As many of you long-time fans do, I have a huge collection of "Hall & Oates treasures" hidden in my closet. Among them are a bunch of worn-out cassette tapes on which I recorded the radio shows Daryl & John appeared in while they were in Japan. When I suggested making transcription of the interviews on these tapes, Maki kindly agreed to put it on her website so everyone can share.

 So here is the first one in the series (hopefully!), an interview for a radio show aired on FM Tokyo on November 1, 1980. Daryl and John had just released the Voices album and were touring Japan for the second time. In this show, they talked about the new album and the tour and answered some questions from the listeners. They were also asked to choose the songs to play between the questions. Enjoy!

Yusa  



You came here for the second time this year, right?
D: Yeah, that is true.
J: We came in, I think it was February last time.
That's pretty amazing, two tours in one year.
D: Yeah, it's unusual. We'd tried to come here for two or three years before that, and now it's twice in one year. That's extremely unusual. I think it's because we're doing the whole world tour with this new album. So it's, it was on the way, more or less, 'cause we were going from, we were doing some dates in Australia, New Zealand, so we were at least to be in this part of the globe, so we wanted to come back.

Do you want to play a track of the new album Voices?
D&J: Sure.
Which one would you like to play first?
J: We want to play the single. "Hard To Be In Love With You."

Which one of you is the fussiest about music?
D: I guess we both are. We both very much are, we're perfectionists. But the things with us is, we now, well, at least now, I mean, I think it's a whole new era in our music because we are in control of our music, I suppose, because we produce ourselves now. So we can be very, we know exactly what we want, and it's easy for us to be perfectionist about it now because we're in control of it.
J: In the past we've had a lot of problems with producers. Producers never really understood what we want, and it was a constant struggle for us to explain ourselves individually and collectively to producers, and then translate it into the record. Now that the middle man is not there anymore, it really has made things so much easier, and this last album was perhaps the easiest album we've ever had to make, and I think the success of the album probably reflects that.

Any songs that you heard recently that really impressed you?
D: Oh boy. We haven't listened to music for so long 'cause we've been on the road for a year, but...
J: It's hard when you're working every night and touring. You hear, you know, of course you're playing every night, and music is, you're trying almost to get it out of your head and not into your head, so the last thing you do is play music for pleasure. It's really difficult. I like, uh, the only person I really like is, well, I like Richard Pryor. I like Richard Pryor, and I like Ian Dury. I like Ian Dury's new song, "I Want To Be Straight".

You played a concert in a disco, right? How was it playing in a small club? It must have been a long time since you did that.
D: Oh, no. We did it in the States in the fall.
J: Last fall. A year ago.
Oh, really. Where at?
D: Everywhere. We went to all the country.
J: We did the entire club tour.
Oh, you did a club tour.
J: We did a special tour of only clubs, and it was something we needed to do.
D: …and we wanted to do. It's fun. It's a lot of, it's more fun to play a club than a regular concert because it's a looser situation, you know. It's not staged, and it's real personal contact, plus everybody is up, and they don't have to sit in chairs, everybody is, they drink a little bit, so everybody is crazy, you know. It's much more fun. Fun for everybody.

In Japan, most of the people who go to see concerts are young girls. Is that different from the States?
D: Yeah. I'd say so. Well, it depends. In the States, what I find is that very very large concerts like stadiums, maybe 10,000,  20,000-seat are younger kids. And then the smaller venues like 3,000-seat and clubs are older people.
J: But we do get a lot of girls.
D: Oh, yeah, yeah.
J: But they tend, it's kind of hard for us to judge because we can only see the front row.
D: Because of the lights.
J: Because of the lights. And the girls, the real fans tend to come down to the front, so you can't tell who's in the back, really. It could be anyone.

