Tag Archives: Hall & Oates

Prep For Jackopierce

In 1985, Westport celebrated our 150th anniversary as a town. One of the big events was supposed to be a concert by Hall & Oates, at Longshore.

It never happened. It was a scam, perpetrated (legend has it) by a local housekeeper. You can read all about it here.

When it was clear that the “Rich Girl” duo would not appear, Staples student Cary Pierce’s band stepped in to play. They weren’t Hall & Oates, but they were a lot better than the alternative (nothing, on a hot summer Sunday).

Cary went on to Southern Methodist University. In Texas he met Jack O’Neill. They joined musical forces. As Jackopierce the duo recorded 6 albums, sold 500,000 records, and toured 3 continents, 9 countries and 44 states.

After a decade, they broke up. Cary moved to Nashville, wrote songs and produced, and worked with the legendary T-Bone Burnett.

In 2002 Jackopierce got back together. They’re one of those musical acts that always bubbled beneath the surface. They don’t have a huge national name. But their fans are many, fervent and loyal.

They’re big enough too to have caught the eye of Vineyard Vines. The current catalog includes a full-page spread on Cary and Jack.

That’s Cary Pierce on the left.

The hook is that one of the duo’s signature songs is called “Vineyard.” (Okay, it’s about Martha’s Vineyard, not Vines, but who’s quibbling?)

Also — perhaps unknown to the tie and polo shirt company — Cary rocked their look all the way back as a Staples student.

He was a preppy decades before Vineyard Vines was even born.

(Hat tip: Jim Honeycutt)

Drew McKeon Can Go For That

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 McKeon (Photo by Chelsea Dee)

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.