Daryl Hall shows what else he can do on the first tour without John Oates

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Daryl Hall, lead songwriter and vocalist for legendary soul-rock group Hall & Oates, is bringing his house band to Cincinnati on Sunday, August 7th in support of the new compilation “BeforeAfter” — a retrospective of songs from his five Solo studio albums interspersed with cuts from the acclaimed online performance series Live From Daryl’s House.

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I recently spoke with the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer about his writing process, his love-hate relationship with the entertainment industry, and how to avoid burnout while juggling touring, television production, and a home restoration hobby.

Question: You started getting serious about melody at Temple University, as part of the vocal group Temptones, and you came into contact with artists like the Delfonics and the Temptations. What drew you to soul and R&B about Philadelphia?

Answer: I grew up outside of Philadelphia and have been singing to people since I was about 4 or 5 years old. This whole area is permeated with a certain kind of music. It’s what people know as the Sound of Philadelphia. It is very vocal and harmony heavy and uses specific types of chords. I was drawn to it because I heard it around me.

Q: You are mainly known for your singing, but you are also a multi-instrumentalist. What comes first when you write a song? Do you have a melody in your head or is she drumming around on a keyboard or guitar that moves you to a song?

A: It can come in many different ways. More than that, it either comes with a drum groove from a drum machine or in my head or some sort of chord pattern on either a guitar or keyboard. You can tell that from the music. I usually start my songs with the dominant riff in the song and then go from there. I can get inspiration in many different ways. A lyrical phrase can trigger it. Then I just let it develop naturally.

Daryl Hall will perform at Timberwolf Amphitheater on Kings Island on August 7th.

Q: This is your first tour without John Oates and it follows the release of BeforeAfter which focuses solely on your work without him. You’ve talked a lot about taking a break from the duo to establish your legacy as a solo artist. But you’ve always collaborated with other musicians, be it with Robert Fripp or your house band or Todd Rundgren etc. What role do you see in collaboration in your music?

A: It’s important because my style is very collaborative. Of course I write a lot by myself, but I like to sit down with and against other people. Somehow it feels like it’s more than the sum of its parts. And you’re right, I’ve done that over the years. That’s part of what this compilation is about – showing all the different collaborations I’ve done, apart from what everyone knows with John Oates. That’s why they’re all a little different. What holds it together is my sensitivity and my singing. That’s why I’m doing Live From Daryl’s House. It’s an extension of the same thing – working with other people to see what’s going to happen.

Q: Speaking of Live From Daryl’s House, you get tons of artists to join you. How do you choose who to invite to jam?

A: It often comes down to planning. I have no problem getting people to say yes to the show. I never did, not even from the start. When I first came up with the idea, one of my first guests was Smokey Robinson. I called him and I said, “Hey, Smokey, you want to come over to my house in the middle of nowhere?” And he said yes. I didn’t have a problem with people saying yes, but then they said, ‘Yeah, but I’m on tour. This whole year is fully booked and blah blah blah.” So that’s the biggest challenge.

Daryl Hall will perform at Timberwolf Amphitheater on Kings Island on August 7th.

Q: You’ve said a lot about your dissatisfaction with the music industry in general and your hesitance, for example, to bringing Live From Daryl’s to network television. Did your experiences with “Daryl’s Restoration Over-Hall” or with cameos on TV shows influence the decision to maintain tighter control over “Live From Daryl’s”?

A: My relationship with people who sell art is always very weak. I go in many different directions and am difficult to categorize and pin down. It’s hard for the entertainment business to understand where I’m from. I clashed with record companies from the start. Sometimes everything works, but often not. My restoration show, although I had a great time on the show, was a real experience in the TV world with all the limitations that came with it. I tend to work better autonomously without many people looking over my shoulder.

Q: Do you think the internet has changed the way you approach the business side of the creative industry?

A: The internet made it all possible. “Daryl’s House” would not have existed if the Internet had not been available for it. I was the first to do this. The internet wasn’t an entertainment vehicle at all back when I started this show. It was for information and association and things like that. There were no podcasts, there was nothing. So what I did was revolutionary and it could only have happened without restrictions or discipline. Nobody said anything, so we just did it. That’s the strength of the show. It was unimpeded.

Daryl Hall will perform at Timberwolf Amphitheater on Kings Island on August 7th.

Q: You’ve had an extremely busy life and you clearly have a strong work ethic. what keeps you going And what do you do with your free time when you’re not making music or touring or renovating houses?

A: I don’t have much free time. I’m restoring the house I’m staying in right now and this has been taking up my time between tours. Then I’ll be on my way again. Then in September we will start filming the new episodes of Live At Daryl’s House. And it just goes on and on, so I don’t have a lot of downtime.

Q: What keeps you from getting burned out?

A: I try to change things. I don’t do anything to death and I always change things. I’m always trying new things and creating challenges for myself and that keeps it interesting and keeps my energy flowing. I just have an active mind and like to get things moving.

Daryl Hall and Todd Rundgren

When: 7 p.m., Sunday 7 August.

Where: Timberwolf Amphitheater, Kings Island, 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason.

Tickets: $40-$80.

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