WATCH: Pop legend John Oates is "recapturing the magic" of his roots

Salon talks to Oates about his memoir "Change of Seasons," his folk roots and influencing a new generation

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published March 28, 2017 4:00PM (EDT)

You no doubt best know Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member John Oates for the enduring string of pop hits he and his musical partner Daryl Hall have been performing together for more than 45 years. But while the duo will  be playing the classics again on tour this summer, Oates has also been working on new material, both as a musician and the author of the recent memoir "Change of Seasons." It's both an intensely personal story and a tour of five decades of music history, with cameos from figures ranging from Mick Jagger to Hunter S. Thompson.

Speaking with Salon recently, Oates recalled his early Philadelphia days and the influence of the local folk scene on his sound. "I have a connection and I'm a link to that tradition," he said. "Over the years that tradition got absorbed by the pop music that Daryl and I went on to create. Now I'm recapturing the magic of those days, and my current music is more of a reflection of those early folk roots."

Oates, who lives in Nashville, also discussed his link not just to the tradition he comes from but to the generation of musicians he continues to influence. "I am very proud of that," he said. "That is the continuum. You learn from the people you respect, you try to emulate them; you hopefully create something original. And from that originality, as time goes on, perhaps there's a generation who then does the exact same thing. It's an essential part of the way music evolves artistically."

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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