July 23, 2009 / 2:21 AM / 11 years ago

John Oates's "J-Stache" cartoon debuts online

NEW YORK (Billboard) - John Oates, the curly coifed half of the best-selling pop duo Hall & Oates, can remember the exact day and time that he removed his iconic facial hair.

“I did it in Tokyo after we did a John Lennon Tribute concert (20 years ago),” he told Billboard.com earlier this week. “I realized that if I was going to go on with my life and evolve in some way as a person, I just had to leave that guy behind. And so the shedding of the mustache is symbolic in a way and very important too.”

But as it turns out, Oates’ mustache didn’t disappear down the drain — it simply went into hibernation. Now the famous follicles have returned as the star of a new cartoon series, “J-stache,” which made its public premiere on the comedy website funnyordie.com (http://www.funnyordie.com).

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 deal for “J-Stache” that further illustrates the dichotomy. As laid out in the online trailer, Oates is portrayed as a modern-day family man and finds himself enticed back to the rock star life by his mustache, which is voiced by comedian Dave Attell.

“Attell’s great because he’s really hard and he’s real cynical and really nasty,” Oates said. “The mustache is definitely the villain in the cartoon.”

In the trailer, Oates is in his cartoon house (which he says is actually pretty close to exactly the way his real house looks), having a conversation as though he’s talking to his musical partner Daryl, but the gag is that it’s really not; it’s the mustache. The mustache is an independent character that has a whole other agenda.

The band’s music plays a role in all of the story lines too. In fact, the music was the main reasons the series came to fruition.

“One of the motivations is to find another avenue to expose the catalog to a younger generation and a whole new group of people who might not necessarily be completely aware of the depth and breadth of Hall and Oates,” he said. “It was a way we thought we could really get into the catalog in a cool, new approach to exposing the catalog to a whole new audience.”

But does the obnoxious, beer-swilling, skirt-chasing mustache of the cartoon really represent the John Oates of yore?

“Let’s put it this way,” Oates said. “I wasn’t the guy I am today and I never want to be the guy that had the mustache. I evolved. I shed my skin.”

(Editing by Dean Goodman at Reuters)

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