- Host Daryl Hall with 'house' guest Sharon Jones.
Finally! Something worth watching on New Year's Eve.
I'm talking about Live From Daryl's House, a compilation of music from the Internet show produced for the past three years by Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates. (www.livefromdarylshouse.com).
Once a month, a musician or group comes to Hall's house, located 90 miles from New York City on the New York-Connecticut border, for a day. Sharon Jones, Smokey Robinson, Todd Rundgren, Train and Toots and the Maytals are some of the people who've dropped by to perform, chat and eat.
The New Year's Eve show will be two hours from the shows produced so far.
"I won't call it a 'Best Of,'" Hall said in a phone interview, "but it's a taste of what 38 shows have created."
Here's more of what he had to say.
NUVO: How does a typical show work?
Hall: A typical show is booked in advance, which can be problematic because everybody's schedule is tight. My schedule is tight, the artists' schedules are always tight. Usually, the people we get – not always – are touring in the general vicinity. I'm 90 miles from New York City, so people that are somewhere between New York and Boston, they'll make an exception. You have to really want to come here to come here. The enthusiasm, I think, is what draws people here. And the desire to participate in the show. Getting people to say "Yes, I want to be on your show," has been quite easy. Getting people to say, "I can do it on this day if my schedule permits it," that's a little harder.
NUVO: Tell me about the deal with WGN. How did this happen?
Hall: This show is an Internet show in heart and soul. My whole idea was that it was going to be an alternative to television because I believe in the future of entertainment – even passive entertainment. Television is always going to be there, but it's in transition. I made some overtures to television and got the typical what I call "old-head" response. They said, "You have to have a beginning and an end to the show and why don't we make a contest," – and all this other bull fucking shit. And I just basically laughed at them and walked away. And I'm not even sure – I think they contacted me – and one of the people from Tribune Broadcasting is a fan of the show. He said, "This belongs on our stations and we want you to be involved with Tribune." So the first one is their flagship station, WGN. Opening Day is New Year's Eve. I decided to do a compilation – I figure that's the best way to present what we do.
NUVO: Do you have favorite shows?
Hall: I won't call them favorites. I have things I would call my favorite things. There are moments. If I have a favorite moment, it's when I got Smokey Robinson to sing a song he didn't feel like singing. That's such a magical moment.
NUVO: Was it your powers of persuasion? What did you do to get Smokey to sing?
Hall: It's a lot of things. It's the fact that I know Smokey and I just said, "Come on, come on, come on, come on." You'll see it on the show.
NUVO: The Internet show will continue, obviously. What do you have coming up in the next year?
Hall: I don't know because I don't book that far ahead. I am going to do another one with my friend Todd Rundgren. And I'm going to go to his house. That'll be something different. He lives in Kauai, which is a wonderful little vacation. So we're going to do one there. I'm not sure when it's going to be aired. I believe it's April or May. The show we did yesterday (in early December) is coming out in January. That's with Guster. That's Jan. 15 to Feb. 15.
NUVO: Tell me a little more about the business model for this. Do you finance this yourself?
Hall: I started by financing this myself and, truthfully, I couldn't have continued it. I got it started, but I was very, very lucky to find someone who was a fan of mine, a supporter of mine, who has the finances to underwrite this. That's really what's kept it alive.
NUVO: I'm looking at the production and this looks like television.
Hall: Oh, yeah, this is not a cheap thing to do.
NUVO: You came along in the '70s. Could you envision that this is the way your career would go – that you'd be hosting a show out of your house?
Hall: I can't imagine, no. There's no way I could have ever imagined it was going to go this route because the world has changed so much in the course of my career. I've never thought long term, other than that I was a lifer, that I was a person who does this for life. This is what I am. I'm a hardcore musician. But I never had a master plan. I just took things as they went – and continue to do that. That allows me to keep my mind open to opportunity. And I'm a conceptualist, so I see things as they could be and I see the big picture and I run with it.
NUVO: It's amazing when you think about it because there was really no role model for you. When you came along in music, who knew you could go on into your 50s, 60s, 70s?
Hall: You know, it's funny – this subject just came up because I was talking about this with my wife this morning. We had just watched a show last night on PBS about Paris in the early '20s. The reason I'm bringing this up is, this whole concept of this career arc and this idea of bohemian artists and artists who win through suffering and all these ideas that we have taken for granted as being "artistic" – it's a 20th-century construct. We're in the 21st century and it has died the death. There are still people who think it's alive and don't even realize it. But we live in a different century now, and all those rules, all those assumptions, are all gone. So I don't think anybody can assume anything about the arts – about what the possibilities are, about anything. It's all up for grabs now.
NUVO: That's a perfect segue for my last question: What if Hall & Oates came along today? What would you be? Could you have the same kind of career?
Hall: I have no clue because I don't know if there would have been a Hall & Oates. It may be just me doing what I do and John doing what he does. I don't know if we would have had any need to come together. We came together out of convenience and the fact that we shared an apartment and we were teenage friends. But I don't know. That's a what-if I couldn't even begin to think about.