Music’s most-loved statesman isn’t about to let the pandemic slow him down.
So, in what may or may not have been a bit of a fanboy moment, Chilled asked Daryl Hall what goes through his head at the end of a show, when the arena is ablaze with applause. His answer?
“Getting back to the dressing room and having a drink!”
Never before has there been a person so made for an interview with this magazine!
True fact: “Hall & Oates” doesn’t exist, never did. There is “Daryl Hall & John Oates,” the bluesy-soulsy twosome that ascended to musical stardom with hits like “Maneater” and “Private Eyes,” but never once were the two billed by just their last names. Not on their albums, their posters, their playbills, their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Consider yourself schooled.
And speaking of getting an education, Hall got his head for harmonies thanks to having two very music-minded parents. As he recounts the story, it was perhaps predictable early on that Hall was going to go down in history as a melodic wunderkind.
“My mother and father were both musicians, my mother particularly,” he recalls. “She had a band. My earliest memories are her singing with the band and hanging out with them; I was two, three years old. She was a vocal teacher and taught me how to sing. I started piano at five; I learned other instruments when I was around 10, 11. I went on to study music at Temple University.”
It was not predictable at all how Hall met Oates. In a true case of “you can’t make this $#!+ up,” in 1967, Hall, then with a soul group called the Temptones, shared the bill with Oates, a fellow Temple student who moonlighted with The Masters. The two groups were playing at Philadelphia’s Adelphi Ballroom when a gunfight erupted between two rival gangs, forcing Hall and Oates (sorry) to flee into the same service elevator. Cue some awkward chit-chat and voilà! A musical supergroup was born.
The duo became a thing in 1970, but it was not until the 80s their distinctive blend of soul, gospel, and bluegrass found an audience. And while heavy metal and new wave remained confined to the decade, the spunky sound of Daryl Hall & John Oates would find longevity, plus a heapin’ helpin’ of respect. The pair were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003, Billboard lists them at No. 15 on their list of the 100 greatest artists of all time and the No. 1 duo, and in 2014 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
But nothing wilts faster than the laurels one rests upon, and the musical landscape of 2020 is a far cry from 40 years ago. Way too Type A to kick back and coast on nostalgia, Hall, now 73, kicked off a webcast, Live From Daryl’s House, in 2007 from his namesake club in Pawling, NY. Featuring fellow musicians ranging from Smokey Robinson to Ceelo Green to Darius Rucker, Hall simply cannot stop making music, all while remaining true to his roots in the City of Brotherly Love.
“At my base, I’m a Philadelphia soul singer,” he says. “A gospel soul singer. I speak a lot of ‘languages;’ I can sing in a rock band, a country band, I can do all those things. But leave me to my own devices and I’m a soul singer.”
And let’s be clear: it’s been working for him so far.
Tell us what projects you are working on right now.
Thanks to the coronavirus, I’m not doing much of anything because I am in my house. I was in the midst of doing a record, not yet with John. He has started to contribute some ideas, and I’m working with another guy, a singer-songwriter-producer. We were working together, but it got truncated because of this current situation. That’s my long term project before I get back out on the road again.
What do you do in your downtime?
I usually don’t have any downtime! Now, all I do is have downtime. I used to, and still do, do house restoration. That’s my other evocation, historic architecture.
Where do you like to dine?
I have a club that has really good food. I like my own food. But I travel all over the world! I eat at a lot of different places.
What are your favorite cuisines?
All kinds of things. I have very eclectic tastes, but I like really traditional foods.
Which are your favorite bars?
I’m too old to go to bars!
What are your favorite drinks?
I like Old Fashioneds. I’m a bourbon drinker. I’m fluent in wine! Red wines, at the moment. It depends on what mood I’m in.
Do you prepare drinks at home?
Yeah, sure! I have a well-stocked bar!
What is in your home bar?
Mostly brown liquor. A lot of ryes, bourbons, scotches, calvados. All the normal stuff, just good versions of it.
Have you ever been a bartender?
I’ve been known to get behind the bar in certain circumstances. I haven’t done it in a while, but I’m a good bartender! I can pour a shot that is exactly a shot. I make a good Old Fashioned.