The Moody Blues http://www.moodybluestoday.com Official Site Fri, 14 Nov 2014 20:58:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Moody Blues Legend Justin Hayward Soars in Solo Tour http://www.moodybluestoday.com/moody-blues-legend-justin-hayward-soars-solo-tour/ http://www.moodybluestoday.com/moody-blues-legend-justin-hayward-soars-solo-tour/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 20:58:10 +0000 http://www.moodybluestoday.com/?p=2095 Parade.com by: Nancy Berk What do you wear when you’re asked to go backstage and meet a rock legend? I’m not sure, but until last weekend, I’d never had the privilege of worrying about that. Of course, as my luck would have it, this rock star moment happened in mid-life which meant I was bringing Read More...

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Parade.com
by: Nancy Berk

What do you wear when you’re asked to go backstage and meet a rock legend? I’m not sure, but until last weekend, I’d never had the privilege of worrying about that. Of course, as my luck would have it, this rock star moment happened in mid-life which meant I was bringing a little more baggage to the situation, including a great husband. Still, it was a fabulous dilemma to tackle, and one that disappeared as soon as the music began.

Read the Full Article HERE.

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A conversation with Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues http://www.moodybluestoday.com/conversation-justin-hayward-moody-blues/ http://www.moodybluestoday.com/conversation-justin-hayward-moody-blues/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 16:15:01 +0000 http://www.moodybluestoday.com/?p=2090 OnMilwaukee.com By Matt Mueller One of Justin Hayward’s earliest memories of being in America with The Moody Blues comes courtesy of the Midwest. And unsurprisingly, it’s a chilly one. “We were due to do a show over in Minneapolis – the first show – and the gear didn’t turn up,” Hayward recalled. “So we started Read More...

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Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues

Justin Hayward

OnMilwaukee.com
By Matt Mueller

One of Justin Hayward’s earliest memories of being in America with The Moody Blues comes courtesy of the Midwest. And unsurprisingly, it’s a chilly one.

“We were due to do a show over in Minneapolis – the first show – and the gear didn’t turn up,” Hayward recalled. “So we started on the second show, up your way somewhere. I don’t remember where, but Wisconsin is certainly one of the first bits of America I remember being in. And man, it was cold. I remember that; it was the winter of 1968.”

Over 40 years later, the legendary band’s singer, songwriter and guitarist returns to Milwaukee for a show at the Marcus Center’s Vogel Hall on Sunday, Nov. 16. Unfortunately, it hasn’t gotten much warmer. One thing is certainly different this time around, though: Hayward arrives in Milwaukee by himself, taking the chance in between tours with The Moody Blues (the band was in town last fall and is heading on a UK tour next year) to do a special acoustic tour, mixing his solo work with the band’s hits.

Before he takes the stage, OnMilwaukee.com got a chance to chat with Hayward about looking back at almost 50 years of The Moody Blues, his latest solo work “Spirits of the Western Sky” – his first solo studio album since 1996 – and recalling the worst gig that he can remember.

OMC: The Moody Blues have stuck together for so impressively long. How have you guys managed to stick together and continue touring and producing work?

JH: The three of us that are left from the old days are the three guys who really want to do it. In the ’80s and ’90s, we really got to relish the idea of tours. We’re really enjoying exploring The Moody Blues catalogue, and we’re enjoying songs that we’d only really worked on for a couple of days in the studio and working them out on stage and getting to enjoy them properly. It’s an interesting thing. Our problem in The Moody Blues is never what to play; it’s what to leave out because there’s so much material.

OMC: What’s been your favorite new exploration into one of your songs recently?

JH: This tour that I’m on now is my acoustic tour. I’m bringing out my guitars from home, the guitars I wrote these songs on. The most interesting thing, just recently, is that I do a couple of songs from the late ’60s and early ’70s that was really quite a troubled time for me in my own life. A lot of changes going on. This tour is helping me to understand those songs a little better, and they sound so much sweeter.

We’ve never done them on stage with The Moodys anyway; I do quite a few things in my solo show that we’ve never done on stage with the band. But to have the sound of the guitar where you wrote the song, that’s a lovely thing to experience on stage.

You know, I love The Moody Blues; it’s a great big production. But once those two drummers get going, it’s loud, man. But with this acoustic show, you can really hear every nuance. For The Moodys, I have to use electric guitar to rise to that volume a lot of the time, whereas with this solo show, I can really savor the sound of the acoustic guitars, and I’m getting back to exactly the emotions I felt when I wrote these songs.

OMC: There was a 17-year hiatus between your last solo album and your latest, “Spirits of the Western Sky.” What was going on in that almost two-decade period, and were you working on “Spirits of the Western Sky” throughout that period?

JH: During that time, I was collecting a lot of songs. We did make a couple of Moodys albums, so that was happening as well. We did “Strange Times” and a holiday album called “December.” But also I was appointed by Universal as the gatekeeper to the Moody’s catalogue, so I mixed three DVDs for Universal and Eagle Rock during that time. I did the Isle of Wight, the Murray Lerner film about The Moody Blues there. I did a lot of remastering for Universal too.

I was just spending so much time in the studio; it was actually the engineer that said to me, “Listen, you have all of these songs; why don’t we just start now and put all this stuff down properly?” The fact is I couldn’t see the prospect of a new Moody Blues album on the horizon, so I think this was the best and most honest thing I could do. I could’ve done some solo work and called it Moody Blues, but that wouldn’t be that honest. This was the best way to do it.

