John Oates busy with big arena dates, intimate solo shows

Hitmaker John Oates, coming to Oakland’s Oracle Arena Aug. 7 on the Daryl Hall & John Oates tour with Train, took a few minutes to speak with the San Francisco Examiner.

You and Daryl have been touring regularly since the 1970s; how many tours have you been on?

I haven’t counted; I don’t know.

You’re almost at the end of this one; how’s it going?

Yes, three more days. (Tuesday in Oakland, Thursday in Portland and Saturday in Seattle). It’s been great.

What’s the origin of the new Hall and Oates’ song “Philly Forget Me Not,” a collaboration with Train?
Pat Monahan of Train brought it to us; he thought it would be cool to have something new for the tour.

So does this mean there might be other new Hall and Oates’ tunes?
No. But then I never say never.

This time, you’re doing some Train songs and sharing the stage, but you don’t typically do that, do you?
Well, we’re two separate groups and we do a couple of songs together. Yet we have done it in the past, though we didn’t last year with Tears for Fears. It depends on the synergy we have with the band; some people we know better.

Through the years, are there tours that stand out as being most memorable or remarkable?

Daryl and I have had many bands through the years; I remember them all, they all brought something different to the table. In the ‘70s, they were more loose and raw; we didn’t have hits to play. Today, we’re kind of prisoners of our success. We’ve got a catalog of hits and we feel responsible to play them; people come to hear those songs. But there’s no negative to it. I never think, “God, I wish I didn’t have to play this.”

What’s been the reaction to your memoir “Change of Seasons,” which is now out in paperback?
Positive; it’s been a top seller on Amazon in its category. People seem to appreciate that it’s not boilerplate; it’s about life, and it has insights into the music business. It’s coming out in Europe soon; I’ll be going to the U.K.

Are you also promoting your solo album “Arkansas” these days?

Yes, after this tour, I’ll be back on the road, and at the Sweetwater in Mill Valley on Sept. 27 with my band. It’s the same guys who made the record, they’re great, great musicians who have a wealth of experience. They’re my friends from the Americana-roots community in Nashville, where I’ve lived for 10 years.

Can you talk about the balance between arena concerts and club shows?
This thing Daryl and I have got going together, people seem to like it, and it gives us the freedom to go on our separate paths, too. Nobody else I know actually has been able to pull this off. People accept it; it’s a statement and credit to our fans, who are musically open minded.

How do you manage to do all you do?
My mantra: If you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, then you’re still in the f—— tunnel.

Daryl Hall and John Oates, Train
Where: Oracle Arena, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland
When: 7 p.m. Aug. 7
Tickets: $50 to $125

Leslie Katz
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Leslie Katz

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