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beyond the lost chord



an interview with

Justin Hayward

 

 

Part 2
continued from previous page

RS: I wanted to talk to you briefly about that DVD that I wrote the liner notes for, The Lost Performance - Live In Paris: 1970 - Web sites were saying that you and/or the band was kind of upset that came out.

JH: Well...it’s a bootleg in so much as that they didn’t do a deal with us, they didn’t get any licenses for it. So as far as the band is concerned there’s no royalty on it. It would have been nice to have been asked and to have been part of it, which we weren’t.


(I apologize for using the band’s web site in the notes. I had read about it coming out in Billboard so diligently I contacted Kultur in New Jersey, and they were very interested in me writing liner notes - I asked to see it first and they sent me a DVD-r with just the first few minutes of, interestingly the song “Lovely To See You” - with Mike playing acoustic guitar! I was so excited that I called Mike, who was very surprised. Just the first minute - had I known about the backing tapes I might not have decided to write them! - ed.)

RS: Was that common in the late ‘60s, to sing over backing tapes in the live television shows back then? Or I was thinking Tony Clarke was such a perfectionist in the studio...

JH: No, not at all. It was just ‘cause it was a television show. I’ve looked at it, and my voice is live on quite a lot of it, where I’m singing, but I seem to be almost the only thing that’s live. So it’s not the voice that was on the record. I think what they did is they just took backing tracks. We just mimed to it. There are a few things that are live but its eighty percent mimed, except my voice, which is live.

RS: Mike Pinder told me he was happy to see it because there was so little video on the classic seven Moody Blues.

JH: Well, I’ve seen a lot of other pieces of film of individual numbers live. There’s an absolutely live piece of “Tuesday Afternoon” at some theater, which must have been done in late 1967. And that’s quite interesting. But nobody ever asked us to do those kind of concerts live. The most valuable one for me, which is purely live of course is the Isle Of Wight. That’s the best record of all of us.

RS: I recall the clip of “Nights In White Satin” from the Isle Of Wight festival Sony put out. Will there ever be a DVD of the complete Moody Blues Isle Of Wight performance?

JH: Yes. Well, I’ve got no idea. I would love to know if they’ve got all of it still left, whether they kept the whole performance. Some people say obviously they did. I was talking to Pete Townshend the other day and they did, of all. Because he was very much aware of the Who’s performance. They kept that and he went back and sorted it all out. I would like to find out and when I’ve got some time I’ll make it my business to find out whether our whole performance still exists. It was certainly filmed.

RS: I saw the classic seven lineup with Mike play great live twice and it sure sounded live to me, just like that your great archival live CD, Live + 5 points out.

JH: Well that’s always been our thing isn’t it? It was only that because it was a television show. It was just a mimed television show. I mean, we were not even using the same gear or anything like that.

RS: Some web sites were saying the Lost Performance DVD was an attempt by Mike to hijack this from the band. But that’s not true ‘cause Mike had nothing to do with it, aside from co-writing some of the liner notes with me. I was the one that read about it’s upcoming release in Billboard and I just contacted Kultur in New Jersey about writing liner notes.

JH: Oh, it’s just gossip. I agree with Mike. There’s so little of the band that it’s a very valuable piece of film and good quality. I wish they’d done a deal on it, that’s all.

RS: The 2006 Moodies DVD Lovely To See You Live on Image Entertainment is a beautifully filmed current snapshot of the band. I like it better than the last DVD Hall Of Fame. You guys seem more relaxed on this one, especially on the vintage stuff.

JH: Well I think it’s much truer to the way the band really is, because there’s no orchestra. The orchestra is such a strict exercise to do. You can’t afford to let your concentration drop for a moment. But I think Lovely To See You is really as the group is and I’m very pleased with it. And they enabled me to mix it, which was even better.

RS: The interview segment on the Lovely To See You DVD was kind of interesting. I spoke with Mike about the comment that Graeme Edge made on the interview segment of the DVD about Mike’s song “Love And Beauty” being the worst song the Moody Blues ever did. I told Mike and he said, “Graeme's comment only shows him for the kind of person that he is, negative with a big chip on his shoulder. He has always been like that. No cosmic change there.”

JH: I’ve got no idea. I love the song. Mike never wrote a bad song. And I loved it because it was right at the forefront of what we were doing. And it was one of the very first songs that we did to change our image. I don’t know why he said that. It wasn’t the right thing to say. I think it’s probably just a moment of...madness, really. He probably didn’t even know that Mike had written it. He might have assumed that I’d written it. I don’t know.

RS: I want to get to the new reissues but I just wanted to ask by not involving Mike Pinder at all anymore, are you saying most people don’t care about him or the younger fans shouldn’t know about Mike?

JH: Listen, listen...It’s a struggle for me to involve myself. You’re dealing with a record company, Universal, that’s got a band with only three of the original members. So if they’re going to talk to anybody, they’re going to talk to the three that are left. That’s it. Because that’s who they have a contract with. Now, I’ve struggled to be part of these reissue things and to make my voice heard to try and get back...I got back to the original stereo tapes. All these things...you can do as much work as you want to put the effort into do, but you’ve got to be prepared to go into the record company and say I want to be part of this and I want to make sure it’s done properly. Otherwise you got ignored. There’s no reason why they should consult any of us about these reissues.