OMC: Was it interesting looking back those old videos and albums? How does it feel, as you’re growing older, to look revisit those days?

JH: Some of the early albums I was listening to, I kept thinking, “How did we do that?” I think it was because we had a very generous record company that allowed us a lot of studio time and indulged us so we could take the time in the studio. We weren’t under any time limits, and we also didn’t have any A&R guy standing over us, demanding hits or telling us how to make records. We could just do our own thing and stand or fall based on that.

The most remarkable one was the films from ’69 and ’70 times, particularly the Isle of Wight show from 1970 because it’s really the only snapshot of The Moody Blues in that era, which many consider to be the best time of the band. I’m so pleased it exists because we did very little promotion. We were not celebrities, and we hardly did any interviews in those days; we just relied on the records and a bit of touring. So I’m very pleased some of these films exist because they’re real snapshots in time.

OMC: Your process behind “Spirits of the Western Sky” took you to Nashville and Italy, two very different places. What was the thought there, and how did the album come together?

JH: You’re absolutely right; they couldn’t be more different really. I had been working for Universal at the studio in Italy, and it had become my home really. My engineer Alberto had become my best friend.

I was working there so much, but there was a tribute to The Moody Blues called “Moody Bluegrass.” I’m glad to say that I’ve always been welcome in Nashville at songwriter showcases and things like that over the years. Anyways, these bluegrass boys and girls made this tribute album – nothing to do with The Moody Blues at all – but when they wanted to do a “Moody Bluegrass 2,” they asked me if I would do a song on it. I said, “Sure! I’d love to, in the bluegrass style.” I asked if I could use it on my own album as well.

I went down to Ricky Skaggs’ studio – he was incredibly generous with his guitars and things like that – and put three tracks down with these kids. It was sensational; we did it in just one afternoon. That’s the way they work down there; you just play it through, and they’d say, “You like it?” And they’d learn it in an instant. Bluegrass is such an honest form of American music that it really appealed to me.

OMC: Also on this album is “On The Road to Love,” which you performed and wrote with Kenny Loggins. How did that come together?

JH: I had met Kenny maybe once before, and we were at the same hotel in Arizona somewhere. He was in the middle of a tour, and I was just starting a tour. We just met in the hotel, and it was just one of those things. You’re sitting and talking, and you say, “We must do something together sometime!” And Kenny said, “Why not now?” (laughs) So we did. We went to the room, and we wrote a song.

We were actually writing it for his album, which I don’t believe was ever released. So the song just sat there, and when I was working on my album, I wrote to him and asked if I could do the song. He said, “Sure! Great!” So we did it by Dropbox, sending different parts across; I did a demo, he enhanced that demo, I sent it back to him, he added some vocal harmonies on it and then sent it back to me. It was just a joy to do because every time he sent something back, it would be great and make the song better.

OMC: You just released the live performance “Spirits … Live – Live at the Buckhead Theatre” on DVD, Blu-ray and CD. What, for you, makes a great live performance?

JH: I think you have to create an atmosphere of magic in the room, and that depends on the audience. You can’t do it alone. You can’t set up in a recording studio and expect to capture that magic. And that’s why I think that the boys and girls that can create that in a venue or room will be the ones to continue and have long-lasting careers. It just needs some kind of spark, and the audience has to give you that. They have to be willing to enter into that with you.

OMC: Now, for the flip side of that question: What’s the worst performance that you’ve ever gone through?

JH: We were coming on stage in Philadelphia one night into a big amphitheater building, and the stage was just scaffolding with some boards on it. This was long before you had proper lights or even proper sound. But there was a big crowd there. Ray Thomas with his flute was in front of me, and as we were walking on, I thought, “Where on Earth did he go?” And he just completely disappeared down a hole in the stage, in the scaffolding, and he was wedged with his flute broken in this hole. We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry; we did both.

Anyway, we pulled poor old Ray out. The crowd was starting to stamp their feet and get very impatient; I don’t think we were the only act on. Mike Pinder said, “Listen, Ray’s fallen, and his flute is broken. We really need it for ‘Tuesday Afternoon’ and that kind of stuff. Has anybody by any chance got a flute?” And some guy ran up to the front with a flute! And Ray played it. I can’t believe some guy brought a flute to a gig, but you get 20,000 people together, maybe one of them does have something like that.

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Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward: ‘Everything we do is crystal’ http://www.moodybluestoday.com/moody-blues-justin-hayward-everything-crystal/ http://www.moodybluestoday.com/moody-blues-justin-hayward-everything-crystal/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:57:21 +0000 http://www.moodybluestoday.com/?p=2083 The singer-guitarist will perform band hits, solo work at Parker Playhouse. By Nick Sortal, SouthFlorida.com Justin Hayward still loves touring with the Moody Blues. But he’s equally enthralled with performing on his own. “I get withdrawal symptoms when I’m not going out there,” says Hayward, 68. “I feel a duty to these songs to deliver Read More...

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moody-blues-justin-hayward-interview__The singer-guitarist will perform band hits, solo work at Parker Playhouse.

