Read the latest Q&A with Justin Hayward.
1. The first part of 2015 looks pretty busy for you and the Moodies, what do you feel are the major concerns as you get ready to embark on the new tours?
No concerns – apart from wanting to stay healthy – but I am looking forward to the years work.
2. Is there any particular location you’ll be going to in 2015 that you are especially looking forward to?
The Greek Theatre and Red Rocks are the standouts – lovely.
3. What can you tell us about upcoming setlist changes?
Um…All in good time.
4. When touring solo, how difficult of a mental adjustment is it to play acoustic rhythm with Mike Dawes playing the lead licks on an electric that are parts you would normally play? Is it sort-of like playing to a recorded track of yourself as you add more instruments to a demo, or does that ‘live’ element change everything?
The solo shows for me are as I initially wrote the songs. Mike and Julie do the parts I would add at home or in the studio. I love both the solo and the Moodies touring groups. I’m very lucky to be able to do both.
5. Can you name a song from each of your non-Moody albums that would especially benefit from an acoustic version in your solo shows?
‘Raised On Love’ – ‘Crazy Lovers’ – ‘Moving Mountains’ – ‘Vincent’ – ‘Troubadour’.
6. In what way have you experienced the use of the delightful spice, cardamom?
I enjoy it in sweet dishes and savoury – and I’m told it’s medicinal. It’s great coming across a whole pod in a dish. As you know it can be expensive and I remember being quite taken aback seeing a large display in a street market in the middle East a couple of years ago.
7. Does touring solo now differ wildly from The View From The Hill’s tours? What has changed, and what hasn’t?
It’s quieter of course, and I can hear my voice and Julie’s much better. I love doing the songs this way. I really enjoyed The View From The Hill tour – this is just different, and I love it just the same.
8. European fans are very happy about the 8-date solo tour in that part of the world this year. While you’ve had a number of single solo UK appearances over time (usually benefitting worthy causes), this appears to be your first formal tour sans the Moodies in your former stomping grounds. What does that mean to you now, as opposed to when you began gigging as a teen?
I’m kind of nervous about it. American audiences are so vocal and enthusiastic – but I really want to see how it goes so I’m relying on UK and Euro fans to be there for us. I wish I was covering more of the country and doing gigs in Europe, but Live Nation chose the venues and I’m completely in their hands. Anyway, it means a lot to me because this music is important in my life. I’m really looking forward to it – it’s going to be fun.
9. The last scheduled tour for the year ends in July. Any particular plans for August-December?
I’m sure there will be some action!
10. Is Mike Dawes’ new Tom Anderson electric guitar identical to your custom one that he borrowed?
Yes, Tom made another guitar identical to mine, apart from the colour of the purfuling.
11. Has there been any talk of when your solo PBS show recorded in 2014 will air?
Very soon –in fact it’s already started in Minneapolis on TPT.
12. According to Forbes.com, America alone streamed 164 billion songs in 2014, which amounts to an average of 514 songs per person. The streaming music industry grew 54% last year, and the overwhelming success of this has forced even Billboard to take streaming into account when evaluating the relative success or failure of an album of songs. Conversely, and somewhat surprisingly, vinyl LP sales grew 38% in 2014, with 8.3 million being sold, which is 4.3 million more than 2013, and nearly double the numbers sold in 2012. In your opinion, what do you think this data says about the future growth of the music industry overall?
It suppose it means we all love music just as much as we always did. I don’t have an opinion about the way music is bought. I use iTunes because the quality is at least consistent, if not always great, but the young groups will show us the way.
13. Are there any songs you’ve performed on your solo tours whose audience response honestly surprised you?
‘Watching and Waiting’. It’s very emotional.
14. You had a chance to reunite with some of your Nashville friends at a memorable performance last year, did any discussions occur at that time about future collaborations?
Oh yes – we would all so love to play together again. I do hope we have the opportunity.
15. Did you and the band ever play the club “Klooks Kleeks” that was next door to Decca Studios?
No, we never did. It was pretty much exclusively a blues club and I don’t think we fitted their style. There were ‘lines’ going directly into the pub for live recordings, and some great records were made there no doubt. But we were comfortable being in the greatest studio in London – next door.
16. At the 1970 Isle of Wight festival were you ever out in that audience watching other bands for awhile? Some people swear they think they saw you out there.
