John Oates was keeping busy in the ‘70s — and it wasn’t just with music.
“I’m sure it was thousands,” the 71-year-old admitted to the outlet. “I’ve lost track.”
“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,” he continued. “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.”
Oates also said he never had a drug problem during those decades despite cocaine being the preferred choice for artists.
Portrait of American musicians Darryl Hall (left) and John Oates at the Whitehall Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, November 5, 1981.
(Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
“Coke was ubiquitous,” he said. “Daryl [Hall] and I never had our issues with it because we never did it. I tried it back in the Studio 54 days and it made me feel so uncomfortable that I couldn’t do it. It just wasn’t my thing.”
“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 s—t together,” added Oates.
However, the band did suffer from one thing — money mismanagement. According to the outlet, Oates had homes in New York City, Connecticut and Aspen, as well as an airplane and a garage full of vintage cars. However, he was penniless.
“It’s embarrassing to me to realize now that I should have been more aware and knowledgeable of what was going on but I was swept up in being a pop star,” said Oates. “It was too easy to party, to play my music.”
Oates went on to sell everything, except his condo in Aspen. It was there where the musician chose to give himself a fresh start. He even went on to shave his famous mustache.
“[It felt like] shedding my skin metaphorically,” he explained. “I wanted to be a different person. I didn’t want to be that ‘80s guy with the giant mustache and it was more of a ceremonial shaving. I shaved it off, it was gone. I became someone else.”
In 1994, Oates married floral designer Aimee Oates. They welcomed a son named Tanner in 1996.
As for Hall & Oates, they are performing at New York City’s Madison Square Garden on Feb. 28.
Today, Oates said his past financial hardships were important lessons he had to learn as part of his growth.
“It changed everything,” he said. “If I had stayed with all the accouterments and just continued to live that lifestyle, who knows where I would be. So, in the end, it was a blessing in disguise.”