By Nick Sortal, SouthFlorida.com

Justin Hayward still loves touring with the Moody Blues. But he’s equally enthralled with performing on his own.

“I get withdrawal symptoms when I’m not going out there,” says Hayward, 68. “I feel a duty to these songs to deliver them, to do something with them and make them live.”

Hayward leads a trio that will appear Friday, Oct. 24, in Fort Lauderdale. Much of the concert will feature favorites from the 48 years he has spent as guitarist, singer and songwriter with the Moody Blues, but it also includes solo work, including material from last year’s “Spirits of the Western Sky” album.

“In this solo context, you can hear every kind of nuance, just three of us onstage,” Hayward says. “Everything we do is crystal. We all have to be on it, all the time. It’s a real pleasure, a real discipline that you’ve gotta play it, and play it right. I really enjoy that, too.”

Hayward joined the Moody Blues in 1966, two years after it was formed. From there, the band began a run that has seen it sell 70 million albums, including “Tuesday Afternoon” in 1968, “Nights in White Satin” in 1972 and “Your Wildest Dreams” in 1986.

“Some of them, it’s really nice exploring them, and getting into why I wrote them and how I feel,” Hayward says of the old songs. “It’s kind of a cathartic thing. I don’t want to be too serious, because music is ultimately trivial. But as long as we all stay healthy, we’ll keep doing it.”

While other bands have turned 50th anniversaries into tours, the Moody Blues haven’t garnered the attention of, say, the Rolling Stones’ golden anniversary tour or the Who’s upcoming victory march.

“Well, that’s probably down to us. We’d be the ones to have to get it going,” Hayward says. “You can’t expect people to recognize it without getting it out there, but it’s still a remarkable statistic.”

He’s also realistic that while the Moody Blues are popular, but sometimes overshadowed.

“We’ve always been on the periphery. We’ve always been somebody’s sort of fifth favorite band,” he says. “But that’s been not a bad thing. We weren’t celebrities, so we never had a real kind of 15 minutes of fame.”

Justin Hayward will perform 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, at Parker Playhouse, 707 NE Eighth St., in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $37.50 to $57.50. A VIP package costs $157.50 and includes seating in the first 10 rows, collectible tour items and an autographed poster. Call 800-745-3000 or go to ParkerPlayhouse.com.

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Classic tracks: Justin Hayward talks Nights In White Satin http://www.moodybluestoday.com/classic-tracks-justin-hayward-talks-nights-white-satin/ http://www.moodybluestoday.com/classic-tracks-justin-hayward-talks-nights-white-satin/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:02:36 +0000 http://www.moodybluestoday.com/?p=2080 Musicradar.com “It’s a song that never seems to go away,” says The Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward of the band’s pop/proto-prog orchestral masterpiece and perennial hit Nights In White Satin. “It was a slow build, and of course, it was released a few times, but once it took hold, it did so in a really big Read More...

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Musicradar.com

single-02“It’s a song that never seems to go away,” says The Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward of the band’s pop/proto-prog orchestral masterpiece and perennial hit Nights In White Satin. “It was a slow build, and of course, it was released a few times, but once it took hold, it did so in a really big way. It seemed to get into people’s minds and just stay there. The whole thing’s very strange and wonderful.”

The lush, transporting and immersive track, which appeared as a full-blown epic (clocking in at over seven and a half minutes, complete with a spoken-word poetry section called Late Lament) on the band’s 1967 album Days Of Future Passed, was released in edited form as a single in November of that year. The song reached the top of the charts in France, but in the UK it only got as high as number 17.

“It was fantastic to hit the top in France, but of course, we were hoping to repeat that success elsewhere,” Hayward says. “Once it dropped off the UK chart, that seemed to be it for the song.” He laughs, then adds, “For a while, at least. As we all know, it came back bigger than ever, and it’s had all of these different lives over the years.”

In the following interview, Hayward recounts the writing and recording of The Moody Blues’ signature song, as well as its unexpected re-entry into the charts in 1972, an occurrence that the singer says “changed my life and the band’s lives forever.”

Walk me through the writing of the song. As I understand it, you started it when you were 19.

“Right. It was in early 1967, and I’d just come home from a gig. I was living in a one-room flat. I sat on the side of the bed and wrote the basic two verses and two choruses with a 12-string acoustic. I took it to the rehearsal room the next day because the guys were expecting me to have something to work up for a stage show. I played it for them and they were like, ‘Huh… it’s OK.’ I don’t think they were that thrilled – they didn’t hear it straightaway.

“But then [keyboardist] Mike [Pinder] said, ‘Play it again,’ so I did. I sang ‘Nights in white satin… ’ and he did that little ‘da da da-da-da-da-daaa’ on the Mellotron. Then everybody seemed to get interested; it made sense to them. Once he delivered that phrase, which is really quite important, the song started working for them.”

The song, along with the album Days Of Future Passed, came out in 1967, during the height of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper period. Is it safe to say you guys were influenced by them a bit?

“Oh, sure, more than a bit. I’d admit that, and I think other musicians who were around at the time would, too. To be part of the musical scene in London during that whole period was amazing, and The Beatles were our leaders, undoubtedly. They showed us the way. Sgt. Pepper and Strawberry Fields and other songs they did at the time – they gave us the freedom to try anything.

