At a recent Hall & Oates show in San Jose, California, John Oates stood stage-left and Daryl Hall was front and center, just in front of the keyboard player. In the back row, next to the drummer, a tall bass player wearing shades oozed relaxed alertness and flaunted bass tone that was warm without being flabby. The set list gave him plenty of chances to conjure the magic of a bygone era, and he seized every opportunity, playing big notes and a surprising pedal tone in “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” sneaking in tasty licks in “One on One,” playing a gorgeous descending melody in “She’s Gone,” and exemplifying unshakable groove on “Sara Smile.”
Klyde Jones, a four-decade New Yorker born in Michigan, comes by his reputation as a sweet-natured multi-talent honestly. After several years as a successful jingle writer, he joined the Hall & Oates crew and then spent a decade singing and playing with the Average White Band before returning to the fold in 2012. Waltz of the Wild Rose, a 2009 solo platter that hinted at his Yellow-jackets/Herbie Hancock/Average White Band influences, showcased his diverse skills, which come in handy on the acclaimed webcast Live from Daryl’s House, hosted by Hall. We talked with Klyde after the show.
What’s it like on the set of Live from Daryl’s House?
Daryl gives us a setlist the week before, but everything is subject to change. We do our best, especially since it’s going to be televised, but there’s really no way to prepare. You just have to bring it.
I found an early-1990s blurb for you and the Detroit Mob Scene. What was that?
I moved to New York in ’86, from Michigan, and I was writing music influenced by all the great jazz and fusion players I was meeting. When I began playing around Manhattan, the band was so big that I called it the Detroit Mob Scene. It was a very creative tapestry of players.
How did you connect with Hall & Oates?
Daryl’s manager came across my demo tape in the early ’90s. Daryl is a Marvin Gaye fan, and when he heard that influence in my writing, he invited me up to his studio to record my tunes. I got to know [Hall & Oates’ bassist] T-Bone Wolk well, so when Hall & Oates needed a guitar player, he said, “You know what? I always wanted to play guitar. Why don’t you play bass?” That was in ’94.
How did you land the Average White Band gig?
I got a call from Alan Gorrie of AWB, who told me they needed someone who could sing lead vocals, as well as play keys, bass, and guitar. It was one of my greatest learning experiences—I got to craft myself as a piano player, as a guitarist, and as a bass player. We were touring hard, and I developed a lot as a musician and a frontman.
Hall & Oates seem to be having fun with their hits.
Obviously, Daryl and John have played these songs many times, so although there are things they’re married to, they like to feel like they’ve done something different every night.
I noticed you were playing with a pick.
T-Bone and John said to me, “If you play with a pick, the people in the back row get a chance to hear the notes you’re playing.” After so many years of playing with my fingers, it’s not easy. I watched T-Bone play, and I challenged myself to be as funky as he was with a pick.
Some of your lines are simpler than the original parts.
I go for a “less is more” approach when there are more than four people playing. Sometimes, I feel like I can serve the band better by playing longer, bigger tones and letting other people fill in. Using space makes me more selective, and it helps me listen to everything that’s going on around me.
Basses Fender Jazz Bass 5-strings
Rig Aguilar Tone Hammer 500, Ampeg 4x10
Strings D’Addario EXL 160-5 mediums
Effects Sadowsky SBP-1 Preamp/DI, Xotic Effects BB Preamp/Distortion, Dunlop Cry Baby 105 Q Bass Wah, MXR M-288 Bass Octave, Keeley Dyno- MyRoto Tri-Chorus Rotary Flange, MXR Phase 90
Picks InTuneGP GrippX Tri Tip 1mm