Pete Rudder Interview With Justin Hayward
Australia, April 12, 2005
Justin Hayward: (answering the phone) Hello.
Pete Rudder: Can I speak to Mr. Justin Hayward, please.
JH: Yeah, speaking.
PR: Justin, it's Pete Rudder calling up in Brisbane.
JH: Hi, Pete.
PR: Radio 4B8. How are you?
JH: Not bad. Yeah.
PR: Good. Welcome to Australia.
JH: Thank you.
PR: Are you enjoying it so far?
JH: Yeah. Absolutely. Of course.
PR: And you're in Sydney tonight. You're performing tonight?
JH: Yeah tonight, tomorrow, and the next day.
PR: Beautiful. The State Theatre is just magnificent. You'll love it. Very intimate. If we could just start the interview. It's certainly been a long time putting this interview together and it's just an amazing thing to be able to talk to you.
JH: Where are you?
PR: I'm in Brisbane. You're coming up here on Saturday.
JH: Warm up there?
PR: Beautiful at the moment. It's around 27, 28 degrees.
JH: Good. Lovely.
PR: So you'll have just a touch of summer left.
PR: Now way back on the Legends DVD you said it was beautiful to write songs and the magic you feel creating something out of nothing. Is it still like that now?
JH: Absolutely. I mean, I suppose it's such a big part of my life that I couldn't imagine life without a song really on the go. And I sometimes feel a bit selfish about that. Because it's kind of like having a room in your house nobody else can go into. Because it's a kind of private world. But, I'll always be....ever since I was a kid and I started writing songs. It's one of those things that stays with you forever.
PR: Can you write on the road? Can you write in any situation? Or does it have to be very private and very quiet?
JH: Well, I usually try and create the conditions to make it happen at home. When certain things are right. But, you never know. If you just pick up a guitar on the road and you're just playing, just fiddling around, something could come out. A little riff, or a little kind of melody. And it sort of just gets stored away. So it could happen anytime. But I prefer to be orderly about it, and do it to a timetable. It's like some people say, well, "What comes first, the words or the music?" And, usually its the phone call. You gotta have a song ready.
PR: In many of your songs, they seem to be windows to your deepest feelings. Like 'Raised on Love.' I mean you obviously had a wonderfully happy childhood...loved by your parents.
JH: Well, I was. I had quite enlightened parents. Sort of almost like...I suppose you could call them "new age." For that time in the 50s. My parents were both teachers. I was very fortunate and I was just starting my own family. So, a lot of those things are reflected in the songs. Sometimes they're very deeply personal. Sometimes I don't even find out what they're about until years later, when I've sort of resolved my feelings about a particular issue. And I didn't even realize that that was what I was writing about.
PR: An amazing ride through the 60s into 70s. And I certainly don't want to be obsessed with that era, at all. But, when it suddenly sort of stopped in the early 70s and you just got off for a little while, what did you do? I mean, what happened in that period of time when you'd finished 'Seventh Sojourn?' And you had that sabbatical. What did you do with your time then?
JH: Well, for me, I was working harder then than anything else, after. We actually did some more recording sessions. A couple of things that have never been released, which I just heard again recently because Universal are deciding that they want to try and look at all of these recordings that were never released. We actually started another album. But, that was by the by. We came to...we were on the end of a long world tour. And we just didn't make any plans. It wasn't like we split up. I straight away went into making, working on an album actually with Mike Pinder. And then Mike Pinder stepped out. And I made an album called 'Blue Jays' with Tony Clarke and John. And that was the year after. We drifted apart in '74. '75 was 'Blue Jays.' '76 I made my own solo album and did a lot of gigs around that called 'Songwriter.' My first solo album.
JH: And then in '77 I got involved with a guy called Jeff Wayne who was making an album called 'The War of the Worlds.' And I recorded a song for him called 'Forever Autumn.' And another thing called 'The Eve of the War' for the 'War of the Worlds' album. And I had a lot of success with that. It took me around the world, really.
