If you follow music, of course you know Eliot Lewis who has become a TV celebrity in his own right. Lewis is a multi-instrumentalist and is the original featured musician on the award-winning web series and now weekly TV show, Live From Daryl’s House, as well as a member of the Daryl Hall & John Oates band since 2003. Lewis is the only member of the Live From Daryl’s House band, besides Hall himself, who has played on every episode.
Lewis has mastered four instruments over the course of his career thus far and continues on his own trail as a solo artist performing all over the country, and on some of the most prestigious stages all over the world.
He’s worked with a number of artists whose names are familiar to most including, Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Booker T, Darius Rucker, Gavin DeGraw, Grace Potter, Jewel, Joe Walsh, Tina Turner, Todd Rundgren, Train, and many others. For many years he was a key member of, The Average White Band, from 1989 – 2002. Lewis spent 13 years in the AWB playing guitar, bass, and keyboards. He also sang lead vocals on hits including School Boy Crush and Walk On By.
His latest CD, Crusade, is a serving of guitar-focused classic rock & soul, which he wrote, performed and produced.
Examiner spoke with Lewis to find out more.
Amy Nachbar: Aside from music, I understand that you are an accomplished photographer? What do you shoot with and do you have any plans to do a book of your photography work?
Eliot Lewis: At the moment, I shoot with a few different camera’s. A Sony A6000 with several lenses and a Lumix LX100 with a beautiful Leica lens. I like to travel light so I can have it with me most of the time. I really try and document all the places we travel to.
AN: The music business from when you were with the Average White Band, through your many years with Hall & Oats, has changed quite a bit. What advice would you give to an upcoming musician?
EL: Well, now you really need a specific game plan because there’s a good chance you’re going to have to do everything yourself. Of course, you need to be as good as you can be at what you’re trying to accomplish, but in order to have a lasting career you’ll need to spend time performing live to build your own audience, as it’s not all about social media. Word of mouth still rules. You’ll also need to invest in yourself with the kind of promo that targets your specific audience to help build that word of mouth. Most importantly, believe in what you’re doing and in your music and lyrics.
AN: I know you must have some road warrior stories, afterall life on the road isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. We’d love you to share some of those times, even embarrassing moments. You trashed hotel rooms maybe?
EL: LOL Actually, it’s pretty business like. There’s definitely no trashing anything.
Fortunately, I’m in a band with people who really like and respect each other personally.
That makes this whole experience so much better.
Ok, here’s one silly thing that did happen. Of course you lose track of where you are sometimes, as you finish a show and ride in a tour bus from anywhere from 3 -12 hours and wake up in another city, and check into a hotel. So, I woke up after a few hours, packed all my stuff up and headed for the bus to depart for that day’s show. I get to the lobby and our production person looked at me and said, “where are you headed?” – It was a day off!
Yeah, that was a little embarrassing, I should have looked at our schedule a little more closely.
AN: You have a new album that was just released. Can you tell us about that? How is it different from your prior work as a multi instrumentalist?
EL: My latest CD, Evolution, is really about me evolving as an artist and trying a few new things. There’s a song called, Road Worn, which is about spending so much time on the road and is a lot more jazzy sounding than most of my other music. There’s also a balled called, Before Your Time, but it’s instrumental, so that is a little different as well. I’ve also decided to release condensed CD/EP with less songs, but put them out more frequently.
AN: You play five instruments so when you write a song, which one do you pick up first?
EL: Usually now a song starts just in my head with a melody or a lyric idea coming first.
Then typically I’ll go to a guitar, unless it’s a instrumental then I’ll usually build it
on a keyboard instrument.
AN: What have you learned from the long list of musical artists that you have shared the stage with?
EL: Everything. I try and absorb all the things that I respect in the artist’s I’ve worked with.
When we work with someone on, Live From Daryl’s House, we really get inside their music which gives me an even broader idea of the writing process. I think I’m always learning from everything in life. There are really songs everywhere.
AN: Is there anything that you’d like people to know about you that hasn’t been in print yet?
EL: Well, I have a pretty crazy work ethic, most people around me think it’s a little
off the charts, like I’m ALWAYS working on something. The thing is, as hard as I work at what I do, I love it so much it really never feels like work at this point in my life.
Check out the website: http://hallandoates
Stay tuned for an upcoming show in Boston in January!