Moody Blues bassist John Lodge keeps their music alive in Ocean City, NJ
The Moody Blues are no longer touring, but John Lodge, the legendary bass player, vocalist and songwriter of the iconic rock band, is bringing his classic Moody Blues show to the Ocean City Music Pier on Monday, July 25, as part of their summer concert series.
I got to speak with him on a "Tuesday Afternoon," of all days.
Why did the band stop touring?
Lodge: "I really don't know. We had a fantastic show, we recorded a live version of 'Days Of Future Passed' and we performed on stage for one tour only and that was it, really. I really don't know. But, you know, I'm one of those persons where I don't investigate, why or what or whatever, you know?"
Why do you feel the need to keep performing The Moody Blues?
Lodge: "I've been a Moody Blue all my life, and I will be a Moody Blue forever. You know, these songs we've done on stage for all these years, they're part of my life, my journey through my life and a journey through my musical life. You know, without these songs, without me writing or performing on them, they wouldn't have existed. So I wanted to keep something we invented alive really. That's really what it is. I just love the music, from day one, which we've written together, performed together and recorded together."
How did you come to write I'm just a singer in a rock and roll band?
Lodge: "I wrote it at my home in England, in what was just a music room at the time, a quiet space, I think. We had just finished a tour of America, and I got home and there's a whole load of people sort of camping in my front yard.
"So I said, ‘What are you doing?’ And they said, ‘Well, we're here waiting for the spaceship.’ I said, ‘What do you mean?’ And they said, ‘Well, we know you're going to fly it for us.” I said, ‘You know, I actually don't like flying. So I'm not going to be flying a spaceship.’
"I realized people were bestowing on us things that they shouldn't bestow on us. And we're just exactly the same as other people. We might be writing about what's happening in the world, but we know nothing else than everyone else knows. And I just wanted to say, ‘Hey, I'm just a singer in a rock and roll band playing my music.’ But I do end up on the last line saying, ‘We're all just singers in a rock and roll band.’ Let's just get that straight. Let's just be the person and enjoy music and enjoy life."
In the 1980s, the Moody Blues had a resurgence. It starts with "Gemini Dream." Long time no see. What was the thought process behind “Gemini Dream” and the relaunch?
Lodge: "Well, it was exactly that. We’d made an album before called Octave, which was not really the album that was to relaunch the Moody’s. For me, Octave was the last of the albums we were gonna record in that way"
"The original working title of 'Gemini Dream' was ‘Back on the road in the USA’ or something like that… The album was a critical success and we decided we were going to go on the road, promote it, and have a great time really playing the music."
“We hadn't been on the road really for so many years and it's like, ‘OK, long time no see.' That was what it's all about. We haven't seen you for ages. And that was ‘Gemini Dream’ really because we've gone on the road as musicians, but for five years before that we were at home, doing what everyone else does, you know, we weren't on the road, we may be recording. We weren't on the road. That was the sort of Gemini Dream, who we were at that time."
Lodge: "We were exploring all the new ways of recording. The equipment was changing. When we started, really, there was a Mellotron of flute, bass, and guitar, center drums and harmonies. And during the 80s, you had the Apple computers and everything else coming along, and you could experiment with different ways of recording. We really enjoyed that, I think, you know, finding new ways of recording in the studio. And that led to all the different types of music we were doing, I think probably in the 80s and early 90s."
What's your favorite Moody Blues song? What's the Moody Blues song John Lodge has the most fun playing?
Lodge: "Oh, the most fun I have is in ‘Singer in a Rock and Roll Band.’ Yeah, that’s the song I love performing on stage. Not because of my performance, but because of the musicians in my band. And anyone coming to the concert on the 25th will understand what I mean. The musicians handle that song brilliantly."
For tickets to see John Lodge perform The Moody Blues at the Ocean City Music Pier, Click here.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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