PR: It certainly did. Just going back to 'Blue Jays.' 'Blue Jays' was the album that really inspired me during the 70s. And made me go back and revisit the first seven albums of the Moodies.
PR: It was just the most amazing thing. And I remember first hearing that album and thinking, "Wow, this is just so incredible." And of course Peter Knight was involved in that, too, on some of the tracks, wasn't he?
JH: Yes, he was, and I was desperate to use Peter again or to work with Peter again. Because he was such a good friend. And a great arranger. And I think we did three or four songs with him. And, it was a lovely reunion. And since then I used him a few more times. He worked on my solo album as well.
PR: Yes, on 'Songwriter.'
JH: But, I've just re-mastered some of those things that were never mastered properly on to CD. So 'Blue Jays' and 'Songwriter' and 'Night Flight,' my other solo album, have just been released on CD. You probably have to look on the internet.
PR: Yes, of course, I've got that. The thing that amazes me, though, is when you did 'Classic Blue,' was the way that Mike Batt really sort of got into the "ethos" of Peter Knight, not that I'm saying he's trying to copy that, but he embellishes your voice in a similar way that Knight does.
JH: Yes, absolutely. I think that...Mike had a great respect for Peter. So did everybody. Orchestral arrangers in Britain, really, who were familiar with his music. He did a lot of other things. He did a lot of television work. He was very familiar to guys, Peter. But Mike and I had been friends for so many years and we were always sort of saying, "We must do something together one day." It would be great. But we needed an angle. And Mike was very good at finding angles and getting some advance out of a record company, so you could actually go and make the thing.
PR: Well, the thing that amazes me, too, on the 'Songwriter' album is the way that you did just about everything on a lot of, many of the tracks, like 'Nostradamus,' for example. It's all you.
JH: Well, I had my own little home set-up at that time anyway, so a lot of these things were started at home. I just felt like doing that. I'd spent so many years in studios, that you know, I could play the keyboards anyway, so I may as well just do it. If I knew the part I may as just do it. Or drums or something. Just play it myself.
PR: I'll tell you an interesting irony, too, with 'Nostradamus'...is that with one of the quatrains, and I'm sure you're aware of this, is that by the year 2025, Nostradamus said, we're all going to live under the Grand Mongrel.
JH: (pause) Oh, OK.
PR: So. Get ready.
JH: Is that a Chinese restaurant somewhere up in Brisbane? Well, I'll see you up there then.
PR: Yeah, we'll meet there. But it's interesting times we live in. And, he was talking about the Middle East being a flash point. He was certainly right about that.
JH: Maybe. Who knows.
PR: Yes. It's all a bit airy-fairy. You seem to be a very quiet, serene, relaxed man, in control at all times. Is that a fair assessment of Justin Hayward?
JH: Could you say that about anybody? I don't think so. I'm probably sort of laid back. But, I don't know really. I tend to sort of reflect on life. And I'm always looking for some kind of enlightenment. And some kind of personal freedom. And intellectual sort of freedom. And that's all. But I think that most men are like that. And I hope the sort of naivete of youth that is appealing in pop musicians and rock musicians is replaced by some kind of wisdom. I think that is about all I can say really.
PR: Do you think that your creative powers are just as sharp as they always have been?
JH: I don't think that...they're different. Whether they're sharp or not. I think you tend to take, when you're young you tend to take a lot of risks. And there's a beauty in that that is appealing, that's charming. And so, and as you get older, you learn, you find out what really works and what doesn't work. So you tend to leave out what doesn't work all the time. But, sometimes leaving stuff in that's a bit whacky can be a lot more interesting. But, I don't know, it just changes. It just changes. And the world changes. And the way people see the world and the way people listen to music. There's no doubt that, also, that just about the most valuable commodity in the music business is youth. And if you don't have that then everyday you're at a greater disadvantage.
PR: Why do you like to travel so much? I mean, you seem to be constantly travelling the world.
