Journalism Archive

Much of what I have written over the years has been lost or never filed.
What I have posted here is a selection of some of the journalism I have written over the years

They might be Moody but they've never had the Blues

First published in Evening Herald, 10 November 1984.

"I last played in Dublin in 1964," says Justin Hayward, guitarist with the internationally acclaimed Moody Blues.

"That was when I used to play guitar with Marty Wilde. I was 16 at the time, long before I joined the Moodies”

The Moody Blues are 20-years-old this year. Now, for the first time, they are about to play a concert in Ireland. At the reception to announce the band’s first tour on this side of the Atlantic for three years, I caught up with the group and asked them about their gig at the RDS on Saturday 17 November.

"We're really looking forward to it," said bassist John Lodge, who joined the band with Justin in 1966. "When the tour came up and the dates were put in we said 'Ireland, we should go. We’ve never been and this is the opportunity to go'."

Like Justin, John has also played in Ireland before.

"I played there in 1963 in a club just outside Dublin. It was near where the boat-train came in Dun Laoghaire. I think the name of the place was the Top Hat.

"In those days Ray Thomas, now the Moodies’ flute-player and I were in a band called El Riot and the Rebels. A lot of musicians used to get together and do other things. We put a band together called the John Bull Breed and played a gig in Dublin.”

"I go to Dublin quite a bit nowadays," Justin Hayward revealed. I have a stud farm in Wiltshire and I go to Goffs bloodstock sales a lot.

"I have some stallion shares in a horse called ‘Main Reef’ which is at a stud in Kildare. I’ve also got other interests over there. Of course, that’s because a lot of the horse world is centred in Ireland.

"I've got many friends in Ireland and as a band we know a lot of people there but I've no idea what kind of reception we're going to get.

" Any band who has sold in excess of 30 million albums worldwide over 20 years should be fairly confident that Irish fans will give them a warm welcome.

The Moody Blues aren't leaving it to chance, however. The five-piece group intend to give value for money.

"We'll be doing a selection from all our albums - probably about two hours of music,” said John Lodge. "And hopefully we'll put the show together in such a way that we take the audience up with us, down with us and ending up with a rock’n’roll selection of Moody Blues rock'n'roll that is Ride My See Saw, Question and I’m Just a Singer (in a Rock’n’roll Band)."

The Moody Blues, whose first hit single Go Now was a hit exactly 20 years ago next month, don't use any backing musicians at all in their stage act.

"We try to cover the harmonic spectrum with our voices," says John Lodge. "And we've got Ray who plays flute and nowadays Patrick (Moraz), adds a lot of keyboards."

Twenty years or not, the Moody Blues are not celebrating the anniversary says Justin Hayward.

"There's so many anniversaries that we don't bother with them anymore. They are nice but kind of meaningless really. We just want to look to. the future, if we can."

That’s as may be, but with the tour and an album of greatest hits about the come out the band can’t blame people for thinking they are marking their two decades.

The album entitled Voice in the Sky, contains 12 of the Moodies’ best numbers including Ride my See Saw, Question, Gemini Dream, and Nights in White Satin. It is set for release of the group’s own label Threshold Records on 15 November

“The compilation was put together for a compact disc. The original idea was to have a Moodies’ collection on compact, but because of the tour it sort of snowballed into being an ordinary release as well,” explains Justin.

Ray Thomas, John Lodge, Patrick Moraz, Graeme Edge, and Justin Hayward had all better get used to the idea that to many people the record and the band’s first ever appearance in Ireland marks not only the Moody Blues 20th birthday but also a great night for Irish fans.

The Moody Blues tour is unusual in one major respect - it is the first time a major international rock act has donated all its tour profits directly to charity.

All the money will be donated to the John Laing Appeal (who are doubling the money the band make) for the NSPCC.

"We felt it was a cause we could not ignore," said Justin Hayward. "We all had very happy and supportive childhoods and we felt it important to help some of those who have been less fortunate - the future belongs to all children," he said.




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© 2008 Brendan Martin

Brendan Martin - Media Trainer and Journalist