A Few Minutes With… Graeme Edge of the Moody Blues

Yes, it may be hard for baby boomers to believe, but the Moody Blues – featuring guitarist Justin Hayward, bassist John Lodge and drummer Graeme Edge – are touring in support of the 45th anniversary of “Days of Future Passed,” their groundbreaking concept album that takes the listener on a day-long journey from “Tuesday Afternoon” to “Nights in White Satin.”

“The Moody Blues: The Voyage Continues – Highway 45 Tour,” as they’re calling their current road trip, is making a tour stop at Proctors in Schenectady at 8pm on Thursday (April 5), and we had the opportunity to chat with the band’s drummer (and poet laureate) Graeme Edge last week:

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Q: Hi. How are you doing?

A: Not bad for an old fart.

Q: Well, at least you’re still out there playing.

A: Oh yeah, but there’s really no way around it. Once you hit 70, you’ve entered advanced middle age.

Q: And you’ve got another birthday coming up soon, don’t you?

A: Yes, I guess I do. It’s on Friday (March 30).

Q: What do you think your bandmates will get you for your birthday?

A: Oh, I don’t know, but I bet the boys can’t top what they bought me for my last birthday. They called it an “all-terrain walker.” They bought me a walking frame and painted it camouflage.

Q: But at your “advanced middle age,” do you sill enjoy the touring?

A: We’re loving it. In fact, we’ve slipped four new songs into the show. Well, they’re not new songs, but they’re new old songs, not brand new songs. Two of them, we’ve never played before. One we played very briefly in the ’80s and one is an old favorite that we bring back for a couple of years and then drop it back out again. It’s always good to play some different songs, but you’ve got to pay attention to the pacing of the show – the tempos and the keys.

Q: So no thoughts of retiring?

A: Oh no. You’ll never stop us from playing live while we can still do it. Well, I guess the only thing that would stop us is if nobody booked us.

Q: Has there been any thought about recording a new Moody Blues album?

A: Well, there’s thought about it all the time. Won’t somebody please come and make us an offer? The thing is that nowadays what we would recognize as record companies don’t really exist anymore. There are no A&R men or anything; they’re just distribution networks. Basically, the music is all front-room stuff – it’s all production – these days, which is why all of today’s music sounds so similar. You don’t listen to a new record and recognize, “Oh, that’s Deep Purple. Or that’s Black Sabbath. That’s Jimi Hendrix. That’s the Moody Blues. That’s Pink Floyd.” It just all sounds quite a bit alike, doesn’t it?

If we were younger, I’m sure we could find a way to make a new record happen. But we’ve all got such full lives now after all these years – wives, children, grandchildren. There are lots of other things to do.

Q: Well, you’ve out here now touring in support of the 45th anniversary of “Days of Future Passed,” which is a truly classic rock album by any standard. Not only for the melding of rock and orchestral elements, but also for the use of poetry and spoken work in a rock context. How did that come about?

A: Well, it actually came about more by accident than by design. We were making “Days of Future Passed,” and we were short of material about the morning section of the day – from dawn til afternoon. Being musicians, we didn’t really know much about the morning. So I wrote a piece, but we couldn’t really make it into a song because there were just way too many words. By the time we would have put it all together as a song with choruses and everything, it would have been about a half an hour long.

Mike (Pinder, the Moody’s keyboardist) actually spoke it, not me. He had a good lead over me with cigarettes and whiskey, so he had a much more sonorous voice.

Q: When did you start writing poetry?

A: I always did. When I was about eight or ten years old, as a school assignment, we had to write a composition about what we would do if we had something like $100 to spend. And I wrote mine in rhyme because it just came naturally to me that way. So then the teacher asked if he could keep the poem, and in turn he introduced me to the poetry of Byron, Keats and Shelley. And that really got me started.

And I would have to say that the romantic poets are still my biggest influences. There’s nothing Beat about my poetry – no Ginsberg or Kerouac. As a poet, I’m always looking for something that everyone can relate to.

Q: And so now have you finally put your poetry together into a book?

A: Yes. The book features the poems from the Moodies and my solo albums. And it’s almost like a scrapbook with little odds and bits and unfinished poems and other ideas. There’s a song called “A Coconut Christmas” that never made it onto an album, and that’s included in there as well. And then there are little stories or anecdotes that go along with almost every one of the poems, too.

Q: Is the book done? Is it available on this tour?

A: Yes, we’ve got it out there with the other merchandise. It’s selling well, and people are saying nice things about it.

The Moody Blues step into the spotlight at Proctors in Schenectady at 8pm on Thursday (April 5), celebrating the 45th anniversary of their classic album, “Days of Future Passed.” Tix are $20, $50, $60, $70 & $85.

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21 Responses to “A Few Minutes With… Graeme Edge of the Moody Blues”

  1. Graham Jones says:

    I’ve always been a Moodys fan right from 1964 – no band can touch them but …..

    IT’S ABOUT TIME YOU TOURED THE UK BOYS !!! That’s where you started – come on now !!!
    !!!

