Justin Hayward on "Classic FM"
Z88.9, Burlington County College, New Jersey
August 30, 2009
"Classic FM" can be heard every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST at the Z88.9 website. This is a paraphrased transcript of an interview with Justin Hayward, which was conducted on August 21 and aired on August 30.
Host: Gene Godfrey
Gene Godfrey: Earlier this year, you were in 'The War of the Worlds.'
Justin Hayward: The tour played the U.K. and Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany. I don't know what's planned next for them, but it will come around eventually. I was lucky to have a couple of songs from that album that people know.
GG: Following 'Forever Autumn' is 'Thunderchild,' which is another great song that just flowed. Chris Thompson, is he still singing that? ....or are there other singers?
JH: No, he's still singing it. There are several people from the original album in the show....Jeff Wayne, of course, Chris Thompson, Herbie Flowers and Chris Spedding on guitar. And then, Gordy Marshall, the Moodies' drummer. It was a condition of me doing it that he be hired to do it, too. He has to rehearse a lot with the show. It's a spectacular show, you'll never see anything like it. I'd advise anyone to go see it. There's been nothing like it since 'The Wall.' It's fantastic.
GG: It's been six years since 'December,' your Christmas album....your last studio album. I know we talked about the BBC sessions. Now there's a DVD and CD out from your 1970 Isle of Wight performance. It's been out a couple of months?
JH: Yes, it came out this summer. It has almost all of the concert on it, filmed by Murray Lerner. I didn't even know it existed. Well, I knew 'Nights' was in the Isle of Wight movie, which I think was called 'Portrait to Love.' Murray got in touch with me and said he had the whole performance. Most was usuable but some parts were not intact. And how would I feel about putting it out on DVD? ....and I said, well, I would like to hear the songs and the condition would be, me doing the sound. There were only six tracks - two tracks of code - only six tracks I had to master. And it came out just wonderfully. It's a fantastic snapshot of us at the time, and there isn't much of that out there.
GG: Do you have any special memories of the festival? Or did it happen so fast that you don't really remember it? I know Jethro Tull was there....
JH: No, I do remember it. The whole thing was very dark and disturbing. It was the end of that kind of innocense. It became a free festival because the promoters set the site next to a hill, and in addition to the 400,000 people who had a ticket, there were a couple of thousand people who had invaded. The free festival would have been OK if it had started out as a free festival. We didn't get paid anyways. We didn't go to the office and hold them up against the wall....Bad Company did that, I know. But it was a great show...Jimi Hendrix was there, and it was one of his last performances, and Joni Mitchell and Richie Havens and Leonard Cohen. It was a very interesting bill. It was the turning point, when music went from being about peace and love in the '60s to being about money and stadiums.
GG: That's the 'Isle of Wight' DVD and CD, out now.
~'Never Comes The Day' from the 1970 Isle of Wight~
GG: This current tour is almost over, you're going to Dallas, Memphis, St. Louis....more info can be found at the Moody Blues website. Now, in this tour you're playing keyboards.
JH: Yes, that's right. I always did play keyboards on the records, Well, not on all the songs, but certainly on my own songs. This time we're doing 'The Day We Meet Again,' and that requires that I "augment" what the other keyboards do, on a little Farfisa organ (chuckle), that's what I played on the original recording. And it's great fun. I did keyboards once before on 'Running Water.' I quite enjoyed it, it's another part of me that it's nice to be able to express.
GG: Do you still play the sitar?
JH: No, I really don't. I bought my sitar and Mike Pinder bought an instrument called the tambura, we bought them from the same place on the same afternoon. You know, everything the Beatles did, we did 24 hours later. I bought my sitar, and Mike's tambura was the "drone" instrument that goes along with it. I did take it out and play it once in a while, but then it got moved from the music room to the loft to the garage, and I'm happy to say that it's found a home at the Rock & Roll Museum at the 02 Dome in London. It's immortalized in a big case there. We used it on our early albums, and Ray Thomas really loved it. He'd keep saying, "Try the sitar! Try the sitar!" and I'd have to say, well you can only do it in certain keys, it has to be a song relative to the key of C. We did some gigs with a group called Indo Jazz Fusion and we attempted it. But once the drummer comes in, it's all over.
GG: I know the last time we spoke you had written some songs, how are you coming along with that?
JH: I have recorded a few things in the last couple of years. What to do with them, I don't know. I don't know how they'll end up. When I write songs, sometimes they end up on a Moodies album and sometimes on a solo album. People ask, what's the difference? ....and I guess really there's no difference. But I think they'll be released. I'm pretty sure there will be another Justin Hayward solo album. I also think there will be another Moodies album.
GG: Well, that will be great news for your fans. The Moody Blues, finishing up their summer tour, and the 'Isle of Wight' DVD is now out. Justin Hayward, thank you again for being with us.
JH: It's always a pleasure. Best wishes to you, nice to see you again.