Too Much Monkey Business

Posted on 11th August 2011 in Journalism


Let me tell you something, boy. You can march like the white man, you can talk like him. You can sing his songs, you can even wear his suits. But, you ain’t NEVER gonna be nothing to him, but an ugly ass chimp… – Trip (Glory, 1989)

Recent events in the cinema, namely the return of the “Planet of the Apes” franchise, have led to me to refer my friends and neighbors to a dusty article I wrote several years ago. It’s buried at StyleWeekly.com. But you don’t have to hunt for it, I’ve dug it up just for you. Here it is.

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Half Amazing

Posted on 2nd August 2011 in Journalism

This week, Style Weekly will publish my interview with, John Oates, the guitar-playing half of the hit-making machine known as Hall and Oates. Below are some outtakes. Thanks for stopping by.

Is this the first time you’ve played Richmond by yourself?

I don’t think I have too many firsts, left in this career, so I’m going to enjoy this one.

What is your creative process like?

Well, it depends, what decade are you talking about? (laughs)

The 80s.

Okay, the 80s. Once we started getting commercial success, it was just a whirlwind, a nonstop whirlwind. We’d write songs, we’d go in the studio record for about two months or so, come out the studio, make a video and go on the road. It never stopped, for about five or six years straight. But we were touring before that too, so we had a lot goin’ on. We toured all through the 70s. Honestly, I never stopped touring from 1972, to almost 1990.

How long have you lived in Colorado?

I’ve lived in Colorado for over 20 years. I’ve been living in Nashvillle, as well.

What is your favorite sample of your work?

I think the original sample of “I Can’t Go For That,” by De La Soul, “Say No Go.” That was the thing that kicked if off. Of course, that song, “I Can’t Go For That,” is probably the most sampled song maybe in the world for all I know. There’s been so many cool versions of it, from you know, using the entire song like Simply Red did, to using parts of the groove and little snippets of the sample. I know that song has been sampled a whole bunch.

Is there anything in today’s music that you find inspiring?

There’s a number of things. I don’t find it inspiring from an influential point of view. But I find a lot great young songwriters, a lot of young passionate musicians who are doing some great stuff and I think that’s what’s really inspiring to me. Of course, the music business is so radically different from when I was in my heyday. It creates different challenges for musicians.

Can you talk about working with David Ruffin & Eddie Kendrick?

We were huge Temptations fans. One of the things that brought Daryl and I together was our love for the Temptations, and their harmonies and everything about them. Daryl had a group called the Temptones, and the Temptations kind of sponsored them. Daryl knew them pretty well, he introduced me to the guys. When it came time for us to do the Apollo theater show, we wanted to do something special. We wanted to show respect to Eddie and David, whose work was so important to us. We asked them to come onto our stage and recreate some of those great songs and they were amazing and they did it. It was just an incredible experience.

In “I Can’t Go for That,” what was the “that?”

A lot of people find that interesting. That song was really about the music business. It was about manger, music business, control, things like that. Basically, we put it in the framework of a relationship, but really what it was, it was a relationship between me and Daryl and the music business. Like we’re not gonna do just what you tell us to do,we’re gonna do what we want to do. At some point, we’re just going to put our foot down an say ‘I can’t Go for That’ and I’m not doing it. That’s really what that song’s about.

Will there be another Hall and Oates album?

Not really. I don’t think so. Not in the near future. Daryl’s got a solo album coming out in October, mine is out now., and I’m working that. We still like playing together and we still play together all the time. We’re going to do a tour in September on the west coast. In the meantime, I think our personal creative juices are flowing in the direction of our individual projects.

Anything else you want to add?

No, man, that feels pretty good. I just hope people come out. If you like roots music and blues, you’re gonna be real happy.

Think you might play “Possession Obsession?”

Nope. (laughs)

I’ll tell you what, if anyone asks from the audience, I might bust it out for you. You never know. That’s the kind of show it is.