“Obviously, we didn’t have the power or the money that The Beatles had. They could indulge every whim in the studio and basically do whatever they wanted. We had to catch a lucky break with Days Of Future Passed. That lucky break from Decca, who wanted a demonstration record for their new stereo systems, and that’s how we got to make the album.

“To be honest, because we made the album as a stereo demonstration record, I thought that only a handful of people would even get to listen to it because only a handful of them had stereos at the time. What I didn’t realize was that FM radio was starting to take off in America, and the DJs and programmers were starved for good stereo records. Even The Beatles had mono records at the time, which sounded great, but the people were starting to want stereo.”

Like Sgt. Pepper, the album was recorded on four-track?

“We did everything on four-track. It wasn’t as elaborate as it might seem at all. We recorded it at Decca Number One in Broadhurst Gardens, West Hampstead. We put our songs down, and then [producer] Tony Clarke, [engineer] Derrick Varnals and [composer] Peter Knight] bounced that with Peter recording a count through the entire 48 minutes. Then the orchestra came in for a three-hour session, and they rehearsed to a tape with our tracks and that count. So our tracks were finished in stereo, and then the orchestra, after a tea break, played their parts and recorded on that. That was it.

“By the way, it’s called The London Festival Orchestra, but that’s just a name that we made up. It sounded right, but they didn’t actually exist. It was just a group of gypsies – that’s what we called them – these string players that would do a lot of sessions. Peter Knight put them together. He was signed to Decca, and he did the orchestral arrangements between our songs for the album.”

The poetry section, the Late Lament, was that always a part of the song?

“That came about because we needed some kind of summing up of the story. We had a feeling within the band that everybody should contribute, not just me and Mike. [Drummer] Graeme [Edge] didn’t think that he had anything to contribute musically, but he did want to write something that pulled the Days Of Future Passed story together, which is the story of the day in the life of one guy, really.

“That’s where that came about. So Mike did the poetry reading. He had such a beautiful, charming voice – mesmerizing. He could persuade me to do anything with that voice of his. So his voice doing the poetry section really made the whole piece feel complete. He did the recording in the dark while lying on his back, with the rest of us sitting around quite stoned.” [Laughs]

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Justin Hayward on What “Life Would Be Like Without the Music” http://www.moodybluestoday.com/justin-hayward-life-like-without-music/ http://www.moodybluestoday.com/justin-hayward-life-like-without-music/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:30:15 +0000 http://www.moodybluestoday.com/?p=2071 When an artist is indelibly identified primarily with an incredibly successful rock band and well-known for writing and singing dozens of its signature songs, any attempt to launch a solo career is bound to be a challenge. And when the individual in question is Justin Hayward, one of the longtime mainstays of the Moody Blues, Read More...

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The Moody Blues In Concert - Los Angeles, CAWhen an artist is indelibly identified primarily with an incredibly successful rock band and well-known for writing and singing dozens of its signature songs, any attempt to launch a solo career is bound to be a challenge. And when the individual in question is Justin Hayward, one of the longtime mainstays of the Moody Blues, any effort of the sort becomes all the more daunting.

Hayward joined the Moodys immediately after its transition from a wannabe blues band with the minor chart hit, “Go Now,” and helped transform them into bold forebears helming the prog rock revolution of the late ’60s and early ’70s. It was Hayward who penned such FM standbys as “Nights in White Satin,” “Tuesday Afternoon,” and “Your Wildest Dreams.”

Even now, with six solo studio albums and a prominent role on the best-selling concept album The War of the Worlds to his credit, he’s still readily identified with the songs he contributed to the band’s classic canon. Nevertheless, Spirits of the Western Sky, Hayward’s first solo outing since 1996’s The View From the Hill, went a long way toward elevating his solo profile.

With the Moodys seemingly at a standstill as far as any new recordings were concerned, Hayward found ample reason to tour with the band and also venture out on his own. Hayward’s new album/DVD, Spirits… Live — Live From the Buckhead Theater, Atlanta, provides a telling preview of the solo show he’ll offer when his current tour lands at the Parker Playhouse on Friday.

With its generous sampling of Moody Blues classics and various highlights from his solo catalog, expect an intriguing overview of Hayward’s career spanning more than 40 years of essential tunes.

New TimesWhen you’re faced with the challenge of doing the Moody Blues material in a solo context, does it take a lot of rearranging and rethinking?

Justin Hayward: Not really, because what I did was just to go back to the way the songs were in my music room, exactly the way I took them to the band, or I took them into the music studio, or in the last few years, to the engineer or the producer. That’s the basics of it, and I’ve tried to include the things I would have recorded at home on my own gear and brought into the studio.

What’s missing of course is the drums, but not having the drums allowed the acoustic guitars to breathe, and you can hear all the different pitching and intonation, which is lovely actually. So I’m bringing my music room vibe out on the road. That’s how it is.

You do have some fine musicians backing you up, but of course the Moodies harmonies aren’t there and the focus is on your voice almost entirely. Was there any special thinking as to how to work around the missed voices heard on the albums?
I’m lucky that I get to have that with the Moodys in that big production. Thankfully, the Moodys are alive and well and this is certainly the best incarnation of the Moodys that I’ve been in. That’s for sure. Julie Ragins, who tours in my solo band, has been handling those harmony vocals for quite some time now with the Moodys, so she knows them well.

