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Oates' 'Phunk' Finds Home On Rhythm & Groove

- BILLBOARD, July 27, 2002     By JILL KIPNIS

 LOS ANGELES - Though John Oates - one-half of the rock era's most successful duo, Hall & Oates - has been thinking about making a solo album for years, it was a rather spontaneous chain of eyents that led to the creation of his project Phunk Shui. due in stores Aug. 20 on Rhythm & Groove Records.

While Oates, a rhythm guitarist/singer/songwriter, was on a touring break from Hall & Oates in February, he started digging through old demos he had recorded 10 years ago. "On it were four songs that jumped out," he says. "The odd thing about the songs was that not only did they seem to sound right together, but they sounded exactly like what I was writing at the moment. I'm always songwriting, regardless of what l'm doing with Hall & Oates." (The duo is No. 8 on the Adult Contemporary chart this issue with "Do lt For Love.")

lt was one of the old songs in par­ticular, Love in a Dangerous Time." that Oates says was the catalyst for the formation of his album. The track features a slow rhythm and percussion groove with a jazzy keyboard accompaniment. “When I heard that, I thought, “Wow.” l wrote it in ’91, and what l was thinking about was AIDS," he explains. “Even though that was the original inspi­ration for the song, it speaks to the times today just as well."

After listening to the demo featuring this tune, Oates took several songs that he had recently written and put them and the demos on one CD. “It sounded like an album, he says. “Not only did the music mesh well together,  but the lyrics all had a great consistency about self-discov­er, about balance, and about keeping things in perspective."


>                                          © BILLBOARD 2002


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