Yes, I think I did go for a wander, or did I just think I did? I hadn’t slept the night before, and I was pretty stoned – but we had to wait so long before we went on, and things were very rough and a bit violent backstage with some groups getting angry and demanding to get paid (we didn’t), that I think I must have.
17. Do you feel there was a turning point when the band had mostly male followers and then it turned to mostly female followers and now may be making a swing back the other way again?
I love the girls – and they arrived in force in 1986 with ‘The Other Side Of Life’ – thank goodness. Please stay!
18. Have you ever seen a Moody Blues tribute band play live?
Can’t say I have.
19. How long have you owned the Olsen guitar that was originally destined for James Taylor?
Since James Olson made it in around 1990 -91. I got it directly from him, from his workshop. I think it is on ‘Red Rocks’.
20. Do you recall what you played for your ‘audition’ for Marty Wilde?
Mart’s song ‘Danny’(my favourite) and ‘Teenager In Love’.
21. What is the feeling immediately after a show ends? Is there any usual ritual?
It’s a wonderful mood around the whole group – solo show or Moodies. I think that feeling is what made me commit to life on the road. We all feel great and it’s a huge release of tension. It’s nice to be together too. I don’t think I would want to be completely alone then. I can’t think of any ritual though.
22. Any reason why you play the white Strat. now on Tuesday Afternoon during concerts?
It sounds nice and ‘speaks’ a bit better for those chords and the finger picking sounds good. John and I decided to try a few different guitars on ‘Tuesday’ a couple of tours ago, to see what they sounded like, and we liked the Strat.
23. Do you feel music can make a difference in the world today as much as say in the 60s?
I’m not sure it has the same power, (do you?) but I hope so. It’s still such an important part of our lives, and it does make the world a better place. Boys and girls are still falling in love to their ‘own’ music and I love that.
24. What is your guitar tuning for New Horizons? … it seems to some you are not using normal tuning on that song?
From the bottom (low string) to top: DADFAC
25. Is there a ‘wrap party’ at the end of tours?
Er… not really.
26. What are your thoughts on those MFSL Ultra Disc Gold cds made of the band’s first seven albums?
I don’t have an opinion `I’m afraid. I wouldn’t say they were better than the normal re-mastered versions unless you have a super duper system.
27. Do you ever get bored?
Like now do you mean? Nooo…
28. Can we look forward to more solo material from you being released?
29. What’s your favorite pastime on the tourbus?
30. What do you do if you’re find yourself having a “off” day and just not feeling it?
Pull myself together and get up for it.
31. Would you call yourself a skilled horseman?
No way. I love horses though and I still have my Kieffer saddle so I’m always ready.
32. Do you recall playing New York’s Central Park in 1981? There is a supposed boot of such a gig around.
Can’t say I do. But I think we did do something in the park that was part of a TV show, maybe not a gig as such.
33. What’s the strangest gift you’ve ever received from a fan?
A Les Paul
34. What’s the best piece of information anyone’s ever given you?
Write songs: Marty Wilde
35. With “Spirits..Live” dvd debuting at Number Two on Billboard and the successes of your solo shows, do you envision keeping this fabulous solo career going
36. Are you a sushi eater?
Er… Well, I’ve liked sushi since we went to Japan in 1974.
37. Is there any way you could help facilitate a re-release of your solo album “Moving Mountains: which newer fans are having much difficulty finding?
Ah.. I didn’t know that. I’ll look into it.
38. On your Gibson 335 guitar is the wiring as original and the ‘nut’ standard?
I changed the bridge to metal bridge pieces years ago, and some of the wiring that had aged was replaced back in the seventies, but that’s about it.
39. If you could change any song you’ve written and recorded which one would you change and how?
I would make the recording of ‘The Day We Meet Again’ simpler and less cluttered – but it seemed right at the time. I do like the song and it was a joy to do again on recent tours.
40. What do you miss most while out on tour?
41. Have you seen the 2009 dvd “My Dinner With Jimi (Hendrix)” in which The Turtles tell their crazy stories and you are portrayed by an actor in a scene where they meet you, too?
No. Sounds like fun though.
42. Has it been difficult balancing your professional career with your personal life?
43. What do you like the most about Christmas-time?