Justin Answers YOUR Questions!Posted on 03/17/2011
1. Would you ever consider performing the song called “Island” on tour? And could you tell some history behind this song?
I wrote it for an album that we started to make after ‘Seventh Sojourn’ but was abandoned after a couple of days in the studio. Tony and I were upstairs recording in the Decca Tollington Park studio when the roadie came up from the canteen and said ‘the other guys would like to speak to you.’ We both went down and Mike told us that he and the others didn’t want to continue. Mike was leaving to live in the US and he didn’t want to work with Tony anymore anyway, that much was clear to me at that time. The other guys hadn’t written anything to record to my knowledge, but that was not unusual as, apart from Mike, they usually wrote things in the studio after we had started – maybe it was just the wrong time.
I thought I was the only one with a copy, which I got from the engineer Derek Varnals on the day, but the Universal researchers found another take – I don’t think you’ll ever hear it on stage. I only gave it the title “Island’ when Universal said it would eventually be released. I didn’t consider it was finished.
2. Have you ever thought about making new videos for any of the Core 7?
A compilation of us doing the songs, at around the time they were recorded, would be good.
3. Have you ever talked about or thought of making a new Moody CD like a DEMO with new music and just selling it at the concerts?
Better a proper album.
4. What is something YOU enjoy cooking?
5. As a very young man you toured the Middle East with UK music star Marty Wilde before you joined the Moody Blues. Do you have any memories or stories of that time you can share?
For the duration of the tour I shared a room with a stand up comic who needed a stiff drink every morning just to get going. We were ‘entertaining the troops,’ (British and UN), and we had ‘officer status’ on all bases which was handy. Amazing to think of all the places in North Africa and the middle East where the British had military bases – no wonder they didn’t like Brits! I got spat at in the street in Libya just for being English, the guy screamed ‘filthy English’ as he berated me – all I could think of was to say ‘sorry!’ – we apparently upset the locals so much just by being there, although that didn’t stop them thriving around the bases. I spent the whole tour, which was several weeks long, with sunglasses on and a Bob Dylan hat – I didn’t see that much at all – there wasn’t much to see. Marty was absolutely great, he handled it all wonderfully and he was brilliant, he was my hero.
6. You’ve stated you played piano on some songs on the Strange Times album, can you tell us which songs?
I played a piano phrase on Strange Times, and some keyboard parts on all the songs I wrote for the album.
7. What’s the best part about living in Europe?
History/Scenery/Culture/Beautiful women. But the last bit applies everywhere you live!
8. What are the chances of another concert tour of New Zealand?
I would love to go back, I hope a promoter asks us (that’s the way it works, unfortunately, we can’t just decide to go somewhere and then do a tour, someone has to book us) – I absolutely loved it there, on the War of The Worlds tour and with the Moodies.
9. Can you please tell us about the lead and bass guitar tuning in the live version of “Top Rank Suite” on the remastered version of Octave?
It’s just normal tuning I’m afraid.
10. Will we ever see the remaining Moody Blues albums remastered?
Hope so, and I hope Universal asks me to do it.
11. In your long and amazing career, what would you say was the absolute highlight? What was a moment you would like to forget?
Playing Madison Square Garden twice in one day in the early 70’s – they gave us the “Golden Ticket’ award for selling the most seats – well they would wouldn’t they for selling out twice in one day?
Worst? Three weeks in Cabaret in the Northern clubs in early ’67 before we started doing only our own songs.
12. Where were you when you heard about the death of Buddy Holly and then Elvis?
Buddy – I was in a chemistry class at school when the boy next to me said ‘Hey, YOUR Buddy Holly’s dead.’ I didn’t believe him, til I got home, then I was devastated – I still am when I think of what we have missed.
Elvis – I was in LA. I had just heard he had recorded ‘Moody Blue’.
13. Justin do you have any unreleased things on the shelf, maybe things done with 10cc?
14. There is a tabloid story about the band almost going down in a plane over the North Pole (1991???), is this real or fake?
The only thing it could refer to is: When we were on the way to Japan in ’74 the windscreen of the plane shattered completely. The aircraft made an emergency landing at an air base in Alaska, and we all bought fur coats (a certain buy for all suddenly arriving passengers!) ’cause we had to wait in the freezing terminal till another plane arrived. If the plane was ‘almost going down’ they didn’t tell me!