DARYL HALL “Live from Daryl’s House”

By Leslie Rae Terhorst

When I was asked if I wanted to interview Daryl Hall, from Hall & Oats, I jumped at the chance, listening to “Maneater” when I was a kid helped form me into the woman I am today (just kidding).  I mean here’s someone that has seen it all through the years.  From MTV just starting up, to the Internet explosion.  I wanted to know his perspective on how things have changed since he first began, to re-vamping himself and adapting to today market, and of coarse his incredible new project ‘Live From Daryl’s House.’

Live from Daryl’s House started with Daryl’s “light-bulb moment” idea of “playing music with my friends and putting it up on the Internet,” states Daryl. 


Live from Daryl’s House has become a destination spot for showcasing unique collaborations between Daryl Hall and the latest in up-and-coming artists as well as veteran acts.  Past episodes of the series have featured a mix of well-known performers like Nick Lowe, K.T. Tunstall, Gym Class Heroes’ Travis McCoy and Finger Eleven’s James Black and Rick Jackett, as well as newcomers such as Austin, TX-based acoustic guitarist and songwriter Monte Montgomery, Philly soul singer Mutlu, Canadian techno-rockers Chromeo and Myspace pop-rock phenom Eric Hutchinson. Daryl’s longtime partner John Oates has also been featured on a pair of installments.


For the groundbreaking web destination’s 15th edition, Hall joins Wind-up Records recording artists ‘Company of Thieves’, a highly touted Chicago-based band whose label debut, ‘Ordinary Riches,’ due to hit the stand Feb. 24th.  


I sat with Daryl and we talked about everything from the freezing cold whether he was having in upstate New York, to the incredible artists he has had on the show, to his newly found influence in the music industry.  

Revolt In Style:  So, Live From Daryl’s House was one of the “light bulb moment”, did it just came to you?

Daryl:  Yeah, sort of like that.  I’m really having a lot of fun with this.  I figured this would be a good change from touring, why not flip it on its head, and have the touring come to me. Allow the world to be able to access my living room, and to just sort of take everything and turn it upside down.  I wanted to make the audience become apart of the show, or make them feel like they are a part of it.  I wanted to be able to take the creative process and the actual performance, and take everything and de-construct it, and show them what makes these artists tick.


RIS:  It’s nice, because it’s on a more personal level; you actually get to know the artist and their personality.

Daryl:  I think the people that are into music, as an audience, they hear and see the artist in a very controlled environment.  After the music is done, it has all been musically airbrushed, or whatever you want to call it.  Then they see them on a stage, and it is still in a very structured in a show business way.  And nobody gets to see what the person is truly like, in a very domestic situation.  I try to bring my guest into that feeling, like they’re at a party, or just at my home visiting, or coming over for dinner.  We just happen to be playing music along with all this.  I think this gives people insight on how musicians interact with each other, and just what kind of people they are.


RIS:  I grew up listing to you and John. Today the Internet for musicians has turned into an incredible tool, and I know you didn’t have that.  The way that you’re adapting and coming into age, and bringing in these new artists, it’s pretty amazing.  What are your thoughts?

Daryl:  Well, I always felt a little frustrated by the way things were.  It was like what I just finished talking about; you had to put together your product.  Then you had to go through a lot of gatekeepers.  You had to go through A & R people, and you had to go through promotions people, and you had to go through record company executives, and radio people, and concert promoters, and all these people had their gate keeping restrictions, and would mold things into and a certain kind of acceptable mode of presentation.  I don’t think the audience necessarily got the real thing.  I always felt very frustrated by that process.  I felt in some ways I was misunderstood because of that process, and that people really didn’t understand where I was coming from, or where my music was coming from, and they had different kinds of misunderstanding about me.  So with the rise of the Internet, and this whole new world that accompanies it, I think it’s fantastic not just for me, but for any artist that cares about true self-expression.


RIS:  The episode you did with Gym Class Heroes lead vocalist Travis McCoy, you two were jamming to ‘Queen & I’, how did that come about?

Daryl:  I love them. Travis has become a pretty close friend; we talk all the time and e-mail each other.  It’s just such a crazy thing he was my first guest, it was just one of those things, I wanted him to be the first.   He didn’t have to do what he did, this guys a new artist, and all he did was talk about me the whole time, Daryl Hall for president.  I thought at first this was a joke, but it wasn’t.  He makes no bones about his feelings towards me musically.  He is such a talented guy, and has a unique take on what he does.  I just find him to be an interesting person.  A guy who just lets it out, he doesn’t hold anything back, I mean, the guy put my face on his hand, he just doesn’t give a shit what other people think, in a good way.

RIS:  Your episode with Finger 11 didn’t quite go as you expected.

Daryl:  That was really and interesting one.  Because, I do my homework, I sit with T-Bone and we go over the songs the day before, and I really took, for some reason, I took special note of the vocals, with out even realizing what was going to happen.  These 2 guys showed up, Rick and James and I didn’t realize they weren’t the lead singer; the lead singer wasn’t there.  So I became the lead singer, so luckily I knew the songs.  I became the lead singer of Finger 11.  I had so much fun that day.  I think Company of Thieves,  Finger 11 and Travis McCoy have been my most favorite shows.


RIS:  Let’s talk about Company of Thieves.  Listening to the CD I was so impressed with Genevieve’s voice.  How was it playing with them?

Daryl:  In the old day we use to call it progressive music, progressive rock to put a ridiculous label on it.  It’s very intricate music, very unique, and if you are a musician it’s very challenging.  We really had our work cut out for us to play with these guys, and I absolutely had so much fun with them.  Marc is a great guitar player, and Genevieve has such an amazing voice.  I sing really well with her, we just harmonized so effortlessly together.  I think these guys are one of my most favorite bands out there right now.  The sky’s the limit in terms of their future.  They are truly one of the best new, young groups out there.

RIS:  Anyone for the future?

Daryl:  Well yeah, there is always someone else coming in.  I’m going to do some slightly different things.  I’m friends’ with Kevin Bacon, his bother and him have a band together.  So we are going to do a Bacon Brothers show, Kevin actually is my neighbor.  I’ve known his brother since we were kids, around 17, when we lived in Philly.   That will be a completely weird show.  We have a couple other projects but I don’t like to talk about them before they are a for sure.


RIS:  When choosing someone for the show is there a process, or do you just go with a feeling?

Daryl:  Go with a feeling.  The hardest thing is the scheduling.  When I find someone I would like on the show, I call them, I don’t think I’ve had anyone tell me they don’t want to do it.  Everyone one says they want to do it, or they are going to do it, it’s just finding the time to do it.


RIS:  At least it’s there for them to do.  It’s nice to see you find new ways of re-inventing yourself.  And to have an avenue where you can share your knowledge.

Daryl:  Well, I’m up to a challenge.  I can’t imagine not re-inventing myself, and not re-inventing the process.   Because other wise it would get really tedious.  I don’t understand the concept; I always call it the Beach Boy concept, I don’t get that, to do the same songs the same way, over and over again, no disrespect to the Beach Boys, it’s just not for me.  I’ve always been a person who believes that art is a continuum, nobody invented anything it’s a continual.   It’s just this long unending, unbroken line of influences, influencing other things, and interaction with other things.  If you realize that, then there is a lot of Dianism that comes out of that sort of interaction between experience and new energy.  Not only is it a certain responsibility to whatever art form your dealing with, it’s also an integral to your growth, I mean what would I be if I don’t grow.  Then I am just someone walking through life.  You have to share your knowledge, and experiences, or else it was all for nothing.