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article imageJohn Oates talks about music career, technology, success and fans Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jan 15, 2019 in Music
Port Washington - Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Oates (of Daryl Hall and John Oates) sat down and chatted with this journalist prior to his concert at The Landmark on Main Street in Port Washington.
"This is our second show on our tour. This is almost the final run of the 'Arkansas' tour," he said. "The Landmark on Main Street is a beautiful theater. I love an old theater. This was built in 1908 and the seats are all original. It is very cool. I love being in a room that is made for music."
"I have this incredible band called The Good Road Band, and these guys are the core rhythm section that played on the Arkansas album," he said. "They are an amazing group of musicians and they are great players. It's all about music, and it's about live music being played and sung by real musicians. That's what it's all about."
Speaking of Arkansas, Oates approached the album's song selection as follows: "The album was inspired by Mississippi John Hurt. At first, that's all I was going to do. As I got into it, I wanted to expand the idea a little bit more. I began to choose songs that were contemporary with his recording career. The album took on this snapshot of early American popular music that was happenings in those days."
Last year, Daryl Hall and John Oates toured with rock band Train, which he described as a "great experience." On June 14, 2018, they performed at Madison Square Garden in New York City. "I love going back and forth. Playing in big arenas and in intimate rooms," Oates said.
John Oates
John Oates
Sean Hagwell
Each day, Oates is motivated by his love for collaborating. "I love to collaborate with new people who bring new ideas that might take me to a place that I might not normally go. That's what collaboration brings out," he explained.
Oates listed Jennifer Nettles as his dream female duet choice in contemporary music. "I think Jennifer [Nettles] is amazing," he said. "I also wouldn't mind doing something with Joan Baez."
As an alternate career choice, Oates noted that he would have loved to have been a race car driver. "I drove race cars in the '80s, and that is definitely still a passion for me," he said.
For aspiring singer-songwriters, Oates said, "Learn your craft and study from the people that you like the best. Try to emulate your heroes, and from there, hopefully, something original will emerge. Play live. Try to gather an audience by convincing them what you are doing is good."
Looking back, Oates would give the following advice to his 18-year-old self: "Pay more attention to the business side."
Reflecting on the last four decades, Oates acknowledged that he sees "a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication, and a lot of love from an audience."
Digital transformation of the music business
On the impact of technology on the music industry, Oates said, "It doesn't affect me as much. Technology is more important for younger musicians since they need to break through somehow and get an audience to stream. Our catalog of music with has a life of its own. If you want our music, it's available, if not, then you've already heard it. It's one of those things."
Oates described "vinyl as a small but growing segment." "I recorded Arkansas to be played on vinyl," he said.
He also addressed the recent passage of the Music Modernization Act. "As a songwriter, it's very important to have your rights protected. That is something that goes without saying," he said.
In his spare time, Oates revealed that he enjoys going cross-country skiing in Colorado, hiking, riding his bicycle, driving his car in the country roads, as well as watching TV.
He defined the word success as contentment in life. For his dedicated fans, he said, "Thank you so much for listening and for being open-minded enough to like all the music that either Daryl or I make besides what we make together."
To learn more about John Oates and his music, check out his official website.
Read More: Digital Journal reviewed John Oates' show at The Landmark on Main Street in Port Washington, New York.
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