Eliot Lewis is the current keyboardist in Hall & Oates. You may also know him from that little show called Live From Daryl’s House. He was also a member of The Average White Band. What you may not know is he also has a rapidly growing solo career. Those who attended the Bee Garten in Medina, NY found out first hand how talented Lewis is. Lewis played a solo show at the venue on July 22.
The show began with a small Q & A session as Lewis talked about many things. Prior to the show, fans were able to fill out cards to ask questions of Lewis and the best ones were chosen.
Lewis then started off his first set (he played two) with an appropriate cover “Hello It’s Me” (Todd Rundgren). He proceeded to mix in solo songs such as “Adventure” and “Enjoy The Ride” both of which went over well with the small but appreciative crowd.
We conducted an interview with Eliot following the show. Check it out below
Set One: Hello It’s Me (Todd Rundgren cover), Never Tell Me, Determination, Adventure, Sonic Soldier, Sara Smile (Hall & Oates cover), Road Worn, Enjoy The Ride, Rocky Mountain Way (Joe Walsh cover), Crusade, History, Pick Up The Pieces (Average White Band cover).
Set Two: Soundtrack, Galaxy Quest, Back To Basics, Kashmir (Led Zep cover), Evolution, I Can’t Go For That (Hall & Oates cover), La Grange (ZZ Top cover).
Rock Show Critique: How many Hall & Oates shows do you do a year?
Eliot Lewis: I would say it works out 60-70 shows. They do about three or four a week tops, then you multiply that by days off so we’re probably out 100-120 days a year. On my own pretty much the same. So almost double that number for show performances for my own career.
RSC: So you do about the same number?
EL: Yeah same number.
RSC: How did Live from Daryl’s House all come about? Whose idea was it and how did you become involved in it?
EL: Well that’s easy. It was Daryl’s idea. I remember being on a plane with him actually one time, it just so happen him and I were on a plane together with nobody else. I would take his charter with him and I asked him what’s going on. He said I got this idea, I wanna do some performances from my home instead of having to go out on tour. I wanna bring some people to me and do these casual performances in my home. So it started very very small and then we just filmed it. It was on the internet for a couple of years and it kind of grew and the Palladia channel eventually picked it up and the rest is history. So I became a part of it because I was in the band. So really by default.
RSC: So with your schedule how often do you get to go out and catch live music?
EL: Not a lot. It’s a good thing and a bad thing. I’m fortunate that I have so much going on in my career. Essentially I have the three things, Hall & Oates, Live from Daryl’s House and my own career. I’m lucky that I have the opportunity to play as often as I do. So I don’t get a chance to see a lot of stuff when I’m not doing that unfortunately. The most exposure i get to different music is when I’m working with someone on the show. We scheduled a day off to go see Todd Rundgren on my last tour so it happens once in a while.
RSC: You are a multi-instrumentalist. But if you could only play one instrument what would it be and why?
EL: Guitar without any hesitation. It’s the instrument I gravitate to more than anything else. I still play drums and I play bass when I record my music. But if I had to pick one it would be guitar. To me it covers everything, rhythm, it covers melody and I write on it. In Hall & Oates it’s mainly organ.
RSC: What instrument did you learn first?
EL: I went from the drums to guitar then to bass for a little while, then eventually to keyboards. I’ve been playing guitar along the whole way. That’s always been a mainstay for me.
RSC: You talk about your influences, it seems you have a good variety and they aren’t based on one genre. What current artists interest you today?
EL: I have favorites for different things. From my guitar side I like artists like Joe Bonamassa, I think he is fantastic. There’s another guy who’s maybe not quite as well known as him, his name is Johnny A. Some fantastic guitarist instrumentalist and I’ve open for him. He’s really great. There’s a whole bunch of people out there like Grace Potter and bands like Train I think are amazing. But more than usual I usually resort to my earlier influences. But there are a lot of great people out now.
RSC: What are your plans for the rest of the year?
EL: More of everything I’m doing. I’m starting the Hall & Oates tour tomorrow night. That’s gonna last for about eleven days. Then we go home and I’m right back on the road myself. I have a whole midwest tour that starts up August 6th. We start in Indiana and I open for the band Boston. I have about eleven shows myself and then come back and do another Hall & Oates run. In the fall I think we’re gonna start up Live from Daryl’s House again. So around October we start shooting new episodes for that. I’ve got a brand new EP I’m gonna put out in about five weeks called Evolution.
RSC: Do you find that is the way to go by releasing EP’s as opposed to full length?
EL: It’s working for me because I wanted to put out music more frequently than waiting a year, year and a half and putting out a full length CD. This way the people that are interested in my music can get something more frequently. I don’t think there are any rules anymore. Obviously things are going in a different direction with streaming and singles.
For more on Eliot please visit his website http://www.eliotlewis.com/
Special thanks to Thom Jennings for setting up the interview.
Special thanks to Eliot Lewis for taking the time to talk to us.