Denny Laine talks Wings, Moody Blues before Blue Rooster show
A musician who performed on the enormous Wings Over the World Tour with Paul McCartney will soon play a considerably more intimate show in Sarasota.
Denny Laine will perform Sunday at The Blue Rooster with The Cryers. Tickets are $20 for rear seating or $40 for front seats and a meet-and-greet.
Laine played in Wings and penned songs including "Mull of Kintyre," the then-best-selling single ever in the U.K. He was also one of the founding members of The Moody Blues, singing their hit "Go Now."
He talked about both groups as well as his current tour in an interview. Here are excerpts.
What is the setlist like for one of your shows?
I do stuff from my first Moody Blues album I was on. I also do some of Wings' more well-known hits. I do a lot of songs that I did with Wings where I was the singer, where I was the main vocalist, stuff I'd written or written with Paul. Then I do some material from my solo albums. It's a mixture, really.
What was your time in The Moody Blues and '60s London like?
It was a very fun competition. You'd bump into people at the motorway cafe like Jeff Beck Group, Rod Stewart, people like that were all in bands at that time. Then we played places like The Cavern Club where the Beatles would've been there the night before. Everybody was on the same circuit.
Eventually we ended up signing with (Beatles manager Brian) Epstein and we were under his stable, then we did a lot of touring with their people. So the second Beatles tour, we were on last because we were friends of theirs and we would go out and tour with them. It was good fun. It was a bit like that, everybody knew everybody. Then we'd do a place called the Marquee Club where The Yardbirds would be on, Eric Clapton was in that band at that time. We all got to know each other. We toured with the Stones, their tour was the first big tour we ever did, and that's when "Go Now" went up the charts because we were playing live.
Graeme Edge lives in this area. Have you kept in touch with any of The Moody Blues members after leaving the band?
I have with Ray (Thomas) and Mike (Pinder). It's a lot to do with what's happened to do with The Moody Blues material, it's taken a long time for us to get involved with the ownership of a lot of our recordings and because of that, we've sort of connected again over the last few years. Other than that, I never really did, no. We all went our separate ways and did what we did. But I spoke to Ray Thomas yesterday, actually. It was just like talking to him years and years ago.
How did you initially get involved with Wings?
It was because I was in The Moody Blues and we were friendly with The Beatles. Paul and I were pretty good friends or shall we say acquaintances before. I was doing something of my own after I left The Moody Blues, I went away, lived in Spain for a while. When I came back, I put a single out called "Say You Don't Mind" Colin Blunstone had a big hit with.
Then I did a show with Jimi Hendrix at the Saville Theatre, which was owned by Brian Epstein, and Paul, John (Lennon) and Peter Asher were in the audience. I think that's what gave Paul the idea of doing something with me because he knew me and he wanted to do something original and he couldn't go on following The Beatles, so he had to put a band together and do his own thing.
You've played enormous stadium shows with Wings and relatively intimate ones like this tour. Do you have a preference between the two?
The stadium tours were the first time I've ever done it and Paul too — The Beatles obviously did Shea Stadium and things like that in the early, early days, but this was an actual tour that went on for nine months. That was a great experience purely because of the volume of people and the different cities we played in. The band was very well-rehearsed and it was good fun to play in a band that played together that long live. In the studio is one thing, but playing live is the important part, I think. It gets you really tight.
The other thing, small venues, they were more fun in some ways because you have more of a connection to the audience. It's really down to that. I love both, but I wouldn't want to choose either one.