Justin Answers Your QuestionsPosted on 04/20/2011
Justin Hayward takes a moment to answer more of your questions. If you would like to ask Justin a question, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line Q&A
1. How did you achieve that ‘screaming’ guitar sound on the opening of the song, “Once Is Enough”?
The 335 through a loud amp I think. Most of it was recorded in my old music room.
2. What is the one thing you MUST have backstage (besides your guitars)?
I thought about this for about ten minutes until I realised that the answer is nothing else beside my guitars – and on the War Of The Worlds tours I didn’t even need them
3. You state in your latest letter on your website that in very early 1967 performances the band was even including comedy numbers. Did you mean comic songs or telling jokes? Can you give an example?
Comedy songs – and I have forgotten them, thank goodness! They got chucked out with our Blue Suits (the suit only got as far as the loft though – I still have it).
4. What’s on your nightstand?
I’m not sure what a nightstand is. If it’s a bedside table, A clock.
5. Who was your favorite singer to work with?
Mike Pinder, John and Ray.
6. What’s your favorite dessert?
Haagen Dazs ice cream.
7. Do you have a favorite restaurant that you always come to when on tour in the US?
The US has some wonderful restaurants – I love all kinds of food and I wouldn’t want to single any out as there is great food everywhere, if you look (But I wish P.F. Chang’s, and some of those other great chains where the recipes are guaranteed, were in Europe – I’d go).
8. Any chance the band plans to put out an album from one of the recent (2010) shows? I wouldn’t mind hearing the Asheville concert again recorded live.
Ahh, Asheville. Maybe it’s on YouTube already.
9. When you first started touring, was there anything about audiences that really surprised you?
That they turned up!
10. What do you think of Pink Floyd as a band and specifically David Gilmour as a guitarist?
Er – good, and umm – good.
11. Could you share any memories of the late Alison Steele (The Nightbird)?
She was the most gracious, interesting, informed, charming and stunningly beautiful person. She was absolutely unique and I was privileged to have known her and to play a small part in her legendary radio story. When I first met her (she helped Songwriter to get in the US charts) it was the most wonderful time in both our careers
12. When did you first start learning to play guitar? And do you think your skills on guitar have improved while with the band at an early age?
I was eight years old and I started on a ukulele, like a lot of children then. I pestered my parents for a guitar and when it eventually arrived I was in heaven. I could already play it after a fashion because the Uke is only the same relative tuning as the top four strings of a guitar.
Skills? Turning pro so young definitely pushed things along for me. Some players have an almost unbelievable, ethereal skill – Derek Trucks? I saw him play on a festival we did a few years ago and he played things that I didn’t think were possible on a guitar.
13. What advice do you have for starting musicians, to be a good session musician, and guitar player?
Practise, and remember the right hand is just as important as the left – it can give you that foot-tapping swing.
14. Upon realizing your success, what was your first real big purchase that scared you and thrilled you?
Being thrilled and scared at the same time is a nice thought. I have no idea how to answer the question though.
15. Do you think you would have been a better guitar player if you weren’t also a singer?
I could always be a better guitar player and a better singer, but I suppose who knows?
16. What is it about your red 335 that makes it special to you, and what is it that makes its tone so exceptional?
17. What is your current favorite acoustic guitar?
Same as always, my D28, it never fails.
18. Are you still in touch with Eric Stewart? Do you think it’s possible you’ll ever musically collaborate with him again at some point?
It would be nice wouldn’t it? We made some great sounds together, and like The Nightbird, it was a wonderful time for us both in the studio in Stockport, which I had a share in, and working with the other Hotlegs guys. We recorded Blue Guitar just for our own pleasure.
19. Whenever you make mention of music you appreciate, it’s rarely similar to anything you write or play. Do you think musicians commonly don’t like to listen to the kind of music they play themselves? Is that too similar to the shoemaker going home and making shoes?
I don’t know, sorry.
20. When is the most recent time you just ‘jammed’ with other musicians?
On the last tour.
21. Do you enjoy the freedom of improvisation?
Sure – all musicians do I think, but real satisfaction, for me, comes from finding structure and form in music.
22. When you’ve made radio and TV appearances over the years with and without John, sometimes you do an acoustic performance. Usually the songs are something from whatever current album was going on, more often it’s one or two standards from the catalog, like NIWS or Tuesday Afternoon. MOST OFTEN, do you choose what’s to be performed in those situations, or are you given specific requests or both?
Sometimes you just have to play the well-known songs, yes, it’s required, and that’s OK by me. Those are great to play. Most times it’s to do with promoting a work, and if there is an opportunity I’ll include lesser know songs, if I can.
23. What was the most difficult interview situation you’ve ever been in?
A newspaper interviewer once asked me “What’s it like?” That was his only question.
24. When was the last concert you attended as a spectator, and whom did you see perform?
I saw Steely Dan – they were exceptional, particularly Donald.
25. What was the most significant thing you ever learned from watching someone else perform?
You gotta mean it!