Eliot Lewis has been the keyboardist in the Hall & Oates band since 2004 as well as on Live From Daryl’s House Internet TV show! LFDH recently won the Webby Award for People’s Choice for Best Music Show! Eliot has a new solo album out called “Adventure” and is hitting the road with one of the biggest summer tours, Daryl Hall & John Oates w/Tears for Fears! He is taking time to give us an interview! Congrats on the upcoming tour and the Webby Award for LFDH!
1. What is different that the fans can expect from this tour from H&O and the band?
E: Well actually quite a lot especially compared to the recent tours we’ve been doing. For starters, they’re bringing back a few songs that were hits but haven’t been in the show for a long time and one of my personal favorites. There will be some more dynamic moments to the show where Daryl does one or two things mostly by himself. They’ve also put in a slightly more obscure song from the War Babies album that’s really different with a lot of different textures. In fact, I’m doing a little synth solo in it, so that will be a lot of fun. You will also hear some different background vocal parts that weren’t there before. So all in all the new show’s got a different vibe and I think their fans will really enjoy it.
2. Last year’s tour with the late Sharon Jones was amazing, Tell us a bit about working with her and impression she left on you.
Touring with Sharon Jones was an amazing and somewhat emotional experience. Obviously we all knew what she was going through with her battle with cancer, but I can’t imagine being around anyone who handled it with as much courage as she did. As much as some days were obviously a struggle for her, when she hit the stage you would never know it, she gave everything to her audience and did what she loved which was incredibly inspiring to witness.
3. What has it been like since 2004 when you came into H&O and how has it changed for you?
In 2004 I had come off the road for two years after being with The Average White Band for 13 years. When I started with H&O all of a sudden I was playing these really huge shows with my old band AWB opening up the show. It was very exciting time and of course I love their music. So really in some ways not too much has changed. Of course the band has changed some over the 13 years but I can’t say enough about how great this band is. Of course it’s nice to know how happy Daryl and John seem to be with the current band. The one thing that has changed, is their popularity seems to be even greater then it was, and it was already great.Last year we played Madison Square Garden which I can’t convey how important that was to me having seen so many of my heroes there when I was a kid and dreamed of being on that stage someday. Also there’s no doubt that Daryl’s show, Live From Daryl’s House has really brought their music to a whole new and younger generation.
4. What is your favorite H&O song to play?
Probably “She’s Gone” because it was the first H&O song I ever heard and is still an amazing timeless song.
5. As musicians, how are Daryl and John different to work with?
You know I would say as different as they are as people, the way they work is not that much different and that’s probably why they have lasted so long. They are both consummate musicians with a great attention to detail, especially with vocals and harmonies.
6. You are doing some double duty on this tour with some solo dates in various cities supporting your album “Adventure”. A great chance for fans to meet you! Is it tough to keep up doing both?
Yes I am doing even more solo shows along-side their tour than I normally do. One of the reasons is there is always a day off or a travel day between their shows, so if the distance isn’t too far then I’ll book one of my own. It is a LOT of work but I had this crazy idea,(Lol) when I was a kid that I didn’t want to be a just a musician but be a songwriter and artist as well. It’s definitely a challenge being a member of a band and having my own separate solo career but honestly I love it so much, playing and connecting with people is something I don’t think I could ever give up. Also, yes I am promoting my new release, “Adventure” but I’d be doing the same even if I didn’t have anything to promote..I do think the band and even John and Daryl might think I’m a little crazy to try and do all this!Lol.
7. Going back in time, how did you end up in the Average White Band and then to H&O?
Well,at that point in the mid to late eighties I had just signed my first publishing deal with Sony and needed some songwriting partners to collaborate with, so my brother who had booked AWB in the early 80’s put me and Alan Gorrie in touch and we hit it off right away and started to write many songs together. That quickly led into being a member and touring with them. Alan and Daryl had been friends since the 70’s and Daryl would come see us perform several times and eventually asked if I wanted to join H&O. It took a few more years since I was still in AWB but it eventually worked out.
8. Beatles or Stones? (Stole this from Sammy Hagar!lol)
9. Who is your favorite musician that influenced you the most growing up?
There were many but two people really fascinated me, they were Todd Rundgren and Stevie Wonder mainly because my older brother who turned me onto them told me they played, wrote and recorded everything themselves. I think that’s where I got my desire to be a multi-instrumentalist from. Musically though I really gravitated to more of the rock stuff, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, etc in the early 70’s.
10. What’s up with LFDH? Are there new episodes coming up?
There’s much more to come, It’s probably no secret that Daryl had to take a little time off to recover from some minor throat issue he had. So episodes were put on hold and from what I hear there are some big plans in the works for later in the year for LFDH. It’s an amazing show and I’m so proud to be a part of it since the very beginning and to see how popular it’s become.
11. Your photography is awesome and my favorite is your photo at the iconic Red Rocks in Denver. What camera do you shoot with and what has been the most interesting place to shoot in your travels?
Thanks for those kind words. I’ve been into photography since I was about 18 yrs old. When I joined H&O, Daryl saw some of my black & whites and asked me to shoot them for some of their press shots which also led to them using my shot for their “Our Kind Of Soul’ CD and on a few of their solo releases. The camera usually comes out when I’m traveling though and I love to walk all over cities to shoot while on tour. I think one of my favorite places to shoot is Japan, but there’s a good photo in almost anything and anywhere. I’ve gone through a lot of cameras but my current is a Sony RX10 MKII with a Zeiss lens and a smaller Ricoh GR.
12. Since you are touring with Tears for Fears, what is your fav tune by them?
I’d have to go with “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”
13. Allen Stone is opening the tour and has been on LFDH, what is he like?
Allen is just an incredible soul singer. He has a very kind of hippie and happy go lucky quality to his personality. Lol He’s a very upbeat person with great energy, we all love him and it will great to see him again.
14. What was the inspiration for the songs on your new CD “Adventure”?
Well “Adventure” is really about accepting what comes next… because we really never know what’s coming next in life, so I always just try and treat it as if it were an Adventure. Some of the songs are brand new for this CD and a few were already released on a previous EP. When I got signed to this record label, SRG, which is distributed through Universal Music we sort of took the best and put this CD together and also added a vintage Bad Company song because they thought my music has a similar vibe which I loved. Most all the songs are really about actual life experiences.
Have a great tour and we will see you on the road starting Thursday, May 4th! The tour will make a stop in Orlando at the Amway Arena on June 9th! Tour information at www.hallandoates.com Be sure to check out Eliot’s website for his solo tour dates and photography, www.eliotlewis.com
photos by Vicky Sullivan / Rock the Lens Photography