RS: Anyway, so tell us about these new 2006 deluxe edition double CD sets of the classic seven Moody Blues albums. Are they coming out in the States?

JH: I certainly hope so because the ones that were done in the ‘80s, were dreadful and it was only recently that I had a listen to them critically. And then I traced back how they were done and the ones that were done in the ‘80s, the sleeve notes were from some awful interview that was done without Mike and without Tony Clarke, again...and in fact, without me as a matter of fact! So that was the sleeve notes. There were no writers credits. And then the masters that they did it from was a copy of a copy of a copy. It was a copy made in the U.K. sent to America, where they made another copy, and then sent another copy to be mastered straight onto disc without any kind of mastering technique at all. And there were many faults and dropouts. And when they discussed about doing the reissues it was my opportunity to try and influence how they were done. So I went back to find the original stereo master and remastered them again from the original stereo master, exactly the one that was used for the vinyl. Then I tried to go back to the original sleeve work as well. Also to give writers credits for the first time on those things, because that was a dreadful omission. And so I put a lot of effort into that of my own time and paid for the remastering myself.

RS: The upcoming deluxe on Days Of Future Passed is a double CD set and looks like it has some really cool, unreleased stuff. Wow (looking at the track list) there’s “Love And Beauty” on disc two.

JH: I didn’t think there was anything that existed. They found all that stuff. They found all the outtakes and different versions and some new songs. There’s about five unreleased songs in total from the first seven albums. I’ve listened to and mastered all of the first seven albums. I think they’re only releasing five at the moment, but later on there’s unreleased stuff as well.

RS: I heard there’s a version of you doing Mike’s song “Simple Game ” with you on vocals?

JH: That’s right, yeah there is.

RS: Is it a studio version?

JH: I can’t remember what we used it for. I love the song. I can’t remember the detail of it but I know that I did the vocal on it as well as Mike. I can’t remember what we used it for.

RS: I always loved your orchestral rock tribute solo album Classic Blue, which was just reissued by Sanctuary. Is there a story on how you made that album with Mike Batt?

JH: Oh, well we’ve been friends since we were kids and it was our dream to do something together and this was the opportunity he had because he had a good tie-up with the London Philharmonic. So it really came from them and their orchestral leaders and through Mike’s connection with the London Philharmonic, to have that trust in doing some of that stuff. It was such a happy and wonderful album to make. And easy too because it was all made in just a few days. There was no like weird mixes or missed beats or anything like that. The orchestra stuff was done live in one big recording at EMI. And then I put the vocals on immediately afterwards. In fact, I sang in the orchestra but sometimes they used that version.

RS: It still sounds great and it maintains its timeless quality.

JH: Thank you very much. I’m very pleased. I was never quite sure of the sort of ethics of it or whether it was the right thing to do. But I just loved doing it and Mike’s arrangements are just brilliant.

RS: Would you consider a Classic Blue 2? Did you choose the songs for Classic Blue?

JH: No, we picked them together. We chose them together. These were just the ones that we eventually decided on. We had a list of maybe thirty songs that we could do and I’d have to look back at that list to see if we were to do it again. I don’t whether I would. I think if I work with Mike, which I’d love to do again, then it would be on something completely different.

RS: Are you planning any new studio recordings?

JH: Well I’ve got a lot of songs now written. What I’ll do with them, I’m not sure. That’s the bottom line. Whether it’s a solo thing or a Moodies thing, I’ve got no idea, but if there was a session tomorrow, I’d be ready to do it.

RS: Well you’ve got the knack. Let me know if you want me to relay any message to Mike Pinder.

JH: Give him my love and I think of him a lot with only fondness and love and I still miss him.

RS: I’d do anything to see the original band doing just a cool song in the studio. Also, how’s Ray Thomas doing?

JH: I’ve got no idea. Ray lives a very quiet life and that’s the way he wants it. He’s not in touch with anybody anymore. His life changed. He just wants to be quiet and do his own thing.

RS: Still, for me the thoughts of you and Mike possibly working again are hard to forget.

JH: I don’t know...I don’t know. I don’t think so, in truth now. Never say never, but it’s extremely unlikely...

RS: Well, I can’t wait to see the CD reissues Justin.

JH: Yeah, they’re going to be the definitive version, I promise you and I hope that all of the stuff that’s done before is forgotten, the CD stuff, ‘cause it’s just not worth it. Compared to the vinyl it was just awful.

RS: Well I’ll let you go, keep doing the great work and like Robert Wyatt used to say, ‘hope for happiness.’

JH: Yeah, that’s a nice thing to say. Always a pleasure Robert! Thank you very much. Bye.

thanks to...Justin Hayward @ www.justinhayward.co.uk - Lori Lousararian @ www.rogersandcowan.com - the fabulous artwork of Kevin Parrish @ www.kevinparrish.co.uk - and Spencer Savage @ www.image-entertainment.com

 

 

 

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