It’s all good for The Moody Blues

Coming from what is generally seen as one of the most influential time periods in music history, The Moody Blues have consistently stood out as an original.

Serving as a bridge between pop and classical music, the group was hailed by the New York Post as “one of the most important rock acts to ever come out of the United Kingdom.”

This Friday night, The Moody Blues will be ready to show Metro Moncton audiences why they have remained such a consistent concert draw over the past four decades when they take the stage at the Moncton Coliseum. The show is slated to start at 7:30 p.m.

With more than 70 million records sold over the course of their career and a plethora of gold and platinum commemorative plaques to their names, The Moody Blues are one of a handful of musical groups immortalized in The Simpsons television show, a testament to their broad appeal.

These accomplishments are even more impressive for a band that prior to the arrival of guitarist-vocalist Justin Hayward, drummer Graeme Edge and bassist-vocalist John Lodge in or around 1966, reportedly had a little bit of trouble scoring hits. Since the late 1960s of course, the band has racked up an enviable list of hits including Nights In White Satin, Tuesday Afternoon and The Story In Your Eyes. The rest, as they say, is history.

These days, the Moody Blues are keeping an annual schedule of approximately 60 to 70 shows. While Moody bassist John Lodge is the first to admit that the group could keep much busier if they chose to do so, the band would much rather focus on delivering fewer higher quality shows than merely running through the motions to get more cities onto their schedule on an annual basis.

“We find it is obviously important to tour but we also put a significant amount of thought to where we want to tour. A lot of consideration gets put into the logistics of getting our tour to various countries throughout the world too. It is not simply just a matter of us throwing darts at a map and packing up our stuff to head out,” he says.

Having recently wrapped up a series of approximately 35 concerts in the United States, The Moody Blues upcoming 17-show run from Halifax through Vancouver will be their most extensive Canadian tour to date.

“Travel is definitely the work part of what we do,” John says. “Being on stage is what we really want to do so for two and a half hours a night, it is not working. It is the rest of the day that I consider work.”

Although John would be the first to admit that The Moody Blues have moved into the 21st Century with little difficulty, there is a tinge of sorrow in his voice when the conversation turns to how the music industry has evolved over the past 15 years.

“When we first started, we made records with 10 or 12 songs that we deliberately took a lot of time and effort to sequence and ensure that listening to the record would be an experience unto itself,” he says. “What was brilliant for me was the fact that you played a record over and over and you would end up discovering different songs that you would enjoy and share those with your friends.

“Today with music downloads however, you have music buyers picking up a song or two from any given record and many are missing out on the ‘whole album’ experience. Picture buying and downloading John Lennon’s track Imagine and missing out on a song like Jealous Guy,” he offers.

“It is a different time for music right now, there is no question about it. I have always bought music and am always trying to find new music to listen to but find that I am going back to listen to stuff from the ’60s and ’70s.”

Despite the fact that Lodge and bandmates Hayward and Edge all are close to 65 years old, he insists that the band has no plans to hang up their instruments anytime soon. In fact, the band has already confirmed shows for as far ahead as 2014.

“We have to work as far ahead as 2014, believe it or not,” he says. “What is important to us as a band is playing the venues that we want to play, that we feel will best serve the live concert experience. And the fact is, we have to book some of the venues this far in advance. It is all good though.”

Article published in September 16, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript