Bassist John Lodge discusses The Moody Blues Cruise, new solo album
One of the greatest rock bands of all time, The Moody Blues has recently announced the initial line-up for their third fan cruise experience—The Moody Blues Cruise III, departing from Miami, FL on Feb. 26, 2016.
The four-day / five-night voyage aboard the NCL Pearl will visit tropical ports that include Key West, Florida and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. While on board, fans will have exclusive access to private concerts, Q&A sessions as well as many special events and activities. All while interacting with musical guests that have influenced the music of the 70s/80s and beyond.
In addition to concerts by cruise hosts, The Moody Blues, featured performances include The Zombies, The Orchestra, Ambrosia, Randy Hansen and Mellow Yellow, John Waite, The Ides of March, Randy Hansen with the Music of Jimi Hendrix, Christopher Cross, Renaissance, Rare Earth and Matthew and Gunnar Nelson performing Ricky Nelson Remembered.
This is not just a “concert cruise.” It’s a total fan experience celebrating the legacy of one of the world’s most beloved bands, The Moody Blues.
AXS: Your new solo album, 10,000 Light Years Ago, is your first in nearly forty years. How has the response been to the new music?
John Lodge: The response has been fantastic! People really seem to enjoy it and from places I never would have expected. It’s been interesting to see the spectrum around the world of where the album has been. I’ve been really pleased.
AXS: The album has such a 70’s symphonic/prog feel. Was that the vibe you were going for when you wrote it?
JL: Yes. Musically, I wanted to go back to the roots that I really love but bring them up to date. In the early days with the Moodies, I was always exploring things and trying to find avenues I’ve never been up before. That’s why I wanted to use the first song, "In My Mind", as an anthem to set the rest of the album up. It actually came from three notes that I play on stage every night when I’m doing my sound check. I play a bottom “E”, an octave “E” and then all the way up to the top. I thought, “That’s what I do every night before a concert. Perhaps that’s what I should start the album with!” I built it up from there. It’s an album about who I am today.
AXS: Do you have plans to tour the new album?
JL: I’m actually working on that right now. I’m working with some great musicians and expect to announce something by the end of October. I’d really like to go on the road next summer. I’ll probably start with some dates in the U.K. and then hopefully in the States. It’s something I'm really looking forward to. Justin [Hayward] and I made an album in the 70’s called Blue Jays that was a very important album for me. We never had the chance to play it live and I always felt a bit cheated, because there are some really lovely songs on that album. I’m not going to let that happen this time.
AXS: Lets talk a little about the new Moody Blues Cruise. What do you enjoy most about these cruises?
JL: It’s a festival atmosphere. Even though The Moody Blues are the catalyst, everyone on that cruise is there for one reason only - music. There’s something very special about that. The fans are so loyal and very appreciative to all the other artists that come along with us. It makes for a really nice atmosphere.
AXS: What else can fans expect from the cruise?
JL: There will be two Moody Blues concerts. Half of the audience one night and half the next. We also have a question and answer session where we’ll try to find an appropriate answer that’s either enlightening or fun. I also have my own wine called Krisemma that I like to bring along for a wine tasting on the cruise. We’ll enjoy the wine and I’ll bring my guitars and will probably sing a few songs from my new album.
AXS: What’s next for The Moody Blues?
JL: After the cruise in February we’ll be doing a tour of the Southeast portion of the United States. Through out Florida and up the East Coast a bit in places like Atlanta and Memphis. That’s what we’ve got planned so far.
AXS: When the band was recording the album Days of Future Passed, did you know how special it was going to be?
JL: We knew when we were recording it was going to be different. We just weren’t sure if it was going to be successful. But we were committed to that album. Not just the music but also the philosophy of who we were. At that time, bands were always wearing the same suits on stage and all had an image, but we wanted to do something different altogether and just be ourselves. I remember when we finished the album we invited the record company to come listen and they didn’t understand it or know what to do with it. It was only two gentlemen - Walt Maguire, the VP of London Records in New York and Hugh Mendl, the head of the Classical Department in England, who really understood what we were doing. They became our Godfathers and looked after us. It turned out to be something very special.