NEW YORK (Billboard) - John Oates wants people to know that
he is nothing like what he was when he had a mustache.
The musician, half of veteran "rock and soul" duo Hall &
Oates, is firm about the distinction, because if things go as
planned, his mustachioed image could appear on TV in cartoon
form kicking ass, rocking out and wearing tight pink pants.
Independent publisher Primary Wave Music Publishing, which
owns a majority stake in most of the biggest hits in the Hall &
Oates catalog, is shopping a cartoon titled "J-Stache" that
further illustrates the dichotomy. The show would portray Oates
as a modern-day family man who finds himself enticed back to
the rock-star life by his mustache, which is voiced by comedian
The project hasn't yet found a broadcast partner, but it's
a good example of the sometimes surprising ways that music
rights holders seek to monetize their content.
"In a cartoon setting, the mustache has its own
personality," Oates says from Aspen, Colorado, where he's
finishing his latest solo album. "Just as I'm represented as
the John Oates of today, the mustache is the John Oates of
yesterday. The focus of the music will be on the back catalog,
but it's an open-ended situation. There's even talk of the
mustache trying to bring new bands into the picture."
The aim is to complete the pilot, which Primary Wave
estimates will be between six and 10 minutes long, in the next
two months. It will portray Oates opening a new wing of the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that focuses on mustachioed
musicians. Suddenly, a dying David Crosby appears, and with his
last breath warns Oates of a mysterious secret group of
mustache wearers bent on killing other mustache wearers. As
actor Tom Selleck attempts to escape from the latest murder
scene, Oates summons his own mustache with a fist pump that
simultaneously changes his clothes from conservative attire to
tight pink pants and white boots.
The idea for a TV show came to Primary Wave senior creative
director Evan Duby while watching a Hall & Oates show in late
2007. "I said to myself that this guy could be a pop icon on a
completely different level. I wanted to be part of bringing
John Oates to a younger generation."
Hall & Oates have appeared only twice on the Billboard Hot
100 since 1991. But the duo has enjoyed a newfound cachet of
hipness in recent years thanks in part to satirical online
video series "Yacht Rock," which affectionately lampooned soft
rock stars from the late '70s and early '80s.
The goal is to find not only a broadcast partner for the
show, but also marketing alliances with consumer product
brands, such as an energy drink, electric shaver or men's
As one network executive who has seen the two-minute
trailer says, "These guys are approaching the publishing
business from a new angle. They're taking rich copyrights and
doing something innovative with them."