It wouldn’t be right to bring in all these other voices just for that. In truth, on the records, I would always do the harmonies myself. So it was just a question of being a little more selective with the harmonies that we use. One really allows me to be really comfortable with the other. This small show with my acoustic guitars — my guitars from home — really frees my mind to do the Moodys thing as well. It’s a perfect complement. Without either one of them, I’d be thinking what else I could do to get my own pleasure out of touring and to rediscover the songs for myself.

How are you able to narrow down the selection you include from such a vast amount of material both in the group and your solo catalog?
Well, I’ve said it before. It’s not what we play, it’s what we leave out.

You have said that before. The last time we spoke in fact.
Yes, and I say it again. It’s about finding things that work and things that seem to be appropriate in the moment that you do them. I’m recording the show I’m doing tonight, and the producer is asking me, “Well, have you got anything else?”

So I thought about it last night and decided I’ll do some unusual things and just see how they work. I think about things that are well-suited for acoustic guitar. It’s harder to do things I wrote on keyboards. On this tour, I tried some things I wrote on keyboards, but I feel much more comfortable singing when I have a guitar in front of me. The songs on this tour are coming out of those acoustic guitars and what’s right for this set.

When you’re on stage with the Moodys, you have John, you have Graeme, you have the other members of the band. But when you’re up there solo, most of the focus is on you. Is that intimidating in any way?
I know what you mean, but on the other hand, it’s only me to blame. I can’t blame anyone else if something goes wrong or somebody doesn’t come up to par. It’s a fact that I want to do right by the songs. It’s about the songs; it’s not so much about me. It’s about what’s being said in the songs and how that comes across. And for me, there is a kind of cathartic element. The Moody Blues show is a big production and there’s a lot that goes into that. Not just the songs or the playing; it’s the whole presentation of it and the way it looks and the way it’s put across. All that kind of stuff.

But with the solo shows, it’s really just about the songs and what comes out of those guitars. So I’m trying to do justice to those and express those, and in doing that, it’s kind of a cathartic thing for me. There are things in the past that I didn’t really understand at the time, even when they had to do with my own life. I’m well aware that it’s not that important — music is ultimately trivial — so I don’t expect anyone to get worked up about my own catharsis, but still, it’s in there.

I assume that a lot of the people that come to the show will know these songs already, but hopefully they’ll enjoy hearing them the way they were originally conceived.

Do you find that the audiences have certain expectations. Do you get a certain vibe from them that dictates what you present and how you present it? 
I do, and I kind of think there’s a point in the show where they’re waiting, and it’s like, “OK, come on, do it!”

Funny enough, the one that breaks that ice is “Forever Autumn.” It’s a song I never got to do with the Moodys. That’s the most peculiar thing. It’s the song that kind of opens the floodgates in the show, and it’s a release.

Is this the longest you’ve toured behind one of your solo albums?

It is, because I’m really building something that I hope can last. I really see a great opportunity here. The promoters are very welcoming to me. They want me to tour. I just don’t feel like saying no. This year, I would have done five tours. It’s a real busy year for me. Next year looks like it will be real busy too… Not so much with solo things, but we have a lot of Moody Blues activity set up for Europe and the U.K. It’s rather intense, but I figure I’ve gotten to the time in my life where I want to do this.

When you’re in your 20s and 30s and 40s, you figure you can take your time, but now I really want to do it while it’s there for me. While the promoters are there, while the crowds are there.

Is it difficult trying to arrange the solo tours in the midst of the Moody Blues activities?

Sometimes. The Moodys kind of take priority, but there was one time this year when I said to the guys, “Listen, I’ve been offered some nice stuff and I’d really like to do it in this time period and so I won’t be available to the band,” and they were just fine with it.

So they’re fine with you taking off and doing your solo thing?
It’s not something that’s discussed so much. I know there’s always a general feeling in the band that whatever I do, or whatever somebody else does is, that there’s always going to be an element of the Moodys in it regardless.

So the other guys don’t feel left out in the cold so to speak?
I couldn’t see a new album of Moodys material on the horizon. There are a lot of other things for the Moodys to do, but I had so many songs and I just had to do them. And Eagle Rock, the record company, had been so supportive, so behind me. It’s like Decca in the old days where you have a record company that says, “Whatever you want to do is just fine with us. We’re right behind you. We’ll give you a promotion team, we’re going to produce it well.”

And that’s why I really started touring, in support of them, to give them back some of the stuff they’d given me. They invested a lot of faith in me and that’s wonderful to have a record company like that. And then I got sort of hooked on this whole idea of solo touring. And when I found my guitarist, Mike Dawes, the whole thing just fell into place. He’s worth the price of admission all on his own.

How did you find him?
It was one of those things. You know how when you’re online, you look to one thing on YouTube and it leads to another? I clicked on a link I found to Mike, and I immediately thought, “This kid’s brilliant!” He’s part of this whole new generation of players. He has this unique way of playing. I just called him up and we met and it just clicked really. He loves the songs and he learns them instantly. It’s such a great pleasure for me. And he’s such a road buddy and that’s so important to me.

One can only imagine how delighted he must have been to get a call from Justin Hayward.
I think so, and I hope so. His dad was (laughs). His dad was really turned on, because Mike’s only like 24-years-old. (laughs). He really went for it. And I thought, I have to give him his own thing, so he opens the show for me. You won’t see anyone play like he does.

