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Moody Blues' John Lodge talks new songs, 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

Posted: Tuesday, May 18, 2021

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Early in March of 2020 John Lodge finished a North American concert tour in Boston and then went down to Florida to enjoy his grandson's birthday. And he's been in Naples ever since.

The Moody Blues bassist has made good use of that time, however. He's been making music, mostly remotely, and has so far released two solo singles from those sessions -- "In These Crazy Times" last year and, more recently "The Sun Will Shine," both featuring backing vocals by Yes' Jon Davison, his daughter Emily's boyfriend.

Lodge, 75, says more music is coming (an EP, "On Reflection"), as well as a return to live performing as soon as it feels safe to hit the road...

• Lodge says by phone that he "didn't know what to do for myself" at the start of the pandemic lockdown last spring. He built a home studio and learned how to record with GarageBand technology, then "started to write, which passed the time quite nicely. It was a bit like the old days, really. I wrote a few songs, starting with 'In These Crazy Times,' and recorded here in my studio. My wife did the backing vocals and she's never sung before, ever. And my son Kristian played lead guitar, and we'd never worked together. I didn't realize he was a great guitarist 'cause he kept it really quiet."

• Lodge adds that he's been happy to have a creative outlet when other options are more limited -- and, in the case of play live, eliminated. "I spend a lot of time on the road, and when you're on the road, for me, I don't find it really the right time to write songs. I'll explore rhythms and different ideas on the road, in hotel rooms and all that, but I'm mostly concentrating on what we're going to do live on stage. So having no live concerts, it's made me focus on getting in my little music room or studio and exploring songs that I may play in the future or I might record."

• For "The Sun Will Shine," Lodge worked with his regular 10,000 Light Years Band, which includes Detroit musicians Jason Charboneau on cello and Duffy King on guitar. "I wrote the demo and sent it to Alan (Hewitt), my keyboardist/musical director and he put all the keyboards together, then I sent it to my drummer (Billy Ashbaugh) here in Florida, then to Jason and Duffy up in Michigan and they recorded their parts and it all came back to me. I recorded the vocals and Jon Davison did the engineering and joined me on backing vocals. then I sent the files to Los Angeles to be mixed and, as they say, presto! We had a record."

• As the titles of both new songs indicate, Lodge was inspired by the experience of the pandemic. "As a writer in the Moody Blues I would always try to write about what was influencing me and the world, not politically but on a different level. ’In These Crazy Times' was exactly that; I'm sitting on my own and I realize everyone else is sitting on their own thinking about what they're going to do in these crazy times. 'The Sun Will Shine' is really about the same thing, but it's about being positive and coming out of this, like a new day dawning. The world, when we come out of this COVID thing, is probably going to become a different place than when we went into it. I think it will be good for everyone."

• Lodge, who plans to tour next spring around the Flower Power Cruise in late March, says the Moody Blues are dormant at the moment, and he doesn't expect that situation to change. "It's life, you know. I would tour again but I know Justin (Hayward) doesn't want to tour with the Moodys, so it won't

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