John Oates
Matt Christine

Interview with John Oates

For over 30 years, Inductee John Oates has been a part of one of the most successful duos in rock's history. 

Now, Oates has released his memoir, Change of Seasons, and is giving fans personal insight into his journey as a musician. Oates will be visiting the Rock Hall to sit down for a live Q&A session, play an acoustic set and sign copies of his memoir for fans. Before his visit, Oates spoke to us about his influences, what it was like writing his memoir and how the Hall And Oates fanbase has grown since the release of their first singles. 

Rock Hall: What was your experience like writing a memoir? How did it feel to focus on your story as a musician as an individual when you've been a part of a popular group for so long?

John Oates: Conjuring up old memories at times felt like entering into a sort of regressive therapy...a gift, in that had I not gone through the process, some recollections may never have come back.

It took about two years to write and it was not easy to sustain focus and energy throughout such a long-term project. One of the biggest challenges was how to chronicle my personal experiences and point of view while at the same time not ignoring the fact that I've spent my entire adult life involved in an ongoing partnership with Daryl Hall. 

RH: What are some of the favorite traits of your fan base? Has it changed as your recording career’s progressed? 

JO: Over the years the Hall & Oates fan base has been extremely loyal and supportive and has evolved from our older faithful fans to an entirely new multiple generation of fans.

One characteristic that has been consistent is the fact that they are very open-minded musically and not so locked into the past that they can't appreciate when an artist moves forward in their career. 

RH: Has becoming a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee changed your life?

JO: Only in the fact that the hall of fame induction has elevated our credibility and stature in the their eyes. I don't personally feel any different but it means a lot to the world.

RH: Where did you pick up some of your folk and bluegrass influences? Which artists made the biggest impact on your style? 

I began singing and playing guitar at 5 or 6 years old, so as a beginner I was able to learn and play the early songs of the rock and roll era due to the fact that most of the songs of that time were fairly simple in terms of chords.

Eventually I discovered the roots of American folk and blues and learned by listening to records and meeting a guy named Jerry Ricks in Philadelphia who was plugged into the folk scene. He introduced me to Doc Watson and Mississippi John Hurt and many of the originators who have influenced my style.

RH: Who are you listening to right now? 

JO: I’m listening to the final mixes of a new album project called Arkansas that is a progressive retro-Americana record that taps into some of those same folk and blues as well as pre-rock and roll American popular music from the 1920s and 1930s.

2014 Induction Ceremony Performance

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Inductee Bio

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