Many of the solo songs you’re playing on your Spirits album seem like they could fit so well into the Moodys repertoire. Is there still no plan for the band to go into the studio again at this point?

(Takes deep breath) I don’t know what it is. We’re in this state where we’re enjoying rediscovering our old catalogue. We’re discovering ourselves in a kind of road format. I think we’re just happy enjoying that. And so we’re being a bit selfish. We’re doing the things we find enjoyable. We’re scattered all around the world. One or two of us would have to leave home for a couple of months just to record. Albums are made differently now. Each guy records his own, but sort of separately. So I don’t know what it would be like anymore. I think we’re just happy doing what we’re doing now.

You personally seem very happy to be making new music. Your last studio album was certainly highly anticipated after an eight year lapse from your last individual outing. And the response was very positive, so that indicates there is a hunger for new music, either solo or together.
I hope so. However, we’re also stuck with that dilemma that if we do something new, the label will want to piggyback another greatest hits on top of it. They’re interested in the catalog as well, and recycling the old material. That’s not a reason not to do it, but I’m not sure how it would happen, that’s all.

As far as you’re own efforts however, can we safely assume there will be another Justin album on the horizon?
I hope so. I have some material left over from the last album, so I think so.

In listening to your music, it becomes so apparent that you have a certain serenity that seems to define you through the music. The emotional connection you establish is so apparent in your songs. So are you, for lack of a better word, a metaphysical sort of guy?
I take that as it’s meant, as a compliment. But it’s also a little bit disturbing. I wonder what the hell my life would be like without the music. It would be unfulfilled somehow. There would be something missing. So that means I have to have a lot of patient people around me who accept the fact that, “Yes, he’s that guy who reads his books all the time and plays his guitar,” and they’re not allowed into that world.

Well, sadly, you and I have never had the opportunity to go out drinking or anything like that, so I can’t really attest to the wackier side of Justin Hayward.

(Laughs) I suppose not.

Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues performs at 8 p.m. on Friday, October 24, at Parker Playhouse, 707 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $37.50 to $57.50 plus fees. Call 954-764-1441, or visit parkerplayhouse.com.




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INNERviews With Ernie Manouse: Justin Hayward http://www.moodybluestoday.com/innerviews-ernie-manouse-justin-hayward/ http://www.moodybluestoday.com/innerviews-ernie-manouse-justin-hayward/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:27:49 +0000 http://www.moodybluestoday.com/?p=2069 Moody Blues lead Justin Hayward shares with Ernie his craft of song writing – including the inspiration for his biggest hit “Nights in White Satin.”

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Moody Blues lead Justin Hayward shares with Ernie his craft of song writing – including the inspiration for his biggest hit “Nights in White Satin.”

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MOODY BLUES: A Question of Be-Bop-a-Lula http://www.moodybluestoday.com/moody-blues-question-bop-lula/ http://www.moodybluestoday.com/moody-blues-question-bop-lula/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:00:14 +0000 http://www.moodybluestoday.com/?p=2066 Courtesy of Sal Cirrincione, Premiere Networks Moody Blues bassist John Lodge was recently in the studio recording a song for a Gene Vincent tribute album called The Black Leather Rebel. A very young Lodge crossed paths with the early American rock and roller in 1964 when Vincent moved to England. Lodge tells us exclusively, “I Read More...

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Courtesy of Sal Cirrincione, Premiere Networks

Moody Blues bassist John Lodge was recently in the studio recording a song for a Gene Vincent tribute album called The Black Leather Rebel.

A very young Lodge crossed paths with the early American rock and roller in 1964 when Vincent moved to England.

Lodge tells us exclusively, “I was asked if I wanted to be the bass player in his U.K. band so I had a meeting with him at the TV studio where he was appearing [and] was asked if I would write a song for him, which I did. It was called ‘Stay Away From Me’ and, to my knowledge, I was the only person to have a copy of this demo. [But apparently not as] a few years ago this demo appeared on an album called In Search of the Lost Moody Blues Songs. After the release of this album I received a letter from the Gene Vincent Appreciation Society saying, ‘If Gene had recorded this song in 1964 he would have had the hit he needed at that time in his career.'”

Lodge ended up not working with Vincent, but pursued his own musical path with the Moodies.

The song will be on the album, but not as performed by Lodge. He recorded “Important Words,” which is one of his Vincent favorites.

The album will be initially released in Europe.

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The Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward Says Touring Solo Has “Become a Kind of Drug for Me” http://www.moodybluestoday.com/moody-blues-justin-hayward-says-touring-solo-become-kind-drug/ http://www.moodybluestoday.com/moody-blues-justin-hayward-says-touring-solo-become-kind-drug/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:02:23 +0000 http://www.moodybluestoday.com/?p=2063 972thevan.com It’s been just over a month since The Moody Blues wrapped up their latest North American tour, but now frontman Justin Hayward is set to embark on a new U.S. solo trek . The monthlong outing kicks off Friday in Durham, North Carolina, and is plotted out through a November 17 concert in Chicago. Read More...

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It’s been just over a month since The Moody Blues wrapped up their latest North American tour, but now frontman Justin Hayward is set to embark on a new U.S. solo trek . The monthlong outing kicks off Friday in Durham, North Carolina, and is plotted out through a November 17 concert in Chicago.