Okay, Daryl, how about you? Is there anything that you'd like to pick out? It doesn't even have to be new, actually. It doesn't have to be a hit or anything.
J: Oh well, then, in that case we've got plenty of songs to choose from.
D: Okay, let's think of one…
J: Well, you could think of almost anything…
D: I'm the worse with this.
J: You're the worse with this. Well…
D: Oh, I know, I know. We just did a tour of England with a group that opened the shows for us called the Sinceros.
The Sinceros?
D: Yes. And they're quite a good band, and they played a couple of good songs. What was the one that…
J: "Little White Lies" and…
D: "Take Me to Your Leader". That's a great song.
J: Yeah, I like that song.

(reading a letter from a listener) She just said that my favorites of your music are probably songs of the Abandoned Luncheonette album. Are there any songs from that album or from that period that you find particularly…
J: Offensive? (laugh)
…hard to throw away, if you like?
D: Well, obviously "She's Gone". We've been playing that ever since those days, '73, when we made that record. That's the only record, the only song from Abandoned Luncheonette that we still play.
J: Although there are some songs from that album that are still valid, I think.
D: Oh, yeah, that we still like.
J: "Lady Rain", for instance. I think that song is probably just as progressive now as anything on the radio. So, there's a number of songs in there. In general, that was a good album.
D: We're proud of that album.

What do you think of the other albums that you had around that period?

D: Well, the War Babies album was a complete step in another direction to trying to round out the kind of music. What we did is, the first three albums we did, the Whole Oats album, Abandoned Luncheonette and War Babies, could be almost listened to as a trilogy because they were three distinctively different records, but it was those three records that formed, the combinations of those three things that formed the style we do now. That's the combination of rock and soul music. And, so, War Babies was, a lot of people didn't understand why we did the War Babies album right after Abandoned Luncheonette. We didn't even know ourselves at that time why we were doing it, but we knew we had to do something like that. We wanted to do something that was very different in order to explain the other side of that kind of music, more… just more rock'n'roll side, and uh, a little more…
J: Proving.
D: Yeah, proving, experimental type music that we do along with that kind of soul, melodic things we did on Abandoned Luncheonette.

So, out of that period if you had to choose one song that you would like to play now, did you say what? "Lady Rain"?
D: Yeah, that's a good combination of progressive and song style.
J: Yeah, that's a good one.
OK, let's go.

Have you both been soul fans for many many years?

D: We grew up in Philadelphia, so we had to be.
J: That's right. I mean, that's our roots, literally. That's the music we listened to when we were kids, that's the music we began to play first, you know, it's…
D: You can't really say we were fans. We actually were instrumental in developing Philadelphia music. I played and John played both on records in the 60s, that were the records that formed the sound of Philadelphia, so we were more than fans. We originated it.
J: The music, the actual sound of Philadelphia really developed only in the mid and late 60s. It was not something that, you know, came from the early 50s or anything like that. It developed in the 60s, so it's fairly recent, you know. It's not exactly a real old form. And we were part of that, Gamble and Huff people…
You worked with those people?
J: Oh yeah. We…
D: Yeah. We started with them.
J: When we were teenagers, just starting out.
Oh, really.
J: Sure.
D:  Like John said, it's a very recent thing, the Philadelphia soul music. I mean, soul music is obviously old, but that version of it, that melodic Philadelphia style, chords and melody, was really developed in the mid 60s, when we first started making records, and you know, I had a record out on a label called Arctic Records which was formed, the first label that Kenny Gamble formed, and he had a band called Kenny Gamble and the Romeos, and that turned into Leon Huff and Tommy Bell and all the guys that played on his records.
J: That turned into M.F.S.B.
D: Right. And I was part of that. I played piano for, you know, Stylistics and the Delfonics and all those kinds of groups.

Oh really. I didn't know that. Wow. So, do you like, Philadelphia sound was much closer thing than, say, Motown or Stax?
J: The Philadelphia sound was developed partly from the early Motown material, as well as some of the early Chicagos like Curtis Mayfield, the elements of that in Philadelphia music.

