John Oates, formerly of Hall and Oates

john OatesHis title was inspired by Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. There is also the rock band. And of course weather itself is going viral, with the Weather Channel now doing dramatic plane crash and disaster programming. In Change of Seasons, John Oates shares his story for the first time, from his own motorcycle accident to meeting Andy Warhol at the Denver airport during a snowstorm. He takes listeners on a wild ride through all the eras, personalities, and music that has shaped him into what he is: the first true account of the band and his memories as half of a genius music duo, perfectly paired, whose iconic songs have universal appeal and will stand the test of time. Not that either of them ever wanted to be considered half of anything. They are individuals who have sometimes collaborated, and through highs and lows they forged ahead, together or separately. Rebels and individualists, John was a journalism major in college when he met Daryl, who studied music education. A swirl of people and circumstances, including ever changing commitments, led them to collaboration. What happened next was both happy coincidence and the result of hard work and talent. Narrated mostly by his co-writer Chris Epting, but also by John, the audiobook is a surprising and long-awaited peek into the lives of two who once sang the words “No Can Do,” recommended for anyone who loves the 80s era, how time changes people, and yet how friendships forged early grow stronger. Technology may have killed much of the old school, as lamented by Joe Walsh at Daryl’s House. (“It’s drum machines, and you can tell.”) Yet Daryl and John remain true to their long-standing belief that technology is something to embrace. And so, with innovative videos and tours sponsored for the first time ever by outside corporations, (including a highly publicized Lear jet race) they created whatever it took to “push the envelope,” and to “stay ahead of the curve,” with the ultimate desire to keep making music. Today “Hall & Oates” remain the biggest duo ever, unique, and possibly never repeated. Who knows? No one can predict where it’s all going. Interestingly, when I showed my copy of the audiobook (order HERE) in downtown Greenville SC as a test, I discovered that some young people (18-25) didn’t know who they were. But then Clark Gable never heard of William Faulkner. When they met, Gable said, “what kind of work are you in, Mr. Faulkner?” Funny, because Nobel Prize winner Faulkner was writing Gable’s screenplay! (Gable’s narcissism is also recounted in the James Garner biography.) It was never just about the fame, with Daryl or John, as it is in much of the music business today. It’s about having fun doing new stuff, not flaunting what you have or who you know. I heard from co-writer and narrator Chris Epting, who told me, My experience recording the audiobook was really very special. It’s the first time I haven’t voiced a book alone, and so that in and of itself made it special. What really stood out, after having written the book with John, was realizing that when you have to read a book aloud it takes on a new meaning. You begin to notice things that you missed while writing it. There are nuances and tonalities in John’s writing that really fully blossom once read aloud. He has a very poetic way of crafting a narrative and I think it reads wonderfully on the page. But when read aloud, it has a deeper gravity and inner beauty. He does the intro to the book, along with a piece at the end, and so he is well represented in the story. But in the end it’s the words that matter, I think, more than the actual Voice speaking those words. Working with John gave me a tremendous insight to how he presents himself and what his thought processes. I think that helped me bring a certain context to the audio that a hired actor would not have been able to achieve. That’s what happens when you work with somebody on their story. You spent hundreds of hours together and really climb inside their brain. It’s a very intimate process and I’m very proud of the book that resulted from this collaboration. Again, John is a tremendous writer and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to experience the audio portion of this project because it gave me an entirely new perspective, working on it the last two years.”


Yuja Wang on the “Dress Scandal”

Yuja Wang
Lady in Red/Orange plays Hollywood Bowl

Phenomenal pianist Yuja Wang has been called a sexy female version of Lang Lang, also from China (now living in New York) and possessed of a humble yet fun personality.  Along with her similar and extraordinary talent, she has been making waves in the classical music world, introducing many young people to serious music for the first time.  She appeared at the Hollywood Bowl to play Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Concerto wearing the dress above, causing criticism from some and praise from others.  What a gutsy move, to sweep away the perceived cobwebs of the general public with a bravura performance that drew raves for its exquisite musicianship.  The 3rd is one of the most difficult of concerti, yet she played it with ease and great feeling.  She appeared in the NY Times, and the quote that struck me was from a conductor who said, “You don’t need the world, Yuja, the world needs you.”  What a great compliment to a true artist with a rare dedication and sensitivity (minus the ego that is common in most pop performers.)  Yuja also said recently that she doesn’t want to approach the works of Bach and Brahms until she has more maturity, and something new to offer the interpretation.  Likewise, with the dresses she wears: “I won’t be wearing these in my 50s, so why not while I can?”  She is an individual who is expressing who she is, and is having fun while interpreting music with an soulful and unique passion complimented by an astonishing command of the instrument.  What more could you want to attract a new audience?  See my brief interview with Yuja HERE.  (With links to her albums.)

AstanovaHERE is my interview with Russian-American pianist Lola Astanova, which includes the subject of dress too. BTW, both Yuja and Lola have a great sense of humor, don’t you think? I’ve discovered that classical musicians and true artists are sensitive and kind by nature, (not divas at all) and the same can be said for the men too. Of course we are more limited in what we can wear!

classical music

Click on image above for interview with Sarah Chang.

Jonathan Lowe
Jonathan Lowe in Tucson. Author who loves classical music, jazz, and audiobooks.

For interview with Alain de Botton, click HERE. And please indy publishers by purchasing from links at It costs no more than shopping direct. Thank you. —JL)

Yuja Wang
Posted on Twitter. If you’re interested in fashion, click here.

Pianist Yuja Wang