This tour leg is the third that the 68-year-old singer/guitarist has mounted without his band since the early-2013 release of his latest solo album, Spirits in the Western Sky , and he tells ABC News Radio that he’s sort of getting addicted to playing these stripped-down shows.

“It’s become a kind of drug for me,” says Hayward. “I’m enjoying it, and it’s the perfect balance to The Moody Blues.”

Justin, who has been alternating solo tours and Moody Blues treks since the summer of 2013, notes that he’s “very pleased that one allows the other.”

He adds, “You know, the Moodies, the big production…if I just did that I’m not sure I’d be satisfied anymore. So, to have this, to bring my own acoustic guitars out and to enjoy them and to just play the role of [an] acoustic guitar player and singer again is very refreshing.”

The new trek will see Hayward and his small backup group — virtuoso guitarist Mike Dawes and multi-instrumentalist/backing vocalist Julie Ragins — visiting a variety of East Coast cities, as well as some Midwest sites. Several of the shows will take place at the same venues where Justin performed during his August 2013 tour in support of Spirits , including The Concert Hall in New York City and the Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta.

In fact, Hayward’s 2013 show at the latter theater was the one that was captured for his recently released Spirits…Live CD, DVD and Blu-ray.

Meanwhile, Hayward promises that fans who come out to his new concerts will get to experience “a different show” from his previous outings.

“I’m introducing quite a few different numbers to what we did on the DVD, and it’s kind of evolving, this stage show,” he explains.

Among the tunes Justin says he’s adding to his set are two Moody Blues gems — “Watching and Waiting” from 1969’s To Our Children’s Children’s Children album and “You Can Never Go Home” from 1971’s Every Good Boy Deserves Favour . Hayward points out that these numbers hail from a time he refers to as his “blue period.”

“I went through very disturbed time, I think, in…the late ’60s and early ’70s,” he explains, “and I wanted to revisit some of those songs as I kind of cathartic exercise for myself, to try and figure out what the hell was going on.”

Hayward tells ABC News Radio that following the solo trek, he’ll rejoin The Moody Blues for another road trip. He says that although nothing’s confirmed, the band is eyeing a 2015 U.S. tour leg that would run from the middle of March through May.

Here are all of Hayward’s solo U.S. tour dates:

10/17 — Durham, NC, Carolina Theatre
10/18 — Newberry, SC, Newberry Opera House
10/20 — Clearwater, FL, Capitol Theater
10/22 — Jacksonville, FL, Florida Theatre
10/23 — Orlando, FL, The Plaza LIVE
10/24 — Ft Lauderdale, FL, Parker Playhouse
10/26 — Atlanta, GA, Buckhead Theatre
10/28 — York, PA, The Pullo Center
10/29 — Sellersville, PA, Sellersville Theatre
10/31 — Atlantic City, NJ, Borgata
11/1 — New York, NY, The Concert Hall
11/2 — Tarrytown, NY, Music Hall Theatre
11/4 — Ridgefield, CT, Ridgefield Playhouse
11/6 — Vienna, VA, Wolf Trap for the Performing Arts
11/7 — Vienna, VA, Wolf Trap for the Performing Arts
11/8 — Munhall, PA, Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall
11/11 — Nashville, TN, City Winery – Nashville
11/12 — Paducah, KY, Carson Center
11/13 — St. Louis, MO, River City Casino and Hotel
11/14 — Bloomington, IL, The Castle Theater
11/16 — Milwaukee, WI, Vogel Hall Marcus Center
11/17 — Chicago, IL, City Winery – Chicago

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Showbiz Analysis with The Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward http://www.moodybluestoday.com/showbiz-analysis-moody-blues-justin-hayward/ http://www.moodybluestoday.com/showbiz-analysis-moody-blues-justin-hayward/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 18:56:57 +0000 http://www.moodybluestoday.com/?p=2060 Parade.com Music legends don’t come along every day, so I am always thrilled when one decides to take a moment to share his or her journey with me. But when Justin Hayward, the legendary Moody Blues’ guitarist and vocalist joined me for my podcast Whine At 9, I was happily caught off guard. Gifted musicians specialize in making magic Read More...

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justinhaywardMusic legends don’t come along every day, so I am always thrilled when one decides to take a moment to share his or her journey with me. But when Justin Hayward, the legendary Moody Blues’ guitarist and vocalist joined me for my podcast Whine At 9, I was happily caught off guard. Gifted musicians specialize in making magic for their audiences, and Hayward is no exception. However, Hayward’s wisdom, unique sensitivity, eloquent disclosure, and artistic passion made me feel as though I’d been chatting with a dear friend who happened to be a philosopher– oh yeah, and a rock icon. No doubt, these characteristics have been a driving force in his career longevity and the continued synergy of The Moody Blues. In a revealing conversation, Hayward shared with me his journey with the band, the mystery behind writing hit songs, the inspirational conflict behind Nights in White Satin, and a solo tour that will precede the upcoming “Moodies” tour.

 

Watch a video of Justin Hayward’ s solo performance of Nights in White Satin here.


