Speaking from his home outside of Aspen, Oates credits Yacht Rock for rekindling interest in his band and lowering the overall age of Hall & Oates' fan demographic. "I think Yacht Rock was the beginning of this whole Hall & Oates resurrection," he says. "They were the first ones to start to parody us and put us out there again and a lot of things have happened because of Yacht Rock." The after-effects include a Georgia woman's college film all about Oates' mustache (sent to the singer/guitarist's home), a London DJ named "Father Oates" who takes "disco confessions" at a popular '80s club; and a busty blonde named "chloeisreagan" lip-syncing "Maneater" on YouTube for more than 548,000 viewers. And musically, it means that the time is ripe for a Hall & Oates mashup album the first of which is in the works from Gym Class Heroes. The indie hip-hop act has already toured under the banner "Daryl Hall for President," and more recently connected with underground Brooklyn producer J.J. Brown and his engineer partner Dan "The Deacon" Maier, known for merging Ludacris vocals with Jackson 5 samples. (You can peep their Re-Release Therapy at www.5gproductions.com).
At the request of Gym Class Heroes frontman Travis McCoy and with Hall & Oates' blessing Brown and Maier hunkered down in the studio for weeks, emerging with a light-as-pastry compilation that combines H&O instrumentals with the vocals from As Cruel as School Children, the Heroes' Billboard-annihilating latest effort. The a cappella version of Gym Class Heroes' "Clothes Off!", for example, rests atop melodies from "Out of Touch" and "Family Man" and percussion samples borrowed from "Crime Pays" and "Missed Opportunities." The disc will be the B-side of a Gym Class Heroes live DVD, and will likely come out in the fall, Brown speculates. (Gym Class Heroes were recently touring in Australia and unavailable for comment.)
Oates calls the final product "the most unique steps I've heard coming out of hip hop in quite a while," and says he'll give permission to anyone to use his music, so long as the intentions are good. "Once you make a record, it's out to the world. Who cares?" Oates says. "For the most part people are really creative and they do some interesting stuff. If I heard something crappy, I wouldn't be happy about it. But otherwise, why not let it happen? We already did what we did."
Loyalists are also encouraged to reinterpret Hall & Oates videos, as the band hosts a contest featuring both the sincere and the satirists on its Web site. Our favorite, of course, is "Video 23," featuring a bunch of college-looking kids goofing around in cheap wigs to "You Make My Dreams." There's just something inherently entertaining in the wiggle of the guitarist's Oates-ian lip duster.