John Oates, lead guitarist and backing vocalist of the legendary duo Hall & Oates, has a simple answer for why he and his partner are found on so many charity concert bills.
If we can play music and entertain people, and some of the benefit of that goes toward a worthy cause, whats wrong with that? he asks. I think its a wonderful thing. We get paid very well for what we do, and this is an opportunity to give back. I think if you are successful its your responsibility to give back in any way you can.
And that spirit of giving has led to the duo headlining this years spring concert benefit for local charity organization Band Together. The Triangle-based charity group, which uses live music as its main platform for social change, will be hosting this years concert at Walnut Creek Saturday night The show, which also features funk and soul act Robert Randolph & the Family Band and local rockers Jack the Radio, benefits the Communities in Schools networks for Wake County and Durham.
This will be the first stop in the Triangle for Hall & Oates since being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April. Although many bands would see this as a way to signify their place in music history, Oates makes it clear that he and his partner had long ago stopped worrying about such things.
That was just something we were never really that concerned with, he says with a laugh. I believe it was something that the fans were more concerned with than we were. We always just thought that if the day comes where we were inducted, it would be great and wed be happy about it, and it finally happened this year. It meant a lot more to my parents, to be quite honest.
One reason for Oates underwhelming reaction toward the news of the induction is the fact that Hall voters had passed the duo over multiple times. It was only in recent years that new inductees, who are allowed to vote and campaign for their favorite candidates, began to rally around the legendary pop-soul duo.
Thats the whole problem with the entire concept of the Hall of Fame, Oates says. I really dont want to get too deep into it here, since its a thing of the past at this point, but there have been so many great musicians who have had a impact on American music that there is no way that it can all be put under one roof. ... Roots music and R&B are two areas that just havent been represented in general.
Representing different styles of music is very important to both members of the duo. Ever since first performing together in multiple bands at Temple University, theyve striven to be considered more than the term that has followed them throughout their careers: blue-eyed soul.
We always hoped that our music crossed between any race, or skin color or creed, Oates says. I always thought of our music as just soul music, but I think there are lots of artists that I would classify as that. When I hear Bill Monroe, thats soul music to me; when I hear Guns n Roses, thats soul music to me. All soul music is about is being real and speaking from the heart; thats it. It doesnt have a musical style. So I never cared for the term blue-eyed soul, but someone somewhere needed to make a category for us, so thats all it was.
Hall & Oates will fill the amphitheater with fans Saturday night, but those fans wont be limited to just audience members. George Hage, multi-instrumentalist for the nights opening band Jack the Radio, says his band is as excited about the nights events as the ticket-buyers.
Weve all been fans of the guys and their songwriting, Hage says. And even though our musical styles have differences, there is a pop sensibility and take on melody and harmony that we completely connect with.
The Band Together concert is a huge opportunity for Jack the Radio, a Raleigh-based Southern-indie rock band. While theyve grown a sizable army of fans locally by playing gigs around the area, the band mates realize the impact this event could have on their careers.
Weve been playing regionally for over four years, Hage says. And on May 3rd weve got the opportunity to play one of the biggest stages in the area with newly inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Famers.