Justin Hayward Q&A – September 2012

Posted on 09/17/2012

Justin Hayward is back to answer more of your questions!

Have a question for the next Q&A opportunity with Justin?  Send it tocustomerservice@moodybluestoday.com with the subject line: Q&A

Years ago you bought a lute, used in a couple of promo photos, purportedly to work on an album with Ray Thomas during the mid-70’s hiatus. Did you ever do anything with that lovely instrument (besides sell it, I mean)?
Yes, I think I still have the instrument you mean (I have a couple of ancient stringed things) – unfortunately it is almost impossible to keep in tune and there are better sounding similar instruments. I don’t remember the ‘’working on an album with Ray’’ part of the question, but it was probably a nice idea at the time.

Can you give us the final definitive word on what happened re: the gig to have been played in China in 1974? (there have been a few conflicting stories)
As I remember (and there will be different memories from each of the band members), the promoters just didn’t come up with a contract or a guarantee of work visas. Both of which were essential. It wasn’t our idea to go, we were invited to play there. It was a project that we all got excited about – it just didn’t happen.

Over 3 years ago, you participated in a TV episode of “Legends & Lyrics.” Is there any chance that this show will ever be aired? What happened that put it on the back burner?
I inquired about this show only recently – it was so beautifully filmed and immaculately recorded. I’m told the production company is still looking for funding to finish the complete series. Apparently the BBC is really keen to show it. Hope so!

Most fans are familiar with the story of how you sold your first red ES-335 the day before you joined the Moodies. Other than that one, have you ever sold a guitar and later wished you hadn’t?
I sold a lot of guitars in the 1980’s because I don’t like keeping them if I don’t play them. But I wish I had kept a 1959 blonde Gibson 345 because it was so rare and beautiful.

If you could have your pick of all the best musicians in the world (excluding the ones you already have in the band), who would you wish to have in the fantasy band you would create?
I truly don’t know the answer to that. There are a few bands I would like to have been in – The Shadows, The Crickets, or playing acoustic guitar with Steely Dan?

Right after the release of “Songwriter,” you mentioned you put together a little band with plans to tour Britain together in the following month of May. No doubt the project was shelved due to the reuniting for “Octave,” but do you recall who the musicians were that you planned to tour with at that time?
Yes, that’s right. Octave came along and that was the right thing to work on then.  However, the band with me would have been the guys from Trapeze, who all played on the Songwriter album – that’s Dave Holland, Terry Rowley and the late dear Mel Galley. It would have been fab.

A lot is coming up for the band in the next year or so, but among the plans is this ‘Moodies Cruise.’ Was there any hesitation about agreeing to do this one, and what made you decide this is right for you and the band?
Yes, I think there was some hesitation, but then we thought ‘why not?’ and I for one am looking forward to it.

Are there any special plans for dusting off any new songs for that upcoming cruise (or the late fall US tour)?
Maybe, don’t know yet.

Have you ever been on a cruise, and if so, what did you think of it?
Yes, a couple of times. We did a ‘corporate’ one with the Moodies a few years ago and it was lovely. I also have been on one for a short holiday. Loved it!

UK/European Moody fans have rigidly expected a tour every two years, what happened that made the band decide to postpone the expected 2012 European tour to 2013?
Live Nation, the promoters, and our agents in the UK, couldn’t get the venue availability this year, so it was their decision to put it together for 2013.

Can you explain any of the intricacies of your guitar work in the middle of the song, Higher & Higher?
Of course me, Gordy, Alan and John love playing it live. I remember in the studio when Graeme had the great idea, which is the whole essence of the song. The musical arrangement of the chords was a group effort and I just improvised the guitar riff while having fun with the rhythm track because it needed something to start the song and fill the gaps between the lyrics. Nowadays we even sing my riff on stage too!  About the solo in the middle, it just gave me a chance to have fun with lots of ‘bits’ of solo’s I had been waiting to use.

In the last tour, the band changed up what songs were to be included in a show on a near-nightly basis. Save for the odd change-up now and then in the past, this was a first. So now that it’s behind you, what did you think about it? Was it more fun and challenging, or did it feel unnatural or disorganized?
I liked it, and I hope we continue with that format.

