Justin Hayward and the Moody Blues kicked off another series of concert dates last night, and he’s making the case for their current lineup as the best ever. That’s saying something for a band that started in 1964. “Because we’re left with the three guys who really want to do it on the road, who want to enjoy that and enjoy discovering the Moodies music, as well,” Hayward told us in an exclusive Something Else! Sitdown.
Hayward, who has fronted the Moody Blues since 1966, is joined by a core group that includes founder Graeme Edge (on drums since ’64) and bassist John Lodge — who, like Hayward, arrived two years later. Original flautist Ray Thomas was the most recent departure, leaving in 2002. Founding bassist Clint Warwick passed in 2004. Over the years, keyboardist Mike Pinder and Patrick Moraz have come and gone. Denny Laine, later of Wings fame, was also an early member.
How do Hayward, Lodge and Edge remain stalwart? Hayward says they are constantly rejuvenated by the group’s very longevity. A shared history continues to provide new insights.
“We had a chat on the bus, a couple of years ago, and we said: ‘Let’s think of all of those songs that we only ever played for an afternoon, or one day when we were recording them in the early years, and then we left them behind,'” Hayward tells us. “We started rediscovering some of our own stuff, some of the vast catalog that’s we’ve got. That’s what the three of us like to do now, to really look back into the Moodies catalog and see what we were up to.”
The Moody Blues began their latest tour together overnight at Oxford, UK. Hayward, who released the well-received Spirits of the Western Sky earlier this year, also has a series of U.S. dates planned beginning in August.
“I think, there’s no doubt, this is the best version of the Moody Blues that I’ve been in, the best incarnation of it,” he says. “It’s more true to the music, and everyone on stage really feels it — and wants to deliver it right. It’s very, very nice and enjoyable.”