JH: Well, number one, because we're asked. Number two, I suppose, because we're offered a lot. We're offered a lot...we're offered a lot more gigs now than we were in the 60s and 70s, curiously enough. We could work every night of the year. I think people want to see live bands. They want to see bands like us. It's OK to come see us. And I know we're a good band...whether you like it or not, that's...completely subjective.
PR: You're the best band in the world.
JH: Well, it's subjective, you know...
PR: Absolutely, but that's my opinion.
JH: A few days ago, on....and we got to this subject. And the lady's question was, "Well, a lot of people just really don't like The Moody Blues. How do you feel about that?" So, there's always that side of it, too.
PR: Of course there is.
JH: Very subjective.
PR: Do you take your family with you when you travel?
JH: No not really. No, it's never been like that. I prefer to travel on my own. And my family prefers it that way. If we're playing somewhere special like...we just did three days at the Royal Albert Hall, late last year...that would be good. And I know we're playing the Greek Theater in Los Angeles in a few weeks time. And that'll be good, too. And I think the family will come there. But no, I just usually try and travel light. And do my own thing.
PR: Well it's very exciting that you're about to re-release the first seven albums. The Universal Collection. You were talking about, on your net notes, about the quality of the mix before on CD that was released through the 80s...the sonic quality.
JH: Well, actually it was done in the 90s. I think it was done in the early 90s.
PR: Was it? Tell me, what is the "sonic quality?" What does that mean?
JH: Well when they first did them, when Decca first made CDs, or Polydor, when CDs first came out, they literally transferred the vinyl master - the stereo master that became the vinyl - they just transferred that onto CD. Which was fine. When they did the re-masters, they still had not perfected the technology. And they were way, way off of developing it. And what they did was, they took the American stereo master tape, which was already a copy of a copy. There was the original master. Then the production master which is EQed a little bit. Then the Americans EQed it again. Then they did another copy for the CD. So you ended up with a copy of a copy of a copy, and in actual fact it just got worse every time. It was thin and it just didn't have the quality. I just prefer it to be truer to our intention in the studio. And I hope when this final collection comes out. I've heard it already. And we're trying to make it as true as it was to the proper recording.
PR: You said how powerful it was to be back in that studio where 'Days' was done...
PR: ..and the feeling, that awesome feeling, of the orchestra striking up, you know, for the overture. And how you were back there then.
JH: Yes, Yes. You mean I was in the studio then?
PR: No. Well, the feeling of the music.
JH: Oh. I see. Well, I was taken right back. Most of the albums, except a couple, which is a mystery. I mean some people to do with those things just aren't in the business anymore. So they're not into it. But, I don't know why a couple weren't done in quad. But most of them were done in quad. And when I heard the quad versions really for the first time only about two months ago I was absolutely gobsmacked. I was stopped in my tracks. The quality of them was just brilliant. And you're right inside. And they've been translated and that'll be put out in 5.1 surround sound and it's a real eye-opener. And its a real window on the technology of the time. You were right in the middle of the studio.
PR: When can we get those?
JH: Well, they keep e-mailing me about them. I'm sure it will be later this year. That's their intention.
PR: That's good. That's fantastic. In fact I want to make my own journey to England soon, to Cobham, down to the new shop, the Threshold shop, and get those goodies that we can't get here. I mean, there's a lot of Moodies stuff we can't get hold of here in this country.
JH: Absolutely. I realize that.
PR: It's really quite sad. Because you know there are a few imports that do dribble in from time to time. But there is so much stuff that I'd love to have that I just can't get and I need to go there to get it.
PR: And, I'll certainly do that. You're here with John and Graeme.
JH: Well, we're here with...and Paul Bliss, Gordon Marshall, Norda Mullen, who's been playing flute with us for the last three years. Yeah. There's seven of us altogether.
PR: Great. But no Patrick.
JH: Oh, Patrick left 14 years ago. Patrick left in 1989. Longer, 16 years ago.
