Justin Q&A – August 2011Posted on 08/15/2011
Justin Hayward is back on MoodyBluesToday.com to answer more of your questions.
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1. How do you get your laundry done on tour, being on the move almost daily?
I have several sets of the same clothes, so if something is right for stage I usually buy as many as I possibly can of each item, often by mail order, as shops only carry one or two XL’s. Re laundry, I wait until I am in a hotel I know can be trusted (we’ve been on the road for so many years there are a lot of those now) and I have it done there, or do it myself at the gig.
2. Do you read the reviews of your live shows?
3. What’s the one thing, aside from food & drink, that you can absolutely never resist?
A guitar and a woman.
4. You said at the May 2011 Kansas City show you got kicked out of the hotel the first time you played there. Would you tell us why?
The police chief got it into his head that we (or some of us) were smoking dope in the hotel. He was right of course.
5. Did you ever get in trouble in school? What did you do and what was your punishment?
Not often – but I picked up a few detentions though, and once I got caned by the headmaster – it didn’t hurt.
6. Are you still up during the wee hours of the mornings writing songs as you have said you were in the past?
Oh yes – when all the worlds asleep.
7. Do you still have your “Buddy Holly glasses” (with no glass in them) of your youth? We’d love to see a photo of you wearing them.
I’m afraid not. I don’t tend to keep, or hoard many things.
8. What is the most difficult song to reproduce live?
If one were too difficult I wouldn’t do it.
9. Some of your songs, like “Story in your eyes”, give me chills almost every time I play it. What songs do the same for you?
Lots do. One that never fails is Danny William’s version of ‘Moon River’ (that’s Danny not Andy!). Danny’s was the English recording. Another is ‘Lilac Wine’ by Nina Simone.
10. We always like to know what you’re reading. I enjoyed The Unicorn and The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch. Years ago when I was in high school I read Pillars of the Earth and all of Nigel Barley’s books because of your suggestions. Do you have any new suggestions?
Jorge Luis Borges
11. When (if) you read newspapers, which section do you turn to first? Sports? Arts & Entertainment? World, national or local news? Business?
I rarely read newspapers – when I was a boy people used to say ‘they are just tomorrows chip paper’ (because they used to sell fish and chips wrapped in newspaper).
12. Your cross Canada tour covers so many miles (I will be seeing you in Winnipeg – can’t wait!). How do keep your sanity driving across all those thousands of miles?
We’re all mad!
13. Are there any more unreleased Moody songs from the “Classic” era to be released in the future or has everything already been released?
If it hasn’t been released it wasn’t good enough.
14. Have you ever thought about getting together with Jeff Lynne of (ELO) and maybe producing a song together?
Why? He doesn’t need me.
15. Will War of the Worlds ever be performed in the United States?
It has been muted many times – do you think there would be an audience for it? The Americans know Forever Autumn but I don’t believe they know the rest of the album.
I could be wrong though.
16. Name a composition or two that sounded almost exactly as you conceived them when they came out of production. What songs evolved radically from their inception?
I think I have always tried to take the true essence of the first written song and made sure that came through in the recording. There were quite a lot of Moodies recordings that were constructed in the studio though, and they were always fun to work on because you could more or less play anything. On my own songs I have always preferred to work by getting the real feeling of the original song, as I wrote it, on to a recording. I find that more satisfying.
17. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you use a 12-string electric guitar. Have you ever used one in the studio or live? What do you think of the sound?
Yes I have – maybe they are just not pushed forward in the mix. (I don’t remember playing one live) I have a nice Roger Mcguinn Rickenbacker that I use now and again.
18. What’s your workout/exercise schedule on the road?
Get to a gym every day if at all possible. It’s often the only time I have to myself to think.
19. Regarding the childhood photos on the album sleeve in Sur La Mere. How old were you in those snapshots and where were they taken?
Probably after school, or on holiday. But I don’t know or remember how old I was – sorry.
20. Have you ever considered recording American Standard songs for your next solo album, since you said Moon River was one of your favorite songs?
I prefer to do my own songs, and I think they did those songs right in the first place, on the original recordings.
21. In so many MB songs, there is a high pitched vocal, perhaps a falsetto, sometimes almost choral-like back up. I would say it is part of the MB sound. In the recordings who sang that? Was it ever the Melotron?
Usually a combination of the four of us in falsetto, that’s Mike, Ray, me and John. But, it’s possible that sometimes it was the Melotron – there were some choir sounds on it.
22. In “Is This Heaven,” how were the “slapping” sounds made? And, how was it done so that they seem to change pitch?
We booked a real tap dancer to dance round the studio, in time, and Tony Visconti put lots of mikes up, so the guy tapped round the stereo.
23. Is there anything in this life you haven’t done that you want to do?
Umm – can’t think of anything just now, but if I really wanted to I would have done it – but every day brings new ideas. Something will come up.
24. I have an ES-335, and with a Marshall pedal, the sound is very similar to the solos of the first records. Did you use a fuzz unit, or it was just a Marshall amp? Do you use other pedals, like phaser, flanger? Have you ever tried a guitar synth?
It was most times just through a Vox AC30 amp turned full up in the Normal channel, and I still use my old Marshall fuzz unit (it’s not a pedal). I have played Guitar Synth on lots of recordings – I love it. Maybe you think it’s keyboards, but a lot of the time it’s guitar synth. I first started using it a lot on The Other Side Of Life LP – in fact the title track is almost all guitar synth.
25. How do you play “Question” so fast? And without dropping your plectrum?
What type of pick do you use?
Probably just goes back to playing Skiffle. A Gibson medium plectrum or similar.
I have dropped it a couple of times.
26. I noticed in the Isle of Wight DVD that you weren’t using your Bigsby tremolo on your 335. You do use it live all the time now. Was it a tuning issue or something else? It was great to see your 335 at 7 years old.
Yes, I didn’t use it much in those days; but things are so much better to hear now with in ear monitors on stage.