Moody man delighted to return to Plymouth WE TRY to get to Plymouth every tour," says Moody Blues singer/songwriter/ bassist John Lodge, talking about this week's show at Plymouth Pavilions. "It's a part of the world I really like, I have fond childhood memories of holidays there." The band are one of the more regular visitors here, never failing to attract faithful fans many of whom have followed them for more than 40 years. Since their early days of prog-rock in the Sixties, they've shifted some 70 million records and won countless gongs, including the Ivor Novello Statue, for Outstanding Contribution to British music. Few bands who originated in the Sixties look quite so well preserved as the Moody Blues, John, Justin Hayward, and Graeme Edge have matured gracefully and still retain that rock star charisma that was always part and parcel of their massive success. It's partly because they're still doing what they love. "I just love travelling, I'm a Gypsy anyway," says John. "During the day, before the gig, I wander off and explore." More than that, of course, it's all about the music, they love performing and never tire even of their ubiquitous pop classic Nights In White Satin. However, getting the Moody's together for a tour is one thing, but getting them together in a studio is quite another. John had written a load of material he wanted to record but when dates didn't match up with the others in the band, he decided to make it a John Lodge album. He recorded 10,000 Light Years Ago with guest appearances from former Moodys members, Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder. "I started to write the songs a few years ago, largely between tours and encapsulated who I am today via my musical influences that include rock'n'roll, prog rock, classic rock and (French jazz violinist) Stephane Grappelli." If you'd told young John that his life would pan out in this way. he would never have believed it. He had planned to become an engineer, but music took hold and even then he loved touring. "We did our first tour while still at school and part of the fun of it was getting booked to play in different places we'd never heard of. "I remember it taking ages to get to Plymouth! We did a lot of cider drinking and stayed in a tent. "It's so very different now, and so well organised. "I now turn up, slip on stage, my guitar tech gives me my bass and I think, 'How did this happen?' "For me it's about singing, playing bass and performing the best I can to get that crowd reaction…" Saturday, June 6, Plymouth Pavilions CLARE ROBINSON
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