When people think of John Oates, it’s generally as in “Hall & Oates,” and he’s not surprised. His new album, 1,000 Miles of Life, is only his second solo album. The co-writer of Maneater, She’s Gone, Sara Smile, Every Time You Go Away and other Hall & Oates hits has been prioritizing his life, whether it was moving to Colorado years ago or raising his family. Besides promoting his solo album (and its slew of guest artists, such as Bela Fleck), Oates is setting up a trio of songwriter workshops at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen for next year with himself, Tift Merritt and other writers playing songs and telling the stories behind them. He stopped in at the Rocky last week to talk with pop music writer Mark Brown about music and life – and to play some as well.
How did you come to live in Colorado after growing up near Philadelphia?
I came out here in the ’60s. I was at Temple University, in Philadelphia, and there was a ski trip on the bulletin board. It was $125 for airfare, a week of skiing in Aspen and hotel. I said, “You can’t beat that.” So I talked some guy I knew into going skiing with me. I’d been a skier and always wanted to go out West. Next thing I knew I found myself in Aspen in the ’60s. In the late ’70s, I got back into skiing. A friend of mine from New York had a house up there that I could use any time I wanted. In the ’80s, I bought a condo and began to come out on a regular basis. About ’88, I said: “You know what? I gotta live here.” Changed my life, moved out to Colorado. Best thing I ever did