Are there any particular songs from that period that you'd particularly like to play?
D: If you could find them. I mean, I could think of a lot of them. That might be easy. "La La Means I Love You" by the Delfonics or any early Jerry Butler songs.
J: Yeah, Jerry Butler, like "Hey Western Union Man"…
D: …or "Only the Strong Survive".  If you can find any of these, that would be very appropriate.
J: Or any Intruders songs too. "Cowboys to Girls" or "Together"…

If the two of you were professional DJs and had your own program, are there any songs that you'd definitely, absolutely definitely want to play to people, sell to people?
D: Oh boy. New ones or old ones?
Let's take one of each.
D: One of each… New records? I don't know. I would only sell my own records if I sell anywhere, not anybody else. Gee, I don't know…
J: New records, I have to say that I'd only play my own music. (laugh)
D: I don't know. I haven't heard any new bands. If I had a Police record, I mean, a record by the Police, the group. I really like the Police a lot. I think they are my favorite other band other than me. So, any one, I don't know what their new single is, but you could play that, whatever that might be.
"Don't Get So Close to Me". It just went to No.1 in England.
D: All right. There you go.

Why do you think your music is so popular with women?
D: Oh… Well, I don't know if I could say. (laugh) I don't know. We never, we don't try. It just happens. Whatever it is that we do, we do it very naturally. So that's the way I can put it. There's no effort that we make to appeal to women as opposed to anything else. It's just, I guess the kind of music. I think our music is sensitive in a lot of ways and on a lot of different levels, and I think that in some ways that appeals more to, apparently more to women than men, who tend to like more straight-ahead loud rock'n'roll. I think that's true in all cases. Usually rock'n'roll concerts are, there's more boys to come to those, and our kind of music is song-oriented and it's melodic, and I think it has a certain feminine appeal.

How about an old record?
D: An old record? "My Girl" by the Temptations.
Terrific.

Do you listen to cover versions of your songs?
D: Sometimes.
J: Well, if we hear them. Let's put it that way. 'Cause we cannot always find them. (laugh) But they, for instance, the song Portable Radio from the X-Static album. It was just covered by a South African group called Clout. And they did a fairly good version of it. They did a good job with it. But I normally don't like cover versions of our songs. They never seem to capture the essence of what the song is, for some reason.

With "Sara Smile", there's one version I really love by Mike Mainieri. Did you hear that one?
J: No.
Do you know Mike Mainieri, the vibes player?
D: Oh, he's done an instrumental version of it.
With David Sanborn on sax.
D: Yes, yes, I heard that. That was nice. That was nice.
J: I heard Eric Gale.
Oh, the reggae one.
D: That's the one I heard.
J: Eric Gale. He's a guitarist. That's instrumental…
That's true. That's another terrific one, actually.
J: Yeah, that's the only one I've heard. I haven't heard the one you mentioned.
D: Yeah, I know. I didn't know that one.
Mike Mainieri's is really nice. Do you want to hear it?
D: Yes.
J: Sure. Why not? Let's listen to it.

D: (asked about which song to play next) How about "Kiss On My List"?
Oh, a nice one. Is that going to be the next single?
D: I think so.
J: I think so. It looks to be. In fact, it will probably be the next single all over the world. See, we have different singles in different countries. In America, the first single was "How Does It Feel". In England, the first single was "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling". In Japan, it's "Hard To Be". In Australia, it's "How Does It Feel". So it's different in each country. So, I think "Kiss On My List" will be the next worldwide single.

Thanks very much for being on the show.
D: Our pleasure.
Have you had fun?
D: Yes, very much fun.
J: It was interesting. An interesting way to do an interview.
Would you like to say something to the fans?
D: We were glad that everyone came to the concerts, and we're still coming, and we'll see you next time.
J: Right. Thank you very much.

(transcribed by Yusa Koizumi)

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