Sarah Garofalo spoke with Justin Hayward about his tour with Christopher Cross, his discography, his career and more! Read on for highlights from the interview, or listen to the full interview below. Tune in to Talk of the Commonwealth with Hank Stolz on WCRN 830AM Fridays at 9 AM and Saturdays at 1 PM for more behind-the-scenes interviews.
Sarah: Welcome back to Behind the Scenes at The Hanover Theatre. This is Sarah Garofalo, and today I’m very excited to be talking to the voice of The Moody Blues. I’m here with Justin Hayward! Welcome to the show!
Justin: Thank you. It’s a pleasure.
Sarah: It’s an honor to have you on the show today. We’re excited to have you back at The Hanover Theatre. It’s been about seven years since you were here last in 2015, and you will be here on Sunday, June 18 at 7 PM with Christopher Cross, as well as Mike Dawes.
Justin: Exactly, yeah. Looking forward to it very much.
Sarah: Awesome. I’m very much looking forward to it. I just wanted to kick it off and talk about your new song “Living for Love.” I was actually just listening to it before we got on the air here, and I’ve got to say, it’s absolutely beautiful. Quite an ethereal vibe, you could say.
Justin: Well, thank you. I like it!
Sarah: I hope so! Can we look forward to hearing that at your show on June 18?
Justin: Yes, I think so. For me, there’s so much material over such a long period of time. It’s never what I play, it’s what I leave out, really. There’s five or six things that I know that I must do because people who like this music will feel disappointed if I didn’t do certain things. But yes, “Living for Love” will be in there. Absolutely.
Sarah: I’m sure it’s hard to pick what you’re going to perform with such an extensive discography. I know that there’s a lot of songs that people are waiting to hear. I’m sure “Nights In White Satin” is one of those songs that you’ve just got to play, right?
Justin: Yeah. “Nights In White Satin” is one of those things we can do perfectly in the soundcheck, and we do, just to check out everything. The song will sound technically just right.
When the audience comes in, they bring some kind of magic into the room, which is a wonderful thing to be able to share. With these songs, the audience always brings that part of it that makes it kind of magic, and a lovely experience.Justin Hayward
Sarah: That’s really sweet. I’m sure there are people who have been waiting many, many decades to hear that song live. To be in the room with people that are experiencing it for the first time must be so exciting and so sweet. Speaking of “Nights In White Satin”, I did want to talk about how you rerecorded the song for The Trip at the Hard Rock Park. What was that like? Did you ever get to go on the ride itself?
Justin: Yes, we did. We did get to go on the ride. That park was up and running for a few months. Was it in North Carolina?
Sarah: South Carolina.
Justin: South Carolina. Everybody had high hopes for it but, it just didn’t make it. The Eagles were playing the night before us at that same place so we did a gig there and we also went on the ride, which was a bit spooky. A bit ethereal and trippy. But hey, Sarah, the music was nice. I actually recorded the music with an orchestra in Europe and that’s what they wanted. It was good fun for us. I wish it had lasted, but it was good fun for us, sure.
Sarah: Yeah, I would have loved to ride that or experience it. I was watching some YouTube videos of the ride and it’s very psychedelic, very cool. Lots of colors. So, all you had to do was just rerecord the song to match the length of the ride, right?
Justin: Exactly. It needed to be longer than the original version and they wanted orchestral parts on it as well. So, that’s what we did. Alberto, my engineer, and I went to Moscow; they wanted the Moscow Symphony. I went to Russia with Alberto, my Italian engineer. We had a wonderful week in Moscow doing this stuff.
Sarah: Cool, very cool. I want to talk about some other songs that you may be performing here at The Hanover Theatre. I was listening to some other interviews of yours before this, and I know that you are looking forward to playing “Forever Autumn”, which’ll be exciting to hear. Will we be hearing “Raised On Love” at all?
Justin: Oh, gee, you know, you put something into my mind. Just before I left home three or four weeks ago, I got the guitar out and that song just started to happen. I thought, “I wonder. I wonder.” But I’m still wondering, Sarah, I’m still wondering. I have to do a lot of things. I’d like to do “[Your] Wildest Dreams” and “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,” those kinds of things as well. So, I hope there’s something there for everybody in my show. It’s a shorter show, because I have to make room for Chris as well, and he has to make room for me. His songs are so important and so beautiful as well, we’ve both got to give each other time. We have to select this setlist quite carefully. I think in our set, there’ll be something there for everybody. All through the genres of The Moody Blues and my solo things, I think there’s something there for everybody, yeah.
Sarah: Absolutely. I think it’s so exciting that you’re sharing the night with Christopher Cross. What an iconic duo you guys make. Going back to “Raised On Love” though, is it true that your daughter was part of the chorus in the middle of that song there?
