John Oates talks new memoir, relationship with Daryl Hall and Vegas

Two things you learn quickly about John Oates in his vivid new autobiography, “Change of Seasons”: He and Daryl Hall have never been officially billed as “Hall & Oates.” They’re Daryl Hall and John Oates. The public and the media altered their existence from two separate beings to one entity for the sake of brevity.

Also, as much as he and Hall are associated with Philadelphia — they did, after all, just host their first HoagieNation Festival at the city’s Festival Pier — he’s as much a Lower Manhattan Italian, a kid with acute memories of his grandmother’s Sunday gravy and the bustling heat of the city.

Oates will likely touch on those stories when he visits Atlanta on Saturday for a Q&A session with Mara Davis and a book signing at Taco Cowboy in Virginia-Highland.

He’s squeezed in a few of these appearances while on tour with Hall and ‘80s synth lords Tears for Fears. On Sunday, that crew will perform at Infinite Energy Arena in Duluth.

Oates, who permanently made Nashville home more than a year ago (he’s avidly supporting the Nashville Predators’ run for the Stanley Cup), chatted recently from that base to discuss the new book, his relationship with Hall and why a Las Vegas residency will never happen.

Credit: Melissa Ruggieri

Credit: Melissa Ruggieri

Q: I love that you’re touring with Tears for Fears this summer, but I’m also grateful that you had Sharon Jones with you last year, since it turned out to be her final tour.

A: I'm really glad we had the opportunity to play with Sharon. You wouldn't believe what it took for her to do those shows. She summoned every ounce of her strength to perform, and to see how much she was suffering when she wasn't on stage … she was incredible.

Q: How did you hook up with Tears for Fears?

A: We were looking for someone to work with and tour with; they were available, so they jumped on it.

Q: Let’s talk about your book for a minute. This is a really well-written autobiography. What was the process like for you to do this type of writing?

A: I always thought of myself as a writer. I went to journalism school, I'm an avid reader and I'm a fan of good writing. It was interesting to see the transition of the evolution of a writing style as the process went on. I think at the beginning, I was writing a little more dispassionately. I began to find a voice of sorts and I began to know there needed to be more expression and a little more drama that could be injected into the writing itself. I found a voice around midpoint of the book and rewrote a lot of the earlier stuff so it was consistent. I'm really happy with what happened.

Q: How long did you work on it?

A: Almost two years, total. Luckily for me, I was on tour and that's pretty boring, really, except for the two hours onstage.

Q: Are you happy with it?

A: I think for a first-time writer, tackling a long, big subject, yes. One of the challenges I had going in was how would I tell my personal story when it's so wrapped up with Daryl Hall? I blended enough of the experience. I can't speak for Daryl — and I wouldn't presume to do that — but along the way, I let him read it if he was involved in (a story). He approved of (the book). He's an avid reader, so his approval and his encouragement were good to note.

Credit: Melissa Ruggieri

Credit: Melissa Ruggieri

Q: People often say that your live shows are very professional, but it’s obvious you and Daryl are work mates and not bosom buddies. Would you say that’s true?

A: It's like brothers. We see each other, time stops; we have lots of shared memories. We have no real working relationship today. We're basically what we present to people at shows — that is our history and our legacy, and it's a legacy we're really proud of.

Q: I loved the story in the book about you and Daryl being trapped in that giant Lucite bass drum while filming the “Out of Touch” video and realizing, OK, this is enough.

A: At that point, we had become almost caricatures of ourselves sand didn't want to become MTV cartoons and looked back on as a nostalgia band, and that's why we stopped. We made a few albums in the early '90s because we had to wait until time came back around to us and then put ourselves on individual paths.

Q: You and Daryl created such an extraordinary body of work. Would you ever consider a Vegas residency?

A: Never, ever, ever. I could do two days. But going back repeatedly and doing the same show every night? We are the anti-Vegas band — I love playing there — but we're not the right act.


John Oates will sign copies of his autobiography, "Change of Seasons," at 6 p.m. June 10. Free, but must purchase book from A Cappella Books to receive a ticket for signing line. Taco Cowboy, 1000 Virginia Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-681-5128,


Daryl Hall and John Oates with Tears for Fears

With Allen Stone. 7 p.m. June 11. $35-$129.50. Infinite Energy Arena, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. 770-626-2464,