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PopEntertainment.com > Feature Interviews - Music > Feature Interviews F to J > Daryl Hall

 

Daryl Hall

Come To His House

by Ken Sharp

 
Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: July 13, 2008.

"Live from Daryl's House" is the latest groundbreaking project by music icon, Daryl Hall. Bridging the gap even closer from artist to audience thanks to the wonder of the internet, this collaborative performance showcase is spearheaded by Hall, who is accompanied by veteran Hall & Oates band multi-instrumentalist, T-Bone Wolk, and introduces a host of disparate artists, ranging from John Oates to Gym Class Heroes to KT Tunstall to the show's latest guest, Nick Lowe. Ken Sharp recently spoke with Hall who gave him the low down on this exciting endeavor. 

Tell us about “Live from Daryl’s House. 

I first got the idea a few years ago when there was that SARS scare. Everybody was talking about it: “We’re afraid to go to Canada” and all this nonsense. That was the first pandemic scare. That got me thinking. Okay, they’re saying we can’t tour Canada and people are afraid to fly. What is gonna happen when the world breaks down? This was my prescient moment. I asked myself – what happens when touring becomes really hard? People are afraid to go out to concerts because they’re afraid of getting a deathly sickness or they can’t afford to go to the show because gas prices are too high. I wondered as musicians, how are we gonna communicate to the world? How are we gonna tour around the world when we can’t physically do it anymore. I came up with the idea of using the internet and making the world come to me. That way I could tour without touring. My music is touring but I’m not touring. That was the germ of the idea for “Live from Daryl’s House.” Then I started getting real with it. I could just sit on my back porch and play songs with T-Bone (Wolk) or do what ever I wanted to do and it goes out all over the world. It’s a true reality. It deconstructs the artist and audience relationship. The audience becomes part of the whole thing. The audience becomes a fly on the wall sitting in the room with the musicians, not sitting in a chair watching musicians perform. So you put all that together and you have what is “Live from Daryl’s House.” 

How do you decide what to play on the show? 

It isn’t about just playing hits. We don’t do that with Hall and Oates. We play whatever we want to play, we just happen to have a lot of hits. We can do anything we want to do. There are no limits. When you’re a performer there’s an innate sense of timing that one must have to put on a show. You have to have a beginning, a middle and an end. You have to have emotional ups and downs. It’s a theatrical performance whereas when you’re just sitting around in your living room or sitting around on the back porch those rules don’t apply. So you’re not required to have any order to what you do. The other thing I particularly like is it’s not in real time. Sometimes we’ll rehearse a song and film the rehearsal and then we’ll play the song and film the performance and use the rehearsal as B-roll. And if we don’t like it we’ll do it again. So it’s freed of every performing restriction. It totally destroys the fourth wall.

I just sat with T-Bone (Wolk) and we went through my entire discography and said, “Here are the songs that we’re gonna pull out.” We have a lot of content, it’s an open ended show and who knows how long it’s gonna go on. I don’t want to just keep playing the obvious songs. We pulled out about 75 songs that we’re gonna start learning and playing on “Live From Daryl’s House” and “Head Above Water” is one of them. “I Love You Like a Brother” is another one we’re gonna do. “Halfway There” and “I Don’t Wanna Lose You” we may do as well. “Live from Daryl’s House” and the Hall & Oates shows allows me the freedom to play whatever we want; we’re not limited to playing “Kiss On My List” all of the time. We always wind up doing that but we get to do a lot of other stuff as well. We played the Troubadour in LA not long ago and we added “When the Morning Comes” and “Had I Known You Better Then” from Abandoned Luncheonette. We’d never played those songs live. 

Tell us about some of the artists who have appeared on the show. 

My first thought was I wanted to have guest on the show because I didn’t want this to be just me playing a bunch of songs. My first guest obviously was John (Oates). We did a Christmas album and I figured a Christmas show seemed like a real Hall and Oates kind of thing, lets’ get all around the tree and play. After that I wanted to start adding guests from the outside so Gym Class Heroes immediately came to mind to me. I’d been talking to Travis (McCoy); he called his tour “Daryl Hall for President” (laughs) so obviously he likes me. I asked him if he wanted to play on my show and he said yes. It’s interesting because every single person I’ve asked has said yes. That’s a pleasant surprise to me. We had a great time. He picked some songs, we rehearsed them and he really did a great job. You can see it in our faces. We were really excited. There was a lot of love there. 

Nick Lowe is the guest on the latest show. I’ve known Nick since 1985. We got together in England and wrote a song called “When the Spell Is Broken.” I still love that song and eventually I’m gonna record it. We’ve maintained a friendship and I was doing a couple of shows England and called Nick up and he did the show. I call that the first back-porch show. Me, Nick and T-Bone were literally sitting my kitchen table at my house in London playing acoustic guitars. Then we went upstairs and played in the sitting room and then we went out by the river and played out there. Just wandering around, sharing anecdotes and playing songs. It’s more causal than the other episodes. In some ways it’s my favorite one because it’s so real. I play a real early song of mine called “Perkiomen” in the show. I wrote that song when I was twenty. I used to go down to visit John when he lived at his parent’s house in North Wales (Pennsylvania – a suburb of Philadelphia) and I lived in Pottstown. I had to cross the Perkiomen creek to get to his house and the song was inspired by that. I saw a sign one day that said “Perkiomen”, which means “muddy river.” It’s one of those songs John and I did as a demo. This rather unscrupulous guy had the demo and put it out. If you ever get that stupid album, Past Times Behind, it’s a series of demos. Some of those songs John’s not even involved in. It’s a travesty. But out of all that, “Perkiomen” was on it and I really liked that song and I played it. I’ve never played it. That was the only time, 20 years-old to now. (laughs)  

Working on “Live from Daryl’s House” - has that collaboration with a diverse array of artists rubbed off on your songwriting? 

Absolutely. I’m just getting ready to do another solo record. I’m just in the writing stages but when people involved in it ask me what kind of record I want to make I tell them that it’s an extension of “Live from Daryl’s House.” It may go as far as using some of the same people either in collaboration or as a guest singer or player from the series. It’s all seamless to me now. To me, “Live from Daryl’s House,” the spontaneity, the sound of it, the organicness of it, it’s just splashing over into what I’m doing for my net CD. I’m getting closer and closer, so there’s no difference between one thing and another thing. I’m really digging on it. 

Do you have any wish list people for the show? I have three. 

Well, throw ‘em out, let me hear it. 

How about Stevie Wonder, Todd Rundgren and David Bowie? 

You know it’s funny. I have my own little wish list. All three of those names are on my list. This thing is developing. I’m talking to a lot of people about taking it on television; it’s destined to go there. It’s gonna wind up being bigger and bigger. I’m funding this by myself. This is coming out of my own pocket. The internet is not free. In the inverted, crazy, backwards world of the internet you actually are penalized by your success. The more people who watch this, the more it costs me. So I’m the guy here and I’m funding this and doing this like you do any business. You start a business and you take a chance. The more people who watch this, whether it’s on the internet or satellite television, the more I’m gonna start increasing the magnitude of my guests. Right now I’m very interested in new artists and I really like working with new artists and that will never change. If I start asking Stevie Wonder or David Bowie, I’m waiting to do that with my phase two of the show.

Info: http://www.livefromdarylshouse.com/

Preview "Live from Daryl's House" with this great clip of Daryl Hall and Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes performing the Animals' classic single "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" and Hall and Oates' "Adult Education."

 

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Photo Credits:
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#2 © 2008. Courtesy of LiveFromDarylsHouse.com. All rights reserved.

Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: July 13, 2008.

Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: July 13, 2008.