One of the somewhat experimental trends today with other bands, is to provide a list of songs for the audience to choose from as requests to play on that particular night. Would trying something like that with the Moody Blues be out of the question (noting that it seems the band has NEVER done requests).
Yes, that’s right. I can’t ever remember doing requests, apart from “can you play ‘Another Time Another Place?” Anywhere but here!
Your concept of the audience choosing the songs seems like a recipe for some uncomfortable nights on the bus.

The tour this November includes a double night at Westbury, New York, a venue with a round, revolving stage. The band played there in the last US tour as well. How does working on a revolving stage change the performing experience for you, and is there something about it that you or the band like?
It’s very different from a normal gig because we can’t use all our great production, sound system and visuals. It’s difficult for the crew, especially the sound guys. But we all like that venue, it’s good fun – like a gig from the sixties.

How does performing in a casino differ for you from shows performed in other types of venues?
The only thing that’s different is that the Casino management usually wants a shorter show. We sadly have to drop numbers. But, Casino’s are always really great gigs to play during a long tour as we get to stay at the venue and are always very well looked after. And we are closer with the fans, which is nice.

Now that Gibson Guitar has reached a ‘settlement’ with US Feds (Aug. 2012) do you feel more comfortable bringing your Gibson 335 into the USA?
Yes, absolutely. What a daft fuss that all was!

Your custom Tom Anderson electric guitar has failed to make its debut in a concert thus far. Was this because you managed to fix your red ES-335, and therefore could relax about needing a stand-in, or was that never the reason behind getting that guitar made?
I love my Tom Anderson guitar and record with it a lot. It’s fabulous and a real thrill to play. But, I keep thinking – ‘do I need it on the road? What songs would I drop the 335 for?’. Don’t know. But, I certainly play it all the time.

WHEN is Gibson going to create the Justin Hayward Signature Guitar?
They have asked me, which I’m thrilled about. I just need to find the time for them to study my 335 for a while. So, it could be that the process starts soon I hope.

Is that you on the piano on Songwriter Part 2 on your Songwriter solo album?
Yes. I wrote it on my home piano and played it live on the recording on the full size Yamaha grand piano in Decca No1 studio.

What’s your favorite song to belt out in the car?
I may as well own up – Tuesday Afternoon.

Years ago you mentioned in an interview that there were other songs ‘on the shelf’ that were done with 10CC during the sessions that produced “Blue Guitar.” Any chance THOSE will ever see the light of day at some point in the future or is that all left in the past? What were those songs like, and was anything from those later incorporated into other projects?
Yes, there were a couple of other tracks that Eric, Lol, Kevin, Graham and me recorded at that time in Strawberry Studios in Stockport around 1974/75.  Who knows where the tapes are now? – Not me I’m afraid. I didn’t use the songs anywhere else.

Any new songs or artists catch your fancy, lately?
Almost every day there is someone I hear that turns me on. Too many to single out anyone in particular I’m afraid as I like individual recordings, like I used to love 45 singles years ago.

Have the recent audio releases on Amazon and iTunes by other band members (Graeme’s book, and Alan’s new single) in any way softened you to the concept of a digital release?
I never had any problem with digital releases at all.

Have you been approached for any session work in recent times?
I wish I had the time.

At least 2 dozen unreleased vintage Moody video clips (mostly French and Belgian) have surfaced on the internet in the last couple of years, would there be any chance these could be collected and released on DVD for Moody fans, or is that too much of a logistical and legal nightmare to do something like that?
There have been a couple of proposals. Trouble is, so much is on YouTube already and very little is still to be uncovered, to my knowledge.

What was the title of the unreleased song you did on French TV in 1968; partial lyrics were “once again their minds have all been blown…what a beautiful dream.. ” – or what was the song about?
I think it was called “Beautiful Dream” but those lyrics don’t sound familiar.

What do you use for a ringtone on your cell phone? A favorite song for the purpose known to be used by some Moody fans is “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere.” 🙂
That’s really nice. Sadly I just usually use the first one on the phones internal list.

If you could turn back the clock on your career as a musician, where would you let it stop?
Probably at ‘Forever Autumn’. It was such great fun, a great hit song, and no pressure on me.

Who gave the best party you ever attended, and what made it so good?
A gorgeous lady in the S of France at a big beautiful house and gardens. It was called ‘The Summer Romance Party’. Wouldn’t you love it?

What are your feelings or thoughts on doing “Dawning Is the Day” at live concerts?
Hmm. Could be good.

If you could choose a theme song, what would it be? (aside from “Nights”)
When I Fall In Love.