Hall & Oates: At home and all over map

By John Benson


When Daryl Hall isn’t touring as part of platinum act Hall & Oates, the singer-guitarist can be found playing music with friends at his house.

What began roughly five years ago as a Web show has become the popular Palladia cable program “Live from Daryl’s House,” which finds the Philadelphia native inviting guests into his upstate New York home to, well, as he puts it, eat some food, drink some wine and jam.

“It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done,” said Hall, calling from his home. “The whole idea is to turn everything upside down. For years I’ve been traveling around the world, and I thought, ‘Why don’t I turn everything opposite and bring the world to me.’ I’ll put everybody in a friendly environment where they can show their true selves. There’s no rehearsal and absolutely no formality to it whatsoever, and to me that’s what communicates to people. They’re seeing a part of music they’ve never been privy to before. It’s a whole new way for an audience to encounter what happens in music.”

Hall admits the only prerequisite for the show is the artists need to do their homework to learn a few songs before taping.

So far he’s recorded more than 60 episodes featuring a diverse list of artists including Joe Walsh, Jason Mraz, Cee Lo Green, Rob Thomas, Train, Smokey Robinson, K.T. Tunstall, Todd Rundgren, Keb Mo, Patrick Stump, Chiddy Bang, Fitz & the Tantrums and Neon Trees.

What’s amazing are Hall’s chameleonic talents that allow him to seamlessly genre jump from rap, rock and soul to folk, pop, blues and gospel.

“There are a number of factors,” Hall said. “It’s me. I can do a lot of things. I’m fluent in a lot of musical languages. I can pretty much hang with anybody musically, it doesn’t matter what kind of music it is.”

Actually, if you think about it, that mindset also applies to Hall & Oates’ amazing catalog, which also ranges in style. The act’s resume includes No. 1 hits “Rich Girl,” “Kiss on My List,” “Private Eyes,” “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do),” “Maneater” and “Out of Touch,” as well as more than 30 charting singles.

These days Hall & Oates doesn’t do much recording. Aside from a covers album and Christmas release over the last decade, the act is focused on touring. What’s remarkable is the band is continually selling out shows around the country. This includes a Friday show at the Akron Civic Theatre.

“Doing this over the years, it’s an amazing life,” Hall said. “It has its ups and downs and trials and tribulations, but it’s an amazing thing, and I can’t think of anything on earth I’d want to do more than what I’m doing.”

Perhaps the one thing lacking in the Hall & Oates story is induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Credentialwise, it’s hard to argue against the popular group’s inclusion into the Cleveland venue.

Naturally, Hall said he doesn’t care one way or the other but there is a small group of fans lobbying online in the band’s behalf.

“I’d tell the fans not to care because it doesn’t really mean anything,” Hall said. “It’s a society of old people, and I don’t really like what they like, so screw them.”

It sounds like it’s safe to say when it comes induction, Hall won’t go for that (no can do).

He laughed, “Yeah, I’d say that.”

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