Interview – Eliot Lewis

. August 27, 2013.
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Average White Band. Hall and Oates. Just a few of the names that songwriter Eliot Lewis has performed with over the course of his musical career. On September 3rd, he brings his unique one-man show to the Village Idiot for a night of good ol' rock and roll. First and foremost a guitar player, Lewis also triggers pre-recorded backing tracks from a lap-top to jam along with live. TCP had the chance to talk to Lewis and talk about the summer tour, his upcoming record, and performing on the Palladia television show 'Daryl's House.'

How has the tour been going?
It's been going great. I just got off a 3 week Hall and Oates tour. I am doing some solo shoes out here in my area [Connecticut] and then next week I am coming out to Ohio.

How many shows on your midwest tour?I am doing 8 shows in 10 days.

So TCP heard you were recording a live album during your show at the Village Idiot. How will that work?
I am hoping to make that night all sort of work—the live recording should hopefully solely be based in Toledo. I come to Ohio a lot since I started my solo touring and that particular room has a really cool vibe. There is always an intimate, receptive crowd that is ready to get funky. I wanted the album to be recorded in a venue like The Village Idiot.

So you perform as a one-man band. How do you manage to perform multiple instruments at the same time?

My solo show, I am playing guitar and singing live. I also use a little bit of technology—I record myself playing drums, bass, keyboards and backing vocal tracks in the studio and then trigger those samples from a laptop while I perform. I do it all over the country, and sometimes people don't even notice that there isn't a band. The goal of the performance is to keep it spontaneous and minimal.

Do you perform covers in addition to songs from your solo records?I play songs from my own CDs, my own catalogue. I do some cover stuff, but I have narrowed it down to songs I have actually played with the artists who wrote them.
I perform on the show 'Live from Daryl's House', where Daryl Hall hosts a different musician each week for a jam session. In my concerts I'll cover songs that I played with artists on the show.

Who are some of your favorite contemporary musicians?
I love Fitz and the Tantrums, performing with them was a treat. I also really love a couple of contemporary guitar players. Joe Bonamassa I think is incredible and Johnny A is a fantastic guitar player from the Boston area. I just got the chance to open up for him and he really impressed me.

What is your role in Hall and Oates?In Hall and Oates I am actually the keyboard player. I joined 10 years ago, that was the position that was open. Daryl really wanted me in that role. I wanted to be a guitar player, but he wanted me in that position.

How did you first link up with Daryl Hall?
I played in The Average White Band for years. What happened was one of their original members and Daryl Hall have been good friends since the 70s. Daryl Hall would come sit in with us when we would play in London. After a few performances, he let me know that he wanted me in the band.

What are your plans for 2014?It is going to be a busy year, there are really three elements from my career I'm working on. First I am touring with Hall and Oates. Then in late-October to mid-November we are recording new episodes for Daryl's House. The rest of the time I am out on the road with my solo show. I am also recording an album that should be coming out in November. I actually record it on the road, in the hotel rooms or wherever else I can fit it in. Gotta make the best of time. 

Eliot Lewis performs at the Village Idiot on September 3 at 6pm. 309 N. Conant St., Maumee. (419) 893-7281. villageidiotmaumee.com

For more information on Eliot's new album and current tour, visit eliotlewis.com