Above: Hall & Oates – Photo by Stuart Berg
With enough multiplatinum albums to tile Versailles, you’d think Daryl Hall, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer with the smoothest voice this side of Marvin Gaye might take a break. He certainly has earned the right. “Rich Girl,” “Maneater,” “Kiss on My List,” “Private Eyes,” “Out of Touch” and countless more of his eighties anthems have transcended generations, bumping Hall & Oates into a category no one can touch: top-selling duo in history.
But if you think the laid-back superstar is resting on his laurels, you don’t know Daryl. With fly-by-the-seat-of-his-jeans fearlessness and Philly soul, Daryl made it his mission to bring free, live music to the masses. His monthly webcast, “Live From Daryl’s House,” hatched a little over a decade ago, features spontaneous jam sessions with fellow artists from CeeLo Green to Rob Thomas, Wyclef Jean to the O’Jays. It has since become a Webby-winning, web-to-cable series filmed in a crowd-pleasing restaurant and club that showcases live acts Wednesdays through Sundays (think: Kiefer Sutherland Band and Howard Jones).
We caught up with Daryl about his rockin’ home away from home as he preps for Hall & Oates’ North American tour with Train, which includes a stop at Madison Square Garden on June 14. All we can say is, we can go for that (yes can do).
GM: HOW DID “LIVE FROM DARYL’S HOUSE” EVOLVE?
About twelve years ago, I realized the Internet was at a certain place where you could watch a show as entertainment, and that was kind of a novel concept back then. It also allowed me to be as free as I wanted to be. I just started calling musicians I knew, saying, “Why don’t we do a show, come over to my house, let’s play and see what happens.” There is no rehearsal. We learn the songs separately at home and then we play them for the first time with the artist. So what you’re seeing is really the first time. It just worked. Then I thought, Well, if we’re going to do all that, we have to have some food.
GM: THAT EXPLAINS THE RESTAURANT…WHAT ABOUT THE CLUB?
People would say, ‘Oh man, I wish I could come to Daryl’s House and see your show.’ The point of the show is that there is no audience, at least not in the room. So I thought, Why don’t we do a club? We can duplicate the feeling of Daryl’s House in a club environment. I knew about a club near where I live in Pawling, New York, and I managed to get it and redesign it so it would feel the same way as the TV show. It’s not always me on the stage, but whoever is up there has the feeling they’re playing at Daryl’s House. I think the club environment is the best place to hear music because you either have new people that are just giving it all up—man, they’re hungry—and you combine that with veterans who have been doing it so long they don’t have to prove anything to anybody. And that is a fantastic combination of acts to have. That’s why I love clubs, and I want to open more.
GM: DO YOU MAKE SURPRISE APPEARANCES AT DARYL’S HOUSE WHEN YOU’RE NOT TOURING?
Absolutely. I’m in and out of town all the time, but when it coordinates where it’s someone I know or want to be onstage with, I’m there. Sometimes I just spontaneously jump onstage. I get excited.
GM: YOU DON’T JUST LOVE TO SING, YOU ALSO LOVE TO COOK. HOW MUCH DID FOOD PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR LIFE GROWING UP?
I grew up in southeast Pennsylvania outside of Philadelphia. My family is a very old family, they go back to the beginning of the eighteenth century on both sides, and I’m very much a part of that culture. I know all there is to know about Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. I have memories of my great grandparents cooking in a very traditional Pennsylvania way. I still eat scrapple. I like all of that stuff that makes people look at me sideways and cross-eyed—but I eat it anyway.
GM: HAVE ANY PENNSYLVANIA RECIPES MADE IT TO THE DARYL’S HOUSE MENU?
I’ve lived in Europe and traveled all over the world, so my taste has changed. I’m quite into Moroccan food, because I like the fact that it’s spicy but not particularly hot. So I have a lamb tagine that I put on the menu and people really seem to like it. My sister has some items, and my brother-in-law, so I have family dishes on the menu, but not necessarily Pennsylvania family.
GM: HOW DO YOUR MUSICAL GUESTS WORK THEIR WAY ONTO THE MENU, LIKE YOUR CHICKEN Á LA JOE WALSH?
That one was a dish that someone cooked on the show, and Joe was involved in it because he likes to cook. John Rzeznik [of the Goo Goo Dolls], he’s from Buffalo, New York, so he cooked an original recipe of Buffalo chicken wings on the show that we put on the menu.
GM: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SONG TO SING IN CONCERT?
I get off on different things on different nights. I play “Sarah Smile” on the grand piano, and I’m having a good time doing that. I play a portion of our concert on the grand, and it changes things up a bit.
GM: “PHILLY FORGET ME NOT,” WHICH YOU COWROTE WITH TRAIN, MARKS HALL & OATES’ FIRST SINGLE IN FIFTEEN YEARS. WHAT WAS ITS GENESIS?
Like many things, it wasn’t planned. Pat [Monahan] was on the show, and we kept in contact, and when we asked him to join our tour, he said let’s write a song together. It was a simple and easy collaboration. I’m happy we did it.
GM: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO BE A ROCK ICON FOR NEARLY A HALF CENTURY?
It makes me feel good in all the right ways as an artist and a s a person. I go all over the world, and what I do has allowed me to feel like the whole world is my neighborhood. I’m just very grateful that I have the ability, the talent and everything else to be able to do this, y’know. It’s an interesting life I’ve lived.
Wednesday–Friday: 3:30 p.m.–close
Saturday–Sunday: 11 a.m.–close