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10 Questions With John Oates

What’s your fave Hall & Oates song?
“She’s Gone.”


Setting aside your general soul roots, am I nuts or is there a serious and specific Hall & Oates vibe on the Chi-Lites’ “Oh Girl”?
There is a connection with the soul tradition of Chicago that is very close to me personally. It has to do with the harmonies and chord changes. Plus, I was a huge Curtis Mayfield fan!

What was the first record you bought?
Probably “Wake Up, Little Suzie” by the Everly Brothers.

Did you have a rock & roll epiphany as a kid?
Yes, in 1954, when my folks took me to a local Pennsylvania amusement park and I saw my first live show: Bill Haley and the Comets — especially when the bass player threw down his giant upright bass and rode it like a horse.

What musician would you most like to meet, and what would you ask that person?
Elvis, and I’d ask him for a Cadillac.

What records are you currently listening to?
None — I’m in the writing mode.

How do you feel about the Bee-Gees? Were they an influence?
We toured with them in the ’70s, and I think we were more of an influence on them than they were on us. Their disco-era hits were produced by Arif Mardin, who produced our first two albums.

Do you have a favorite song of all time, by anyone?
Hard question! How about “People Get Ready” by the Impressions.

Greatest advice for a novice songwriter?
Listen to the people you admire and try to come up to their level.

Best mistake you ever made?
Never practicing the accordion when I was 5, because I got a guitar instead!

Hall & Oates play Sunday, June 26, at the Greek Theater.

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