New Q&A With JustinPosted on 12/30/2013
Here’s the latest Q&A with Justin.
1. Do you have a favorite ‘traditional’ holiday meal and/or dessert?
I like the usual English traditional Christmas dishes that have been the same since I was a child – roast turkey, Brussels sprouts, roast potatoes, followed by Christmas pudding.
2. When you visit with family and friends during the Christmas season, does anyone put on the Moody Blues’ December CD?
Not yet, thank goodness.
3. Dec 2013 marked the 10-year anniversary of the release of December, and December Snow remained a part of the regular setlist until 2006. A decade later, how do you feel about the album, and does at least December Snow have a future as a possible return to the setlist?
I was never sure about the concept – I’m still not sure it was a good idea. But there were some nice songs on it, and it seemed the right thing to do at the time.
4. Do you have any estimation of when your solo live DVD might be ready for release?
5. Will a CD version include everything that will be on the DVD?
I must check that point.
6. Are you missing your TA tele yet?
Now that you come to mention it – and now I am back home for a week or so – yes.
7. Since the French were the first to fall in love with Nights In White Satin and elevate it to #1 status, and the band performed there a lot from the beginning, how important do you feel they were to the band’s early success and development?
They kept the band going in the first year. Without the gigs in France, and the success there of ‘Nights’ a year after I joined the band, things could have come apart. The French public, and the French music business were our lifeline. Paris is such a wonderful city, and in the mid sixties it was supreme. We felt like honoured guests of the Parisians and also owe a great debt to the people of Belgium who looked after us in those days.
8. Was there ever any conscious effort to cultivate a following with the French in those days, or did it just seem to happen that way?
There was no plan – it just happened. There has never been a plan to cultivate anything in the Moodies.
9. When did you first meet Tom Jones?
When I was with Marty Wilde in 1965.
10. According to fan ‘band lore and history’, the Mark II Moodies’ first known personal experience with Tom was to perform after an appearance by him was found to be too short at a gig in spring of 1967 at the Olympia in Paris. This purportedly led to the band opening for him for the remainder of his European tour that year, but next to nothing is known about that era. What can you tell us about how you and the band came to work with him?
We had the same agent. Colin Berlin, who was my agent before I came to the Moodies, and after Brian Epstein, we went with Colin.
11. What was it like to appear on Tom Jones’ show, and did you or the band have any contact with him in later years?
I loved it. We’ve run into him a few times over the years.
12. Of all the radio and TV shows you appeared on around the world, what one(s) did you enjoy most?
Easybeat on BBC radio and Top Of The Pops on BBC TV.
13. When you and the Moodies toured in countries whose native language was something other than English, how were interpreter needs usually handled?
We only had an interpreter once – in Japan. The promoter booked him and he was excellent. Our management were not happy though as they wanted him to get angry and more forceful. But I liked him.
14. Do you know if the Timeless Flight Moody Blues Box Set has met sales expectations thus far?
I understand that Universal sold all the copies that they pressed.
15. Have you seen the Moody Cruise’ line of custom-decorated acoustic Epiphone guitars (to be autographed) that will be used to reward fans who successfully refer someone to book the cruise? If so, what did you think of it?
I like it. But I haven’t played one. It looks like the same model guitar that Julie Raggins plays on stage. It sounds nice when she plays it. The artwork on the cruise guitar looks amazing.
16. What were the acoustics like for your performances on the previous cruise, and how does it compare to a more usual venue?
I think I used a rented 12 string guitar last time – it was OK, but not as nice as my own Taylor 12.
17. Have you had any contact with Timon (aka Tymon Dogg) since your 1970 recording sessions for one of his 45’s (And Now She Says She Is Young/I’m Just A Travelling Man)?
No. He is such a good songwriter, and we had some fun together and made some good music.
18. What did you contribute to those 2 Timon songs?
I think I played on them both, but I can’t remember that much about the sessions except that they were in the new Threshold studio and I enjoyed them very much.
19. Can you confirm your presence on a Billie Davis session for either of the songs, I Can Remember or I Want You To Be My Baby?
Yes. I think both were produced, and recorded at the Threshold studios by our friend Michael Aldred.
20. What was the turning point when you moved from rep theater as a young boy to strictly a career in music?
I was never in rep. I was just playing guitar for a rep company when they performed a musical. I was never anything but a musician. But I kept in touch with all the boys and girls in the company and in the school holidays I would meet up with them and join them in a summer show.
21. Can you keep a secret?
Do you want to tell me something?
22. What are you thinking about during your awesome guitar solo in the song “You & Me”?
I think I’m thinking about the next phrase and next note, but thankfully it just seems to flow. It’s such a clearly defined solo that I don’t remember having time to drift off and think about anything else. The guitar really speaks in that solo – it seems to take over my hands and play itself. It was spontaneous when we recorded it, and that was probably because of the ‘open’ sound of those particular notes on that guitar.
23. So many of your songs on “Spirits of the Western Sky” feel so honest, sincere and fervent, do you feel a responsibility to write and sing only about what you truly believe in?
Thank you. I can only write from the heart – it doesn’t work if I don’t believe it.
24. One sees these songwriting workshops and clinics advertised; do you believe the craft of songwriting can be taught?
Probably. I think you should record songs as soon as you can though, no matter what the cost.
25. What’s your favorite pastime on the tour bus?
Sitting up front, seeing America.
26. What’s the one thing you always have to have in your refrigerator?
Greek Yoghurt and Feta cheese.
27. Did you get to meet or contact Bettye Lavette yet and thank her for her version of “Nights” you so loved?
She wrote to me. Lovely.
28. Do you prefer performing with just you and a guitar (as in the Bennett studio in NY on dvd) or would you rather have a few backup players behind you?
The other musicians I work with are always a pleasure and a joy to be with and play with. But, I just like to play.
29. What is your idea of how to spend a perfect New Year’s Eve?
With family, or close friends. But I don’t really mark anniversaries of events or set much store by dates. Each day, we all begin anew once more.
30. Is there a recording somewhere of you singing “Go Now” back in the day that you may ever let us hear?
If there is a recording of it I’ve not heard it. It’s never a question of me ‘letting’ anybody hear anything, I don’t control releases. I would imagine all the recordings from those days would belong to Decca or a radio station.
31. What sort of lasting impression do you hope your work will have on other people?
That a door is opened into another part of their imagination.
32. Do you sing in the shower?
33. Do you feel that you chose your ‘passion’ or did it choose you?
I had a desire to play – that’s all.
34. Do you or the band have any stipulations in contracts as to what you absolutely must have backstage or in dressing rooms?
We have a ‘rider’ – a simple one – nothing odd I’m afraid. Although we still have hot coffee at every gig. Our late manager, Tom Hulett, always liked one, so we kept it on in his memory even though none of us drinks it. And often our guests like a cup.
35. Do you usually listen to music with headphones or speakers that fill the room with music?
I still use a couple of pairs of Genelec studio monitors that deliver true sound, and I love listening through them
36. How did you find your creative niche?
I think my own style found me.