Moody Blues’ bassist set for first solo tour

John Lodge
John Lodge

Towards the end of 1966, young bass guitarist John Lodge joined the flagging Moody Blues around about the same time as a guitarist and singer called Justin Hayward.

After that, the band never looked back and became one of the most acclaimed rock bands in the world.

They pioneered progressive rock and arena tours, and for the most part have remained busy to this day.

However, the band took a break in the seventies which enabled its various members to pursue solo projects.

John teamed up with Justin for The Blue Jays, and scored a massive hit with the single Blue Guitar.

Then in 1977, John released his first solo album Natural Avenue which was a top 40 hit.

But with The Moody Blues reconvening in 1978 and touring the world seemingly incessantly, it would be 38 years before his second solo album 10,000 Light Years Ahead, which came out last year.

But for all his years touring with The Moody Blues, John has never undertaken a solo tour – until now.

Relaxing at his Surrey home, John, who will have turned 71 when he tours, tells me why he has decided to embark on this new adventure.

“I’ve never done a solo tour before and that’s one of the main reasons I’m doing it, plus I wanted to tour this new album. I felt sad that I couldn’t tour the first one.”

The reaction to 10,000 Light Years Ahead has been positive. “People have liked it, which is great. It’s just a shame it took so long to finally do a new solo album.”

“I’ve been incredibly busy with The Moody Blues over the years and I wanted to get back to the roots of who I am.

“I wanted to have a theme to the album – however lightly, and when I had all the songs I just wanted to get into the studio and record it.”

Out on the road, he’ll have friends around him as drummer Gordon Marshall, keyboard player Alan Hewitt and flautist Norda Mullen are part of The Moody Blues’ touring band.

“It’ll be great, as I’ve also got a cellist and another guitarist with me. Alan I’ve known since before I was in The Moodies. He’s actually produced Earth Wind and Fire.”

Will John just be treating us to his solo material? “Oh no, there’ll be some Moody Blues songs in there, I wouldn’t want to tour without them.”

John has written some of the band’s best known tracks such as Ride My See Saw, I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band), and Steppin’ in a Slide Zone.

But while it appears that John seems to write the ‘rockers’, his favourite of his songs for The Moodies is the sublime Isn’t Life Strange. He said: “I love playing that one, you can hear a pin drop sometimes when we play it.”

John Lodge will be at Buxton Opera House on Saturday, September 24, at 7.30pm. Tickets £29, call 01298 72190 or visit www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk