‘I realized how fragile my time is’: John Oates talks about his increasing role in Hall and Oates

John Oates is playing more lead guitar than ever on the most recent Hall and Oates tours. He explains why: Oates says he came to the realization, sparked in part by the loss of long-time H&O sideman T-Bone Wolk, that everything could be taken away in the blink of an eye.

He says it all started, actually, with an injury — and some down time that made Oates appreciate his gift in new ways: “What happened was I started practicing. I had a shoulder operation three or four years ago,” Oates tells Rock Cellar. “That shoulder operation really was an eye-opener for me because I realized how fragile my time is. I realized if one thing goes wrong, I’m basically out of business. That had never occurred to me because I’d never had a major operation.”

Oates had also started spending time in Nashville, and he says being around musicians of that caliber spurred him forward, too. “When I recovered from that shoulder operation I began to practice and really take advantage of my skills,” Oates says. “This also all coincided with going to Nashville and playing with these amazing musicians and I realized the bar was set really high. All those things came together at the same time.”

Wolk, meanwhile, had been with Hall and Oates as a key sideman, co-producer and confidant since 1981’s Private Eyes. His loss in 2010 was both emotional and musical. “After T-Bone died, there was a void,” Oates said. “I thought, if anybody’s gonna fill this void it should be me, and so I kind of stepped up in a lot of ways.”

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  • MsFtz

    why not tell us about the TOUR? just sayin.