It is difficult to imagine The Moody Blues as a startup, but when Justin Hayward joined the band in 1966, there was no flashy stage show or fleet of tour buses. Says Hayward, “Suddenly I found myself in the band. And off we went– You know really with no money, but we did have a van that we could put our equipment in. Actually– I was the only one with an amplifier at that time, but we made due. And we went to Belgium and got some gigs. And that’s how we started really.” And while some fans may believe that the infamous group quickly rose to fame, the climb to the top wasn’t an especially speedy one. “Success didn’t happen overnight, that’s for sure,” notes Hayward. “And the next big milestone really was recording our own material. Because when I came to The Moody Blues, we were a rhythm and blues band. I was lousy at rhythm and blues– I think the rest of us were. The two guys who were good at it had left (the band). And anyway, I was persuading the other guys to include some of my songs in the set, and so was Mike (Pinder). But then our break came about a year later when we’d written a stage show which was all our own material and we were doing that on stage. And we got to record that for Decca (Records). And that became an album called Days of Future Passed with (songs) Nights in White Satin and Tuesday Afternoon. But still, the success and any royalties and any fame or fortune took maybe 5 years. Even Days of Future Passed, even though it was released in 1967, it didn’t get to #1 in America until 1972. So through those ‘60s years, we were pretty kind of hard up.”

The Moody Blues - The Polydor Years

The Moody Blues – The Polydor Years

The Moody Blues’ 8-disc set, The Polydor Years (1986-1992) will be released November 25, 2014.

Hayward, who penned many Moody Blues’ hits, including Nights in White Satin, Tuesday Afternoon, and Your Wildest Dreams, seems to have the golden touch when it comes to creating music that touches the vulnerability, pain, happiness, and dreams most of us experience. Does he have a secret to making these poignant connections? Hayward barely pauses, “There’s no secret, but inspiration has to find you working. And that’s one of the key things that I’ve always remembered. And if I put my mind to it tonight, I think I could take a guitar and by 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning, something will have happened– I’ll have had something to hang onto. But I think that’s the key. But you know, as well as I do, that any kind of writing like that is sort of 3% inspiration and then 97% hard work– of finding the spark first of all which is in that 3% inspiration. And the idea and the first kind of magical theme of it. And then working on how to complete it and how to make that an entity and a real song. So I can’t say there’s any secret to it, but it is mysterious.” Hayward admits that he doesn’t want to analyze the components of a great song, but he decribes his writing experience as “an odd thing”. The musician can’t help but shake his head and laugh a bit about the situation. “It’s like having a room in your house that nobody else can go in– without that room it (life) would be very incomplete. And that’s rather disturbing.”

The inspiration for Nights in White Satin, one of Haywards’ most legendary songs, has long been attributed to a tumultuous relationship and break-up. Hayward admits that pain can be a catalyst for creativity. “There is definitely a feeling that you can take out of pain and loss and sorrow– that is a kind of a well for (you) lyrically and musically. Once you’ve touched that sort of desperation of pain and loss, then it stays with you and you can always relate anything that you’re talking about to those days of kind of grief and loss.” Adds Hayward, “With Nights (in White Satin) in particular– Yes, I was at the end of one big love affair, which– was over that period when I was 19-20. It was just one big love affair that I thought I would never recover from or have again– and maybe I haven’t had again curiously enough. And (I was) at the beginning of another one (love affair), which also had my head spinning. So I think Nights is a series of random thoughts by a boy who’s at the end of one love affair and the beginning of another. But there curiously seems to be quite a lot of truth in it, which I never really realized or thought about until I’ve been analyzing it.”

This month, Justin Hayward will be singing Nights in White Satin again, along with other hits and acclaimed music from his solo albums Spirits of the Western Sky, and the recently released Spirits…Live – Live At The Buckhead Theater, Atlanta (now also available on DVD), when he hits the road for his solo tour. The intimacy of the solo tour seems like a perfect match for the pensive artist and his work. “Spirits of the Western Sky, the album that I had out last year, was such a big part of my life. It took over my life for about 2 years. And in it I was expressing and revealing things that, for me, were very emotional and very important— just about people around me, people that I loved, people that I loved that didn’t know I loved them.” Hayward calls this touring experience the “perfect compliment” to the bigger, louder, electric Moody Blues’ 2015 tour which he embraces with equal enthusiasm. “I’ve got used to the road. And having that bit of magic in a room with a group of people is something that I never want to give up. It’s a kind of drug. I get hooked on that.” And so do we.

Watch a video of Justin Hayward’s solo performance One Day, Someday (Spirits Live) here.

Listen to Nancy’s interview with Justin Hayward here, on iTunes, orStitcher Radio.

Nancy Berk, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, author, comic and entertainment analyst. The host of the showbiz podcast Whine At 9, Nancy digs a little deeper as she chats with fascinating celebrities and industry insiders. Her book College Bound and Gagged: How to Help Your Kid Get into a Great College Without Losing Your Savings, Your Relationship, or Your Mind can be seen in the feature film Admission starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd.

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Justin Hayward chats to Steve Wright with the BBC http://www.moodybluestoday.com/justin-hayward-chats-steve-wright-bbc/ http://www.moodybluestoday.com/justin-hayward-chats-steve-wright-bbc/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 18:16:17 +0000 http://www.moodybluestoday.com/?p=2058 DURATION: 04:31 Moody Blues legend Justin Hayward on his new CD and DVD.

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DURATION: 04:31
Moody Blues legend Justin Hayward on his new CD and DVD.

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