Moody Blues bassist talks solo album, gear
For five decades the Moody Blues — bassist John Lodge, vocalist/guitarist Justin Hayward, and drummer Graeme Edge — have maintained a high profile in the music industry, with a loyal fan base that spans generations. With over 70 million albums sold worldwide, the group has won numerous awards and earned 18 platinum albums. This year marks Hayward and Lodge’s 50th anniversary in the band; to commemorate, they’ve launched their Fly Me High tour, named after one of their first recordings as part of the Moody Blues and the one that led to their first record deal.
John Lodge joined the Moody Blues in 1966 and wrote some of their biggest hits, including “Isn’t Life Strange,” “I’m Just a Singer (in a Rock and Roll Band),” and “Steppin’ in a Slide Zone.” Growing up in Birmingham, England, his formative years were similar to that of most British musicians of that era: he was swept away by American rock and roll, particularly Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Buddy Holly. As a youngster, he started out on guitar, then picked up the bass, and at 15 joined El Riot & The Rebels with Thomas and Pinder. Many years, miles, stages, and studio hours later, Lodge hasn’t lost a bit of his enthusiasm and passion for recording and playing live. He’s still a firm believer in practice and expanding his musical vocabulary by jamming. “Any chance I get to play, I’ll go and jam with anyone,” he says.
Lodge released his second solo album, 10,000 Light Years Ago, last year. The eight-song disc features guest appearances from guitarist Chris Spedding and former Moody Blues members Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder.
GEARPHORIA: Natural Avenue was released in 1977. Does that feel like 10,000 light years ago?
JOHN: It does, but that album is actually what brought me here, I suppose. I went back into the studio to re-master Natural Avenue for a 180-gram vinyl release, and it was strange to think that the album was made when it was, but that’s what brought me to where I am today, and that’s what this album is about, really.