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...its a bootleg in so much as that they didnt do
a deal with us, they didnt get any licenses for it. So as far
as the band is concerned theres no royalty on it. It would have
been nice to have been asked and to have been part of it, which we werent.
(I apologize for using the bands 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.
Ive looked at it, and my voice is live on quite a lot of it, where
Im singing, but I seem to be almost the only thing thats
live. So its 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, Ive seen a lot of other pieces of film of individual
numbers live. Theres an absolutely live piece of Tuesday
Afternoon at some theater, which must have been done in late 1967.
And thats 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. Thats 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, Ive got no idea. I would love to know if theyve
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 Whos
performance. They kept that and he went back and sorted it all out.
I would like to find out and when Ive got some time Ill
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 thats always been our thing isnt 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
RS: Some web sites were saying the Lost Performance DVD was an
attempt by Mike to hijack this from the band. But thats 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 its
upcoming release in Billboard and I just contacted Kultur in New Jersey
about writing liner notes.
JH: Oh, its just gossip. I agree with Mike. Theres so little
of the band that its a very valuable piece of film and good quality.
I wish theyd done a deal on it, thats 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 its much truer to the way the band really is,
because theres no orchestra. The orchestra is such a strict exercise
to do. You cant afford to let your concentration drop for a moment.
But I think Lovely To See You is really as the group is and Im
very pleased with it. And they enabled me to mix it, which was even
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 Mikes 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: Ive 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 dont know why he said that. It wasnt the right
thing to say. I think its probably just a moment of...madness,
really. He probably didnt even know that Mike had written it.
He might have assumed that Id written it. I dont 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 dont
care about him or the younger fans shouldnt know about Mike?
JH: Listen, listen...Its a struggle for me to involve myself.
Youre dealing with a record company, Universal, thats got
a band with only three of the original members. So if theyre going
to talk to anybody, theyre going to talk to the three that are
left. Thats it. Because thats who they have a contract with.
Now, Ive 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 youve 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 its done properly. Otherwise you got ignored. Theres
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
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
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) theres Love And Beauty
on disc two.
JH: I didnt think there was anything that existed. They found
all that stuff. They found all the outtakes and different versions and
some new songs. Theres about five unreleased songs in total from
the first seven albums. Ive listened to and mastered all of the
first seven albums. I think theyre only releasing five at the
moment, but later on theres unreleased stuff as well.
RS: I heard theres a version of you doing Mikes song Simple
Game with you on vocals?
JH: Thats right, yeah there is.
RS: Is it a studio version?
JH: I cant remember what we used it for. I love the song. I cant
remember the detail of it but I know that I did the vocal on it as well
as Mike. I cant 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 weve 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 Mikes 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. Im 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 Mikes 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 Id have to look back at that
list to see if we were to do it again. I dont whether I would.
I think if I work with Mike, which Id love to do again, then it
would be on something completely different.
RS: Are you planning any new studio recordings?
JH: Well Ive got a lot of songs now written. What Ill do
with them, Im not sure. Thats the bottom line. Whether its
a solo thing or a Moodies thing, Ive got no idea, but if there
was a session tomorrow, Id be ready to do it.
RS: Well youve 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: Id do anything to see the original band doing just a cool
song in the studio. Also, hows Ray Thomas doing?
JH: Ive got no idea. Ray lives a very quiet life and thats
the way he wants it. Hes 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 dont know...I dont know. I dont think so, in
truth now. Never say never, but its extremely unlikely...
RS: Well, I cant wait to see the CD reissues Justin.
JH: Yeah, theyre going to be the definitive version, I promise
you and I hope that all of the stuff thats done before is forgotten,
the CD stuff, cause its just not worth it. Compared to the
vinyl it was just awful.
RS: Well Ill let you go, keep doing the great work and like Robert
Wyatt used to say, hope for happiness.
JH: Yeah, thats 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