How John Oates Escaped the Trap of Rock Star Excess
John Oates of Hall & Oates admitted the trappings of rock ’n’ roll excess took their toll on his life in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and said that suffering a financial disaster was one of the best things that ever happened to him.
Before that, he’d indulged in so many sexual encounters that he had no idea how many women he slept with in the era.
“I’m sure it was thousands, I’ve lost track,” Oates, 71, told Page Six in a new interview, adding: “If you didn’t live through the ‘70s and ‘80s, if you weren’t a rock star during that time, there’s no way you can comprehend what it was like. There were no cell phones and people taking pictures of everything you did. There was no social media. It was much more innocent… I used to meet girls in various towns and sort of have a relationship. I might see them and then see them six months later.”
Meanwhile, he said, he and Daryl Hall avoided any problems with “ubiquitous” cocaine because they’d found that it wasn’t for them. “Both Daryl and I knew that we were going to be musicians for the rest of our lives and the only way for us to be musicians for the rest of our lives was to keep our shit together,” he reported.
Disaster struck when he found himself “cash poor” despite owning a string of properties, an airplane and a collection of vintage cars. He accepted it was “embarrassing” but that he’d been “swept up in being a pop star” at the time and it had been “too easy to party.”
He described the subsequent financial adjustment as a “blessing in disguise,” noting: “If I had stayed with the accoutrements and just continued to live that lifestyle, who knows where I would be.” His new start included shaving off his famous mustache, which he called a “ceremonial” moment. “I didn’t want to be that ‘80s guy with the giant mustache… I became someone else.”