The Rolling Stone Blog

Daryl Hall Finds Happiness in a ‘Very F-ed Up World’

The Rolling Stone Blog

Daryl Hall's new album, Laughing Down Crying, is aptly titled. He's enjoying a career renaissance from his Internet series, Live From Daryl's House,
happily married with a family, and finally getting the pop icon
treatment for his work as half of one of the biggest duos of all time,
Hall & Oates. (Plus, he celebrates his 65th birthday today.)

As a musician you've had incredible success, but doing an
Internet show is a whole different world. How gratifying has the
response to the show been - and the fact it's being syndicated?
That
is an amazing thing, I had no idea. The whole point of the Internet, to
me, is it demands a lack of pretension, no bulls**t. And I wanted to
convey an experience that maybe for the first time, on a large scale,
had never been done. It shows what musicians do hanging out together,
with nobody watching, normally, and the stories they tell and the way
they relate to each other when they're not trying to prove anything. And
now of course I'm taking this Internet show to television, so let's see
how people relate to it when it's on a bigger screen.

Who is your dream guest on the show?
I'm not
really sure. I think it would be interesting to have Bob Dylan on
because I think that he would be fun, we sort of know each other and I
think it would be a really unusual circumstance. So I'll just say him.
If Bob reads this, come on the show.

The Web definitely allows you to communicate more directly with fans. Do people feel like they know you better from Daryl's House?
I
have to be more approachable now. They see me sitting in the kitchen
eating and stuff, so yeah, without a doubt. It's sort of important to me
after all these years to be seen as I really am. I think there's been a
lot of people with misconceptions, about what I am or what my
motivations are, people that don't really know me. And I think it's sort
of gratifying to have people see me sort of like a friend, because when
you're in somebody's kitchen, whether you're watching it as an audience
or you're actually there, you start feeling that sort of family kind of
thing.

You're married now with a family. Are you more comfortable with putting yourself out there?
I've
always been a person who was not afraid to put myself into my songs,
but having said that, yes, I'm more comfortable in my own skin now. I
think that's part of maturing. You start learning more about life and
what matters and what doesn't matter and the important things and it
definitely affects any artist and grounds you in a different way. So
yeah there's no question about it.

Was there anything that emerged in the writing of the new album that surprised you? 
I
did find there was a certain coalescence of thought that happened with
the way I really felt about a lot of things that more than ever, I
think, made it easy for me to say. The lyrics came extremely quickly and
I felt very focused in what I was saying and what I had to say. There
wasn't a lot of flailing around in the writing process. So I think there
was a difference there than a lot of my past work.

Was there a central theme in that coalescence of thought?
That I'm happy in a very f**ked up world.

Can you talk about the passing of T-Bone Wolk, who was your best friend?
That
was the one mar to my happiness. But again, when something that extreme
happens, it's a goad to you to be real. This record was created in the
midst of extreme emotions; literally the death of T-Bone in the first
week of making this record. And then there was the regrouping of the
force and trying to figure out where I was gonna go, if I was gonna
finish this record, who I was gonna use, who was ever gonna be able to
take T-Bone's place as a musician in the project. I found who my friends
were musically and who had my back. 

How long did it take before you realized that you were going to go forward with the album?
I
knew I was gonna finish it, I just didn't know how. There was no way I
was gonna stop, T-Bone would've hated that idea. So I made some calls
and one of the first people I called was the guitar player Paul Pesco,
who was in my band with T-Bone for a long time. He was aware of what had
happened and I said, "Paul, do you want to come in here and help me
with this?" And he said, "I'm doing something, but I'm stopping that
right now tomorrow." And he literally was in Indonesia and he left
Indonesia and was at my door step in about two days. The song "A Message
To You" was a song we wrote together. He came in with that guitar lick,
which was a very sort of happy guitar lick and he sort of broke the
ice. He didn't just come in saying, "Okay, what do you want to do now?"
He came in saying, "Okay, let's take this." I really owe him a lot for
the way he treated this whole situation, sad as it was.

Are there any Hall & Oates songs that you have a new appreciation for?
Last
year when I put together the Hall & Oates box set it gave me an
opportunity to be objective about what I'd done with John over all those
years. And it gave me a new appreciation for a number of songs that I
had forgotten or didn't realize how much I liked them, and not
necessarily ones that the whole world was that familiar with. So I got a
lot of that. I came into this project with sort of that knowledge of
what it is I do on my own and what I do with John, what we had done
together and used that as a jumping off point. And I look at Laughing Down Crying
stylistically as the box set of my mind because it was really taking
all the styles of my development musically from the very beginning, when
I was in my teens right up until now.

 

Photo by Todd Williamson/WireImage

View Comments