John Lodge honors The Moody Blues and its seminal album “Days Of Future Passed” on current solo tour

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By Val Tapia, BADS Contributing Writer

Photograph by Brian Aris

It’s interesting to think how much bassist and co-lead vocalist of The Moody Blues, John Lodge, has witnessed throughout his five decade career in popular music. He’s seen musical trends come and go, yet through all that, many would contend that Lodge has always stayed true to himself and his art, even when it wasn’t “popular”, or even lucrative, to do so.

Although The Moody Blues as a band is no longer active (more on that later), Lodge is more than happy to keep the band’s music and legacy alive on tour. To that point, Lodge and his 10,000 Light Years Band (as he proudly refers to them as) are currently performing the Moodies’ landmark album Days Of Future Passed in its entirety, along with a selection of that band’s classic songs as well.

Lodge and his current solo band (which consists of longtime keyboardist and musical director Alan Hewitt, drummer Billy Ashbaugh, guitarist Duffy King, and cellist Jason Charboneau) commence touring on July 18 in Rockford, Il. During this leg of the tour, fans can purchase a new CD, Days Of Future Passed- My Sojourn, Lodge’s re-interpretation of the 1967 aforementioned album.

It was great having a chance to chat with Lodge two days before the tour resumed, which makes a stop at Celebrity Theatre on Tues. July 25.

BADS: John, it’s a pleasure and an honor speaking to you. You’re currently performing The Moody Blues second album Days Of Future Passed in full. How did the spring leg of the tour go?

John Lodge: It’s been fantastic! As you know, we’ve been celebrating the 55th anniversary of Days all year, and the fans have been enjoying the shows from what I can tell. I have an incredible band with me, and I think we do justice to an album that has meant so much to me over the years.

BADS: You also re-recorded the album and re-titled it Days Of Future Passed- My Sojourn.

Lodge: Yes, I recorded this album over the last year. During rehearsals in late 2021 into 2022 for the live show, I wanted to pay homage, if you will, to a milestone album. With the band I have now, along with Jon Davison of Yes, they helped tremendously bringing the show and the album to life.

One of the great things about the new recording was paying tribute to (the late) Graeme Edge by incorporating his poetry (Morning Glory and Late Lament, respectively) with Graeme himself reciting it. Some fans may recall the recitations on the original album were done by (founding member and original keyboardist) Mike Pinder.

Anyway, we also incorporated a video of Graeme in the live show, with his blessing— which brings a very deep emotional moment onstage for us and the audience.

BADS: When you think back to 1967, the year Days was released, what are your recollections as a young musician and music fan in general at the time?

Lodge: Oh, it was a wonderful time for me. Myself (replacing original bassist Clint Warwick) and Justin (Hayward, replacing original lead singer Denny Laine) had joined the Moodies in 1966, and commenced writing material for what would become Days Of Future Passed throughout 1967.

As far as the music that year, you had The Jimi Hendrix Experience with their first record Are You Experienced? Also in America, The Doors released their debut. All the West Coast bands like Country Joe and the Fish, Grateful Dead, and Jefferson Airplane.

From the UK, you had bands like Cream, Procol Harum, and Pink Floyd. It’s amazing thinking back to all the diverse music we had back then. There was something for everybody in pop music at the time.

BADS: Speaking of the UK music scene, the talent coming out of Birmingham was just as significant as Liverpool earlier in that decade, yet seemingly received less respect until recent years. Would you agree?

Lodge: Yes, without a doubt! The Spencer Davis Group, The Move, ELO, Black Sabbath, The Moody Blues, Traffic, Led Zeppelin, and Judas Priest. That’s quite a history if I do say so myself! (laughs).

BADS: Looking back at some of the bands who opened for The Moody Blues on various tours, were there any standouts to you?

Lodge: Interesting question. Well, I’d have to say Cheap Trick would be one. But there was a group from Texas that really stood out..oh yes… called Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble. I believe that was in late 1983 when we took them out. Just incredible from what I recall.

BADS: Speaking of 1983, by that point MTV was already in full force. Bands like The Police and Journey were at their absolute height. How challenging was it for The Moody Blues to “adapt” to the changing timesduring the MTV years?

Lodge: We were open to changing and growing with the times– on our terms, mind you. Songs like Gemini Dream and The Voice certainly had a contemporary sound to them. But it was unquestionably The Moody Blues. We get inspiration from all kinds of music, really.

You may remember we had another hit single during the 80s called Your Wildest Dreams. That song really took off on MTV and as a result, we had younger audiences at our shows. So yes, we certainly had no problem keeping up with the times. But we would never copy someone else just to sell records.

BADS: To conclude John, The Moody Blues‘ final show turned out to be in April 2018 when the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after being eligible for 28 years. Looking back on that historic night, what are your thoughts?

Lodge: Leading up to the ceremony, I honestly didn’t think about it. However, when I was on that stage that night, I have to say it was a fantastic feeling. It’s something that our fans were hoping would happen for years, and they never stopped writing letters, commenting online, etc.

Of course, after the passing of Graeme Edge in 2021, Justin and I knew that we couldn’t continue as The Moody Blues in good conscience. However, I’m so happy that we get to celebrate his memory during the show. I think he’s smiling knowing that I’m continuing to honor the band’s music and legacy the best I can. I hope I’ve done him proud.

IF YOU GO:

John Lodge is scheduled to perform THIS Tues. July 25 at Celebrity Theatre. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.

Ticket prices range from $35.00-$85.00 and are available at Celebrity Theatre.com, and Danny Zelisko Presents.com

For our friends in Tucson:

John Lodge is also scheduled to play at Fox Theatre in Tucson on Wed. July 26. Tickets range between $40.00 and $100 and available at foxtucson.com. Showtime 7:30 p.m.

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