The two names have always appeared inseparable. Nevertheless, Daryl Hall and John Oates have other priorities these days. Hall's Live From Daryl's House has become a cable sensation, while Oates has turned his attention to writing, performing, and producing as part of a new Nashville collective of singers and songwriters. These days, the pair keeps the brand going mostly through live performances that give both the band and fans an opportunity to revisit the hits — and there are many.
"We both have dual careers, and it's quite interesting that we can have this incredible legacy of music that we created together," Oates says. "It's still more popular now than it was back in the '80s, as crazy as that seems."
The two powerhouses of smooth pop-rock seem to have found a perfect formula, one that allows them to keep their day jobs without having to stifle their individual creative intents. Oates says it gives each man an artistic freedom that isn't dependent on pushing the well-tested parameters of their collaboration.
"Several years ago, Daryl and I came to the realization that this body of work that we created over the last 40 years really has its own life," Oates explains. "Someone once asked me: 'What's the future for you guys?' And I said, 'The future of Hall & Oates is in its past' — meaning that we've created so much music together, we can't even play it... We have this incredibly good problem that finds us having so many hits that people come to hear. I understand that. We have a professional responsibility to play them, and we do, and we like to."
That being said, "neither of us
Though the prospect of new Hall & Oates tunes is doubtful, Oates concedes, "I never say never. There are no plans for it. We have songs we've never played. We could go out and do a tour of our deeper album cuts, and casual fans would probably think it was a new album. We could do that in a heartbeat. But again, we have this legacy of hits, which is kind of like a ball and chain, but a ball and chain made out of platinum and gold. Wow! I just came up with that!"
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Oates clearly relishes their unique position, acknowledging "Hall & Oates' success has given us the platform and the creative freedom that any artist would die for, and I'm not going waste it or squander that... That's the ultimate dream for a creative person."
As for how exactly they've landed here, Oates credits his and Hall's symbiotic relationship and mutual respect for the other's individuality. "We don't compete with one another. We sorted that out a long, long time ago," he says. "If you look at our albums, you'll see the names 'Daryl Hall' and 'John Oates'... Hall & Oates implies a duo or group. 'Daryl Hall and John Oates' refers to two individuals who make records together. That's a subtle distinction, but that's who we really are."
Hall & Oates
9 p.m. Friday, March 4, at the BE Stage at Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival, Sunshine Grove, Okeechobee, Florida. Tickets cost $259.50 to $275 plus fees. Visit okeechobeefest.com.