Daryl Hall – Come To His House
by Ken Sharp
Originally posted July 13, 2008
“Live from Daryl’s House” is the latest groundbreaking project by music icon, Daryl Hall. Bridging the gap even closer from artist to audience thanks to the wonder of the internet, this collaborative performance showcase is spearheaded by Hall, who is accompanied by veteran Hall & Oates band multi-instrumentalist, T-Bone Wolk, and introduces a host of disparate artists, ranging from John Oates to Gym Class Heroes to KT Tunstall to the show’s latest guest, Nick Lowe. Ken Sharp recently spoke with Hall who gave him the low down on this exciting endeavor.
Tell us about “Live from Daryl’s House.”
I first got the idea a few years ago when there was that SARS scare. Everybody was talking about it: “We’re afraid to go to Canada” and all this nonsense. That was the first pandemic scare. That got me thinking. Okay, they’re saying we can’t tour Canada and people are afraid to fly. What is gonna happen when the world breaks down? This was my prescient moment. I asked myself – what happens when touring becomes really hard? People are afraid to go out to concerts because they’re afraid of getting a deathly sickness or they can’t afford to go to the show because gas prices are too high. I wondered as musicians, how are we gonna communicate to the world? How are we gonna tour around the world when we can’t physically do it anymore. I came up with the idea of using the internet and making the world come to me. That way I could tour without touring. My music is touring but I’m not touring. That was the germ of the idea for “Live from Daryl’s House.” Then I started getting real with it. I could just sit on my back porch and play songs with T-Bone (Wolk) or do what ever I wanted to do and it goes out all over the world. It’s a true reality. It deconstructs the artist and audience relationship. The audience becomes part of the whole thing. The audience becomes a fly on the wall sitting in the room with the musicians, not sitting in a chair watching musicians perform. So you put all that together and you have what is “Live from Daryl’s House.”
How do you decide what to play on the show?
It isn’t about just playing hits. We don’t do that with Hall and Oates. We play whatever we want to play, we just happen to have a lot of hits. We can do anything we want to do. There are no limits. When you’re a performer there’s an innate sense of timing that one must have to put on a show. You have to have a beginning, a middle and an end. You have to have emotional ups and downs. It’s a theatrical performance whereas when you’re just sitting around in your living room or sitting around on the back porch those rules don’t apply. So you’re not required to have any order to what you do. The other thing I particularly like is it’s not in real time. Sometimes we’ll rehearse a song and film the rehearsal and then we’ll play the song and film the performance and use the rehearsal as B-roll. And if we don’t like it we’ll do it again. So it’s freed of every performing restriction. It totally destroys the fourth wall.
I just sat with T-Bone (Wolk) and we went through my entire discography and said, “Here are the songs that we’re gonna pull out.” We have a lot of content, it’s an open ended show and who knows how long it’s gonna go on. I don’t want to just keep playing the obvious songs. We pulled out about 75 songs that we’re gonna start learning and playing on “Live From Daryl’s House” and “Head Above Water” is one of them. “I Love You Like a Brother” is another one we’re gonna do. “Halfway There” and “I Don’t Wanna Lose You” we may do as well. “Live from Daryl’s House” and the Hall & Oates shows allows me the freedom to play whatever we want; we’re not limited to playing “Kiss On My List” all of the time. We always wind up doing that but we get to do a lot of other stuff as well. We played the Troubadour in LA not long ago and we added “When the Morning Comes” and “Had I Known You Better Then” from Abandoned Luncheonette. We’d never played those songs live.
Tell us about some of the artists who have appeared on the show.
My first thought was I wanted to have guest on the show because I didn’t want this to be just me playing a bunch of songs. My first guest obviously was John (Oates). We did a Christmas album and I figured a Christmas show seemed like a real Hall and Oates kind of thing, lets’ get all around the tree and play. After that I wanted to start adding guests from the outside so Gym Class Heroes immediately came to mind to me. I’d been talking to Travis (McCoy); he called his tour “Daryl Hall for President” (laughs) so obviously he likes me. I asked him if he wanted to play on my show and he said yes. It’s interesting because every single person I’ve asked has said yes. That’s a pleasant surprise to me. We had a great time. He picked some songs, we rehearsed them and he really did a great job. You can see it in our faces. We were really excited. There was a lot of love there.