November 22, 2017
Arts & Entertainment
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  • Moody Blues bassist John Lodge just concluded a U.S. tour for his album “10,000 Light Years Ago.”
    Moody Blues bassist John Lodge just concluded a U.S. tour for his album “10,000 Light Years Ago.”

Moody Blues Bassist John Lodge Staying Busy

Zach Sparks
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November 10, 2017

As part of the British Invasion in the 1960s, the Moody Blues could be forgiven if they got lost among the likes of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, but instead, they gained a following with their mix of rock, pop and classical music centered on themes of compassion and peace.

Fifty years after the release of their sophomore album, “Days of Future Passed,” the band celebrated by announcing a U.S. tour and releasing a deluxe edition of their landmark record, which hits store shelves November 17. But before fans listened to “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Nights In White Satin” live, they had the opportunity to watch bassist, vocalist and songwriter John Lodge perform at Rams Head On Stage November 6. Lodge shared songs from “10,000 Lights Years Ago,” his solo album released in 2015.

We chatted with Lodge to get his thoughts on touring to promote his solo work, CD/DVD special “John Lodge: Live From Birmingham,” reunion with his former bandmates and recent Moody Blues’ Hall of Fame nomination.

Q: You toured a year ago in England to support “10,000 Light Years Ago.” Why are you excited to bring that material to the U.S.?

A: When I was doing the tour in England, the last concert I played was at Birmingham Town Hall, and Birmingham Town Hall is an iconic venue. I was born in Birmingham. Birmingham Town Hall is where all the great American rock and roll artists would appear, like Eddie Cochran. Buddy Holly came along with the Crickets and I’m a total Billy Holly man, and I was there in the front row when I was about 13 years of age seeing Buddy Holly onstage. So I said to my agent, “I want to end the tour at Birmingham Town Hall and I‘m going to film and record it and release it as a double album on vinyl.” When I put all that together and released it and the American fans were saying, “John, you’ve got to come to America.” It’s a great opportunity to release the DVD live from Birmingham with the album and to tour in America, so it’s all completed a circle for me.

Q: Rams Head is an intimate venue as were most of the stops on your tour.

A: Yeah … I started off when I was 15 and you played to 20, 30 people a night in youth clubs or halls or wherever it is, so you grew up in an intimate setting. Growing up in England, there’s a lot of very small theaters, which we performed at growing up. We had a thing in England, onstage sometimes, you’d really need to hear a pin drop. You could do that in a theater. Smaller theaters, because songs like “Isn’t Life Strange,” you could take down to zero volume and there’s something that happens there emotionally with an audience.

Q: When you were writing “10,000 Light Years Ago,” where did you come up with the concept?

A: With the advent of vinyl albums, it really excited me to make an album on 180 gram vinyl. I had this mantra going all the while that the past is gone forever but the future is already in reach. And when you look at the sky at night and you see a million stars out there, a lot of that light has come from somewhere else and you can’t travel back there because where that light emitted from, it’s probably no longer there. It may be an explosion, it may be whatever. And I thought, “That’s what my life and all of our lives are about, really.” Not to look back, but what brought me here today is what happened a long, long time ago and you can’t revisit it because it doesn’t exist anymore, but it’s molded who I am and it’s brought me to this time in my life, so that’s what I was trying to get over. Never look back. Something tomorrow is always achievable.

Q: The Moody Blues have been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There’s a wide range of genres and generations represented in the nominees between Bon Jovi, Judas Priest, Depeche Mode and Rage Against the Machine. Do you admire any of them?

A: Everyone really, because I love music and I love artists. To go through the list you mentioned and some not mentioned, Nina Simone is one of my favorite female singers. The album “Baltimore” is just brilliant. Judas Priest, I used to produce the drummer, Dave Holland, when he was in a band called Trapeze with Mel Galley and Glenn Hughes. The Zombies I know really well. We have a Moody Blues cruise, which goes out in January, and the Zombies are on that cruise. So, you know, everybody I seem to have an affection with or relationship with.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

A: Just to thank the fans because with the nomination and the Moody Blues touring, it’s down to family. They’ve been absolutely incredible, and the way they have voted for the Hall of Fame is phenomenal. Fans have been with us since day one, and it’s just been an incredible ride for everyone. Thank you.


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