Justin: Yeah, she was. She must have been three or four years old. She’d have been maybe even less. Tony Clark’s two daughters as well; he was the record producer. It was one of those things that you have an idea, “Oh, let’s get children in to sing a little part of it.” They were so touching and beautiful, and they absolutely loved it. When you ask children to do that kind of thing, they really do it, and they do it properly. There’s no messing about it, they take it seriously. Not like some of us older musicians who think, “What am I doing here? I don’t know if I like this or not.” But children are totally into it, and very giving. Yes, that’s right, she was on the song and so were Tony’s daughters.
Sarah: Very cool. I’m sure she loves listening to that and hearing her little voice in there.
Justin: You know, I don’t know.
Sarah: I read that you had a school report that said that you spend your time looking out the window and dreaming. Do you ever think that you spent those times looking out the window and dreaming of lyrics or being a touring musician?
Justin: Well, I think I always knew that that’s what I wanted to do. I always knew that my future was in music. My brother, my sister and I, we had such wonderful parents that were kind of enlightened and, for the time, sort of new age. They encouraged me in music, and they just wanted me to get my qualifications. So, I did get some good qualifications. When I left school, I didn’t spend all the time dreaming, but that was in my final report, yes. Could have done better, could have done better. But I was very fortunate to realize that dream, really. If I’d have realized how wonderful the last sixty years were going to be, I’d have enjoyed every moment, Sarah, but, as it is, it’s been stress all the way!
Sarah: Oh, boy.
Justin: No, that’s just me. But yes, I did. Funny you’ve mentioned that school report. These things pop up and I don’t know where people find them. I did spend my time looking out the window.
Sarah: Yeah, you said that in a Q&A.
Justin: Oh, did I?
Sarah: Yeah, I was doing some deep diving. Is it true that you got an honorary degree from the University of Worcester?
Justin: With the other Moody Blues?
Justin: I believe so. Yeah.
Sarah: Yeah, I read that. That was in 2018. So, I just thought it was funny that, University of Worcester, and now you’ll be here in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Justin: Well, it’s always been such a welcoming place for us, The Moodies, and me, personally. And it’s a privilege to be back in the area. It’s one of those parts of America that’s always really welcomed us and been so receptive to our music. It’s always lovely to be coming back. I love that part of America. It’s the part of America I was dreaming about when I was looking out the window! That was the part of America that fascinated me.
Sarah: I love that. So, I’d be remiss not to ask you, will your Gibson 335 be making an appearance here at The Hanover Theatre?
Justin: You know, I don’t think so. I want to do these songs as I wrote them, and as my original demos were. I mean, they’re as The Moody Blues did them. And I want to use my acoustic guitars and my voice. It’s what works with Julie Ragins, Karmen Gould and Mike Dawes. That’s the show that we do. There might be a couple of things electric, but my home guitars will be with me. Whatever happens, we’ll see how it goes.
Sarah: Well, you still have the Cherry Red with you in your heart, right?
Justin: It’s probably my dearest friend.
Sarah: Oh, I love that. Very sweet. One more big question for you is, can you tell us a little bit about The Moodies Cruise, the “On The Blue” that you host?
Justin: Oh, that’s always really good fun. We started doing it with The Moodies. They’ve asked me as well to continue that, which I’ve done for the last couple of years. That’s always a pleasure to have folks there who are all there for the one purpose because they love that kind of music. And it’s not just me, it’s lots of other artists.
It’s about just about loving music and reminding ourselves that a big part of our lives is music and doing the things that we love.Justin Hayward
Justin: To focus on that for a week on a cruise is always such good fun, and the vibe is so wonderful. I can’t even get grumpy about the kind of biscuits. I can’t get grumpy about anything on the cruise, because it’s so lovely. It really is. I mean, it’s not for everybody. But if you like this kind of music, then it’s a real pleasure and honor to be asked back.
Sarah: Oh, I bet that’s just amazing. I did see that The Zombies are joining next year in 2024. So, very exciting stuff. Justin, it’s been an absolute honor to talk to you today. Once again, I am super, super excited for your show on Sunday, June 18 at 7 PM. Tickets start at only $49. You will be accompanied by Christopher Cross. Do you have any parting words before we wrap up?
Justin: Just looking forward to seeing everybody. I’m in Canada at the moment, I’m looking forward to being back in America. I can see this tour stretching out. I don’t know how it’s going to work with Christopher. We’re friends and it’s going to be exciting. I do look forward to seeing everybody. Thank you so much for your research, Sarah, and lovely to talk to you. My best wishes and lots of love.
Sarah: Thank you so much. It’s been wonderful talking to you. Everybody else, I will see you later on Behind the Scenes.