PR: Really. I thought he was still playing with you from time to time.
JH: No. Not at all.
PR: Is there any chance of you doing more with orchestra?
JH: Well, we certainly did. Through America. We had a wonderful time with a PBS special that we recorded with the Colorado Symphony. And it was played really all over America, at regular intervals, on Public Broadcasting. And from then we had a lot of letters and inquiries from orchestral directors about the whole orchestra thing. And we decided to do an orchestra show. And if there's an orchestra that wants to work with us or a promoter that wants to put us on with an orchestra, we can do that show any time. We spent about three or four years just doing the orchestra show. It was great.
PR: Yes, Indeed. In fact I've got a copy of that. It's one of my favourite DVDs. I look at that all the time. That's why I'm always thinking, constantly, "please more Moodies with orchestra."
JH: Yeah, I hope so. I worked with a guy called Steve Wood on a project, for an IMAX film called 'Journey into Amazing Caves.' I'd love to do something with him. He's a great orchestral arranger, too. As well as a good producer. So I hope it will come.
PR: Now Ray has obviously left. What's he doing these days?
JH: I have no idea. I didn't have any idea when he was in the band. We were very good friends. But what we had in common was the group. And without the group, we had nothing in common.
PR: And the same with Mike Pinder?
JH: Yeah, I saw Mike I suppose once about ten years ago. And I saw him. Some of the other guys didn't want to see him. When you leave a group, it's very difficult because you lose the very thing that you have in common.
JH: What can you talk about? "There's me talking about, 'Hey, we did this.' No, I can't talk about that." And, it's very difficult to leave the gang...and you're not in the gang any more.
PR: Well, yes exactly. It's just that it was such a potent force, that sometimes it's hard to imagine you guys not together. It's amazing.
JH: Well we came together to make music. We didn't come together because we were mates. And I think that's the important thing. So, what we had in common was our music. Nothing else.
PR: Well, my favorite Moodies tracks of all time, 'I Dreamed Last Night,' 'New Horizons.' I think that's just one of the greatest pop songs of all time, 'New Horizons.'
JH: Ah, you're an old romantic.
PR: I am.
JH: Or a young one.
PR: No, I'm 56. 'Visions of Paradise'...
PR: ...from 'In Search of the Lost Chord.' 'Dawn is a Feeling,' obviously from 'Days.'
PR: And you know the one that I think is just so...I don't know...I just listen to it over and over again. I like 'Meanwhile' from 'Long Distance Voyager.' JH: OH, yeah, me too. That should have been a single.
PR: Isn't that a great song?
JH: I kept telling them, "You've chosen the wrong single." Cause they always did, you know.
PR: It's got that wonderful sort of "boom bah bah boom boom boom" through it. That lovely little...it's a punctuation. Did you do that? Is that all you, too? Doing all the bits and pieces?
JH: Yeah, most of it. Patrick played very well on that. But, it was basically a demo that I did at home to get the groove right and then brought it in and translated onto the 24 track in the Threshold Studio. And it worked very well, because I'd already set up the groove. There's like a triplet timer over it as well. Which I put on at home.
PR: And tell me, with the concert that you're going to do in Brizzy, in Brisbane, that is. Are there any particular songs that you particularly love? I mean what's your favourite Moody song? That you love to do.
JH: Well, there's something there for everybody. We do things from our early albums. We do things from much later albums. Through the 80s. And some things into the 90s. But I've got two real favourites. One is song called 'I know You're Out There Somewhere.'
PR: Oh, yes. Of course. Lovely.
JH: All the audience seems to connect. And the other one is a brand new one and it's called 'December Snow.' It's from our 'December' album.
RP: OK. I'll listen out for that. I'll be there watching for sure.
PR: Can't wait to see you in Brisbane.
JH: Looking forward to it.
PR: Going to be just terrific. Justin Hayward, just wonderful to talk to you.
JH: Oh. My pleasure. Great pleasure.