Read the latest Q&A with Justin Hayward.
- In the summer of 1984, Higher and Higher Magazine laid out 2 Blue Jays-related items. One was the claim that there were Blue Jays ‘demo’ tracks left over after the making of the album, roughly half what it would take to make a ‘next’ Blue Jays LP. The other, and probably more of a rumor, was that “Meet Me Halfway” from The Present was actually one of those leftover demos/tracks. Can you dispel or confirm this information?
I think that there were a few bits and pieces left over at the end of the Blue Jays sessions, but nothing good enough to release, and certainly not a whole track.
Sorry, but ‘Halfway’ wasn’t from those times. It was done at the time of ‘the Present’ album.
- It is not without some real sadness that news spread of Jerry Weintraub’s passing this past summer. Since he played a key role in the early days of the Moody Blues‘ story, what memories of working with him stand out as some of the most significant for you?
His life was like a movie, always eventful and exciting, and he had great affection for us all in the Moodies, but he was particularly close to me and John. I enjoyed his company very much and witnessing his interaction with people from different backgrounds and cultures. He never changed his tone or approach, no matter if he was talking to a cab driver or the chairman of a huge record company. He and I always stayed close confidants from the moment we met, and I miss him – he knew what to do.
The tour of Japan he came on with us was very entertaining – poor old Jerry had to do everything through an interpreter, which made him mad! He survived it all though.
- As news came out that you had booked a gig in Israel, many fans have been curious how this event came into being, could you tell us a little bit about what has drawn you to Israel, or indeed, what has drawn Israel to your music?
I was offered the gig –– but a few weeks later he promoter cancelled. These things happen.
I have been to Israel and I really loved my time there
- Since that Israel date was unfortunately canceled, are there plans yet to schedule a new date in 2016?
I’ve not heard of any.
- Drummer Billy Ashbaugh brings with him an eclectic background of experience, and he will soon be taking his place alongside Graeme as a new Moody Blues percussionist, in the upcoming Moody Cruise III and subsequent spring Fly Me High What would you say was the deciding factor in choosing him for this very important position?
He sounds good – and looks good. I hope it works out for him, and us.
- What is the hardest part about getting a new band member settled into place?
It’s not hard – it should be a pleasure.
- Before the first 1987 ‘album’ release of Fly Me High on Prelude, the UK Midlands rock band Slade, (then known as Ambrose Slade), released the song on their 1969 debut album, Beginnings. How do you think their version compares to the single you and the band recorded 2 years earlier? https://youtu.be/c-6xF1lK1zo
I never knew about that. Their version is really similar to ours – that’s fine – I hope they enjoyed playing it.
- Question is, were you or the band ever aware of the apparent admiration that Slade must have had for the Moody Blues? Were there any friendships or other connections that helped fuel their track choices?
I don’t think we have met. They had a spectacular career though. Good luck to them.
- Is there anything you miss about the USA after you get home; besides all of your admirers?
Ah – room service? ESPN? American tour buses? The wide open spaces.
- Have you heard the very young UK singer/songwriter/guitarist George Ezra; particularly his song/video “Budapest”?
I really like George Ezra – Budapest – great record – lovely song – fab video.
- Do you find the cellphones and devices in the audiences during shows distracting while you are performing?
Doesn’t bother me – but more importantly, I hope it doesn’t bother the fans.
- What’s your view of the streaming digital (and often free) music on sites such as Spotify?
It’s all out there now – it’s a bit late to complain.
- Your “Watching and Waiting” video was so well put together and really seemed to capture the essence of your performance; how did it come about?
The Capitol Theatre is a great venue – David Minasian is a great director – it all fell into place. I’m so glad we recorded that night. It was lovely.
- Would you explain the function of the capo you use on some songs/guitars?
It shortens the playable length of the strings, so raising the pitch.
- If you could go back in time just how far would you go?
- Can you tell us what other instruments you play in addition to guitar?
Keyboards – most things with strings are not too complicated to play (except instruments that you have to bow)
- Do you enjoy flying?
20.What’s your favorite sound?
- What’s the first thing you usually notice about a person?
If they are male or female.
- What would be a possible title for your auto-biography were you ever to write it?
Do you have a favorite tv show in the USA?
I really liked ‘The Craig Ferguson Show’ – shame he moved on.
- What’s your view of the premise that one has to suffer for one’s art?
- We would love a Justin Hayward tourbook on your next solo tour; is that a possibility?
Ah. I’ll have to try and persuade the merchandise guys.
- In your gorgeous song “Dawning Is The Day” on “A Question of Balance” album how did you do those couple of very super-fast guitar riffs? Wish this song could be in your solo show someday; it’s a thriller.
That would be nice. Let me think about how that could work.
- We hope all your equipment turned out to be ok after the recent flood in the South of France?
All my gear was just fine thanks, but some carpets and pieces of furniture were damaged.
We are waiting with bated breath for your next project, can you give us a tiny clue about it?
Start breathing. It will probably be music.
- What comes harder; when writing a song; the beginning, the end or the title?
Often the beginning is the quickest. Unless a title is obvious (and even then I sometimes don’t use the obvious) it can take ages to come up with or decide on.
- Do you still have any of those outfits you wore in the 60s; capes, caftans, kimonos, etc?
I still have quite a bit of that stuff – in an old suitcase somewhere. I dread to think what condition it’s all in.
- What instrument is that on the beginning of “Haunted” from the album “Strange Times” that sounds like a mix of steel drums and xylophone?
It’s a sampled xylophone/marimba sound.
- My almost 19 year old son collects vinyl records and recently discovered the classic “Days of Future Passed”. He will now be attending a Moodies concert with me in March. How does it feel to see a young man of that age digging your music?
Oh that’s great. So nice to hear.
- Would you ever consider following in your fellow Moody Blues’ footsteps and live full or part-time in the USA?
I’m really happy in Europe – it’s home for me.
- Given that you wear your watch on your right hand as most left-handed persons do, do you have any left-handed tendencies? Is there anything you do with your left hand?
It’s not very interesting, sorry, but I type mostly with my left hand
- How did you like the recent youtube in October of the ‘Moodies Unplugged’ backing Tom Jones on “It’s A Hang Up Baby 1969” by Revolver Records & Video?
Great singer – nice looking Gibson 335 too.
- Are you a lucid dreamer? Do you ever wake up to find you’ve dreamed a new song?
I have dreamt a songs once or twice , and woken and jotted them down. In the morning they didn’t seem so good. That’s dreamin’ for ya!
- Are you a good money manager?
- Do you ever miss the psychedelia days as portrayed in the recent airing of the BBC documentary “Psychedelic Britannia” that you appeared on? Do you feel some of your best work was created during that period?
It was time to move on.
- A new book was just published called “Backstage Pass Redcar Jazz Club” with a ‘who’s who’ gallery of photos of British bands who played there in the 60s including The Moodies; is this the jazz club mentioned in your song “Top Rank Suite” on your “Octave” album?
No. That was in Paris, and in 1966 we used to go there late at night as the food was cheap.
- Please tell us we will hear “The Actor” live again one day?
I do hope so.
- The Romantic era composer Edvard Grieg (1867-1907) kept a frog figurine in his pocket at all times and would rub it before each concert for good luck. Do you have any lucky charms?
I always have a plectrum – does that count?