By Brian Ives
It’s been an interesting decade for John Oates. After years of being considered pretty uncool, a new school of musicians (including Chromeo, My Morning Jacket, Cee Lo Green and Travie McCoy, among many others) have cited the group as a major influence, and the duo were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at long last in 2014.
Oddly, as interest in the band reaches its highest point since the 1980s, they’ve pulled back on making new music (their last album Home for Christmas was released in 2006). Instead they tour a lot but dedicate their respective studio time on their solo careers.
We spoke to Oates as he was promoting his new live DVD Another Good Road. He talked about the band’s recent revival, his solo career and Hall & Oates‘ future, as well as his friendship with the comedic duo Garfunkel & Oates.
Radio.com: It must be satisfying that so many younger acts are Hall & Oates fans these days. It didn’t feel that way in, say, the ’90s.
John Oates: There was a period of time when the current generation was trying to distance themselves from past artists, like they weren’t “cool,” or they were old, and there was a stigma to it. But this new generation that’s happening right now, in their teens and 20s and 30s, they really seem to be embracing it.
Has it been surprising to see how things have come around?
If someone were to tell me in the early ‘70s, when we were first starting out, that when you’re in your mid-60s in 2014 or 2015, you’re gonna be more popular than you ever were in your entire career, even though you’re not recording any records–together–I would have said, “Man, you are definitely smokin’ something! Because that ain’t gonna happen!” I’m happy and grateful and it’s definitely given Daryl and me, individually and collectively, a real boost. We’re like, “Man, how many times in life can this come around?” You don’t want to waste it, you want to soak it all in and make the most of it.
Things really have come around: you guys finally were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year.
I think a lot of our fans had been waiting for that for a long time. We had been eligible since the ’90s and were never even nominated, much less voted in. It was vindication in a way. It was our time. Maybe it was public opinion, maybe it was the interest in us by the new generation of artists or having a guy like Questlove advocating us.