John Oates found fame in the ‘70s in the popular rock and soul duo Hall & Oates, responsible for hits like “Rich Girl” and “You Make My Dreams.” The guitarist welcomed one son during his career, Tanner Oates, with whom he created an “unshakable bond,” he tells Closer exclusively.
“Regardless of whether we’re together now and we don’t see each other very often, we have this very solid bond … And I think that was the most important thing,” the dad of one explains. “And the other thing I would say is that we let him become what he was meant to be.”
The songwriter was previously married to his first wife, Nancy Hunter, in the ‘80s but the pair never welcomed any children together. John and his second wife, Aimee Oates, became parents for the first time when they welcomed Tanner in 1996.
The couple took their son out on the road as John was touring when he was five weeks old. They homeschooled him until he was 13. Spending so much time together has taught the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee some valuable life lessons. Though his dad has been in the music industry for five decades, Tanner was not interested in pursuing a music career at a young age.
“We gave him music lessons and we had instruments around the house. He didn’t take to it,” the five-time Grammy nominee shares. “And I knew from a very early age, he wasn’t going to be a musician … And so, he was always science-oriented and very analytical. And so, we fostered that, and we encouraged that.”
Tanner went on to attend Virginia Tech and later interned in Congress for a year. He lives in Arlington, Virginia. His parents split their time between Colorado and Tennessee, and though they do not see each other on a regular basis, their relationship is stronger than ever.
“We don’t see each other as much as we should, but over Christmas, we were together for about three weeks and it’s really nice,” John admits. “We actually go up and, you know, we take the truck up into the backcountry, up into the mountains. He loves to camp and things like that. We do stuff like that.”