Phantom Sway

“Shut the F**k Up”…Daryl Hall Talks Cultural Appropriation and Moron Music Execs

The former ’80s blue-eyed soul singer has a message for the sensitive types

Daryl Hall recently did an interview at Salon and it was pretty frikkin’ great. For those of you who consider Facebook your “grandma’s social media” and have never heard of MySpace, let us tell you a bit about Daryl Hall.

Hall was one half of the 80’s pop band Hall & Oates. Known for his smooth voice and the duo’s soulful arrangements, Hall was the poster boy for “blue-eyed” soul. Their songs routinely topped the charts and their sound – while pure 80s pop – dripped with the flavor of soul and R&B.

If you still don’t know who they are, go watch “The Wedding Singer” with Adam Sandler. Then get the soundtrack because its almost as awesome as the movie.

They still tour and cut albums from time to time, but Daryl Hall also went on to do something quite amazing for a man who vehemently opposed the introduction/popularization of music videos during the birth of the MTV era. Before most of America caught up to the phenomenon that is YouTube, Hall started his own YouTube show right from his home. He called it “Live From Daryl’s House” and each week he invited a new musical guest on to play and talk about their art and the business of their art. It quickly became one of the most watched shows on the site.

The ground-breaking show has since moved to Hall’s night club, appropriately named “Daryl’s House.” 

From the Salon article:

One of the elementary principles of evolutionary biology is environmental adaptation. Hall adapted early, and is now reaping the rewards. Proving himself the fittest of his generation in a war of attrition that often becomes survival of the fittest, Hall has created a program noteworthy for its postmodern synthesis of the past and future squarely in the present. It relies on present technology as a medium, giving projection into the future of music, but does so in service and celebration to the more organic, live, and human creativity of the music culture in which Hall first developed. Rather than an overly packaged, polished, and programmed product of committee creation, Live From Daryl’s House showcases talented people doing exactly what talented people do, without filter and without distortion.

The interview by  David Masciotra is really very good…almost out of place at blog that was once great but now relies on posts about chemtrails and 9/11 inside jobs from Alternet (that name alone is a red flag) to round out it’s content.

Hall makes some scathing observations about the moronic nature of music executives,  but the most interesting part of the interview is when Hall is asked about his music and cultural appropriation. Hall pulls no punches and its glorious.

One of the current debates is over “cultural appropriation” – The idea that white people should not appropriate the culture of ethnic and racial minorities. I know that you don’t like the term “blue eyed soul.” Have you followed this conversation? 

Are you trying to say that I don’t own the style of music that I grew up with and sing? I grew up with this music. It is not about being black or white. That is the most naïve attitude I’ve ever heard in my life. That is so far in the past, I hope, for everyone’s sake. It isn’t even an issue to discuss. The music that you listened to when you grew up is your music. It has nothing to do with “cultural appropriation.”

 I agree with you entirely, because…
 I’m glad that you do, because anyone who says that should shut the fuck up.
 Well, this entire critique is coming back…
 I’m sorry to hear it. Who is making these critiques? Who do they write for? What are their credentials to give an opinion like that? Who are they?
 Much of it is academic.
 Well, then they should go back to school. Academia? Now, there’s a hotbed of idiocy.
 Anyone who knows about music, about culture in general, understands that everything is much more natural. Everything is a mixture.
 

We live in America. That’s our entire culture. Our culture is a blend. It isn’t split up into groups. Anyone who says otherwise is a fool – worse than a fool – a dangerous fool.

 

I also know that you don’t like the term “blue eyed soul”…

 

No, and it is for this very reason. There is no color to soul. Soul music comes from the heart. It was generated out of the church, and it became secular gospel.

Daryl Hall gets it. The beauty of music is that it crosses all boundaries, all barriers, all classes, all experiences. It simultaneously holds the legacy of the past and hope for the future. It speaks to the emotions we all carry and experience at different times in our lives. “Cultural appropriation” is not a term that should applied to the joy of creating.

Phantom Sway