As one half of the most successful duo in pop history, John Oates is so much more than That Dude With the 'Stache. With fellow Philly boy Daryl Hall, the now-60-year-old writer, producer and harmonizer is responsible for great swaths of '70s, '80s and '90s ear candy: Kiss on My List, You Make My Dreams, Private Eyes.... Yeah, good luck getting those out of your head.
Hall & Oates are still a wildly popular touring act; tonight, the guys bring their Up Close and Personal show to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. Before Oates sidles up to his tall, blond partner for healthy helpings of blue-eyed soul, he chatted with the Stuck in the '80s podcast team of Sean Daly and Steve Spears. Here's an excerpt from the interview — with requisite mustache queries saved until the end:
Steve and I have been working together for three years — and we already hate each other. You and Daryl Hall have coexisted peacefully for four decades. Okay, Dr. Phil, what's the secret to a long-lasting relationship?
Duos in general have a very unusual dynamic. [Daryl and I] have the exact same background. We went to the same kind of schools. We lived in the same part of Pennsylvania. We were excited and inspired by the same type of music. And then when we got together, it formed a musical bond. But at the same time, we're completely different as people. I think we balance each other out in a kind of a strange weird way. "
You recently released a solo album, 2008's 1,000 Miles of Life. Did you kind of have a "phantom limb" during that? Were you missing Daryl?
[Laughs] No, not at all. Especially on this album. This album was so different than the stuff I've done with Daryl. What I do with Daryl is unique. We can never replicate it or replace it. The solo stuff — whether it's him or me — is totally different. I think that both have their place.
Everything you cranked out in the '80s — from I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) to Maneater to Out of Touch — charted huge. What was that creative process like?
Throughout the '70s, we dabbled with a lot of different sounds to try to find ourselves. In the '80s, it came together. We produced ourselves. The hits started rolling. It was just an intense time. We would write songs really fast, we'd record them fairly quickly, make videos, get on a bus, go on tour for a year, come back and do it all over again. It never really stopped. It seemed like it just flew by.
You wrote Maneater, and originally wanted to sing it, but didn't. Why?
I came to my senses. At that time, Daryl was the voice of all the hits. Being a partner, I had to act like a partner. I realized if I sang it, it'd be a hit of some sort, but it might not be a best match.
Okay, John Oates, with respect to you and your upper lip, we've saved this question until the very end. Why are people so obsessed with your mustache?
Because they're crazy! It's become a thing. I guess the mustache is an iconic symbol of the '70s and '80s. But it's gone!
It's been gone for 18 years! It ain't coming back! I don't think I'd look too cool with a white mustache.
To hear the whole interview with John Oates, go to entertainment.tampabay.com.