Are Hall and Oates yacht rockers?: ‘I don’t even know what that means’

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Like so much about the 1980s, John Oates is taking the term “yacht rock” in stride. Hall and Oates have, more recently, been lumped into this post-modern classification of music, loosely defined by the so-cal soft rock of 1976-84. Others who’ve found themselves carrying the tag include Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Steely Dan, Toto and Christopher Cross.

“I don’t even know what ‘yacht rock’ means,” Oates tells Jeff Moehlis of Music Illuminati. “As far as I’m concerned, I’ve never been on a yacht, I’ve never owned a yacht — so I don’t even know what that means. I’ve never worn a stupid hat like that. To me, it’s just kind of an ironic take on that music.”

Of course, as the Yacht Rock comedy series wryly notes, Hall and Oates’ Philly roots couldn’t have been more removed from the California aesthetic: The Oates character, wearing a comically large fake mustache and permed wig, is portrayed as a confrontational street tough.

And yes, Oates — who’s never one to take himself too seriously — has seen the series. He actually appreciates that kind of of satire, having already approved a cartoon series starring his famous facial hair, collaborated with the sidekick-focused comedy team of Garfunkel and Oates, and even appeared on stage with the sardonic Yacht Rock Revue.

“You know, I met those guys, I met the yacht rock band. What I liked about them — in a way I think a lot of people think they’re mocking that era, but really they’re paying tribute to that era in kind of a young, ironic, generational way,” Oates says. “I don’t know, the way I look at it, there’s a million famous people out there that people could copy, and they pick you, so I guess it means you’re more popular that someone else.”

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