John Oates Reveals His Lifelong Fascination with Cars and Racing

March 1st, 2017

This is a feature from the March/April 2017 issue of Guitar Aficionado magazine. For this complete story and more photos, plus features on the making of Martin’s one-of-a-kind two-millionth guitar, Ricky Gervais and the return of his guitar-playing alter ego David Brent, plus GA’s annual motoring section, including features on the Doobie Brothers’ Pat Simmons and his antique Harley-Davidsons and the untold story behind Led Zeppelin’s McLaren M8E/D racecar, pick up the new issue of Guitar Aficionado at your newsstand, or online by clicking anywhere in this text.

1,000 MILES OF LIFE: Enjoying a life-long fascination with cars and racing, John Oates reveals the forces that move him—literally and figuratively—in his captivating autobiography, Change of Seasons.

By Chris Gill | Photography by Jeff Fasano

It’s too bad that John Oates didn’t release his autobiography, Change of Seasons, before Dos Equis hired Augustin Legrand to replace Jonathan Goldsmith as “the most interesting man in the world.” No offense to Legrand, who is a fine actor, but Oates’ actual life story is much more fascinating than any scenario that a Madison Avenue account executive could ever concoct. There are numerous near-death experiences (on a motorcycle, in a car while racing professionally, and as the pilot of a private plane), celebrity encounters (David Bowie! George Harrison! Hunter S. Thompson!), love won and lost, fortunes won and lost (and won back again), and even a performance onstage with the Temptations, at the Apollo Theater no less. And don’t forget that Oates boasted one of the most iconic mustaches of the Seventies and Eighties—which was no mean feat in those impressively hairy eras.

Surprises abound in Change of Seasons, which covers the period from Oates’ formative years as a musician through the Nineties, just before he embarked on an entirely new chapter of his life as a solo artist. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that the book is not the definitive Hall and Oates story, even though Oates’ experiences with the immensely popular hit-making duo were important events in his life.

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