of the country. We see each other on stage and when we play together, and that’s great.

But we have our own lives and our own solo careers and projects.

Schelkopf: You guys have written a lot of hit songs. Were there any songs that you were surprised took off the way they did?
Oates:
Yeah, every one of them. People have this misconception that we were this pre-packaged pop writing machine that could turn out No. 1 songs at will, which is so far from the truth.

We took the same amount of care with every song. The ones that rose to the top and became hits, that was because of marketing and radio and salesmanship. It had nothing to do with us.

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