Hall & Oates have a long history with Westport.
In 1985 they played the most-famous non-concert ever “held” here. For the town’s 150th birthday celebration, an Inn at Longshore employee “arranged” for the pop stars to perform. Nearly 5,000 people paid $20 a ticket — but the whole thing was a scam. The duo never appeared, the employee vanished — fortunately, most Westporters were in a forgiving mood.
Jeff Southworth — now a Westporter, still involved in music — was the lead guitarist on the mega-hit “Kiss on My List.”
Now Drew McKeon — born the same year “Maneater” reached #1 — has joined the band. He’s replacing their longtime drummer (recovering from sciatica) on upcoming tour and party dates.
Drew — Staples Class of 2000 — has always been a musician. After graduating from NYU as a religion and history major (don’t ask), he hooked up with fellow Stapleite Justin Paul on projects like “Broadway Boys” and “Altar Boys.”
He did the Warped Tour in 2005 — playing 50 cities in 60 days, with artists like Billy Idol and Fallout Boy — and in St. Bart’s, Jimmy Buffett sat in with Drew’s band.
Versatile local musician Eliot Lewis — formerly of the Average White Band, now with Hall & Oates — recommended Drew. He helped open for the duo last year in Trumbull, so when the regular drummer couldn’t make this tour, Drew was a natural.
There’s a free show this Friday in Hamden, then concerts in Chicago and Iowa (plus private parties).
The singers — and their backup band — are all “first-rate musicians,” Drew says.
“Their live versions are much more nuanced than their recordings. There’s lots of improvisation and extended solos. I thought I knew the songs” — he’d played them at club gigs and weddings for years — “but I really have to get up to speed.”
Drew cleared his schedule to work on the music.
He also headed to the studio to talk to Daryl Hall, as he recorded his new album. They talked about mutual influences like Stevie Wonder.
So what’s Drew’s favorite Hall & Oates song?
“I’m liking ‘Say It Isn’t So,'” he says.
In Drew McKeon’s case, touring with 2 pop legends just happens to be so.