  2. Bill Rhinehart says:

    OM.. The Lost Chord. heaven.
    On Good Friday I pray for the remaining Moodies and that God Bless everything they do, everything they say and everyone they Love.
    Their music, for me, has been a source of strength during the dark hours in my life because they are Blessed and they shine the light.
    I Love the Moody Blues and thank them for the years they have inspired millions.
    Justin, John, Graeme, Thomas and Michael,
    May the Lord Bless you and keep you.
    May his face shine upon you and be gracious to you
    May he look upon you with kindness and give you his Peace

  3. Vern Eiils says:

    I got to see the Moody Blues at the Ryman in Nashville Tn and if i could i would quit my job and follow them to the ends of time.

  4. Ive just been reading down the tour list of all the concerts in 2012 that I cant get to.
    So come on guys,I’m one of your ‘from day one’ British fans, and were longing for you to give US a tour.and make it to BOURNEMOUTH pleeeaassse.!!

  5. john syrmis says:

    Remember
    The love in the heart of a friend

    Remember the rhyme of reason
    where the beauty and balance prevail
    where one is the word and the witness
    for the good ship of life to sail
    Remember the purpose and promise
    and the power of love’s perfect prize
    and remember the way that it’s always been
    to wake in the world of the wise

    Remember the depth and dimension
    and the seasons of self in the song
    and what’s written in will and in wisdom
    for the part where we all sing along
    And remember what’s written is carved into stone
    with the cause to count and contend
    and that the journey is justice , in the dawn that defines
    the love in the heart of a friend

    Remember the brotherhood of knowledge
    and the hope in love’s healing hand
    that all may be measured in a merciful mind
    with the gift according to plan
    Remember the bond to balance belief
    and the glory in giving to gain
    and the one pure thought that’s eternal as such
    free of all fear and pain

    Yes remember this now for the sake of it’s sake
    that the light may lead you the way
    and that the story that’s told will be reckoned as right
    in the peace that the purpose portrays
    And remember what’s written is carved into stone
    with the cause to count and contend
    and that the journey is justice , in the dawn that defines
    the love in the heart of a friend .

    John Syrmis .

  6. Jane Kelman says:

    My husband and I have every album the Moody’s made plus some of the solo ones as well. BUT, it would be really great to hear another album.. I thought y’alls performance in Asheville, N.C. 2010 was fantastic and wish that the band had used that for a new album. I liked the additional singers and instruments used for that tour and wouldn’t mind just hearing a live at….from 2010 on. New songs would be great as well, but the older songs, when played with the extra muscians, especially live, was soooooooo wonderful. My husband and I talked about it for days (until our children were sick of hearing about what a good time their “old fart” parents had had). Would a live album be just as logistically difficult as putting together one in a studio?

  7. Joanie says:

    When my husband and I met a couple years ago (we’re in our 40s/50s), we quickly discovered that one of the many things we had in common was a mutual love for The Moody Blues! We listen to your CDs all the time, both at home and in the car. We just wish so badly that you guys would come to the Dallas-Fort Worth TX area some time soon! Please…….?

  8. Brian Norris says:

    I hope it won’t be long before the Moodies treat their English fans to a tour back here at home. My wife and I have been faithful followers since the 1960’s when we used to go to all their gigs in the South of England. Performances at the Marquee Club, Brunel University etc circa 1968 are still fresh in my mind and their most recent tour when we saw them at Ipswich, Bournemouth and the O2 seems too long ago. So come on chaps, get that tour back in England organised!

  9. Jon says:

    As Graham said, I, too, have been a fan of the Moodies since ’64; Go Now was so different from everything else out there at the time it grabbed the attention of a 10 year old boy. I’ve seen them more times than I can remember starting in ’81 (not close to a venue or $$ in the 70s) & seeing them with an orchestra conducted by Larry Baird here in the Twin Cities in ’92 was probably the best ever!
    I met my wife in ’96 & she became an immediate fan; being from the Philippines she’d never heard of them before & coincidentally on our 10th anniversary in 2010 I surprised her with the concert.
    I have all the solo works & several signed CDs & concert programs as well.
    Looking forward to seeing them again & always, but still miss Ray.
    God bless the Moody Blues!

  10. michael rocco says:

    I am one of your biggest fans (but I’m sure we are many). I have all of your albums as well as the solos. I would love to hear anew album from the group. Any thoughts of doing a farewell album with Ray Thomas and Michael Pinder? And then a farewell tour with them? Any plans of touring the midwest this year? I Hope so!

  11. Joe In Naples says:

    I saw the first two shows of this tour, my 25th and 26th MB concerts overall. Why do I keep going? It’s the music, to be sure, but also the gems that they dig out of the catalog. It was great to hear “Talking Out of Turn” again (one of my all time faves), and “You and Me” was a treat as well. Still, I’m waiting for “Blue Guitar.” I realize it’s mostly a Justin solo tune, but they used to do “Forever Autumn,” so why not “Blue Guitar?” Note to Graeme: you don’t need a record label anymore. Most artists are using social networking to put out their music. Keep all the money in house. Also, would love to run into you at a bar in Bradenton. We could sip a nice Cabernet and sing “22,000 Days” together!

  12. David & Laura, Scarborough says:

    Love the Moody Blues and have seen them many times, even brainwashed David’s youngest son and he’s now a real big fan. Miss you in the UK!!!! time to come home and see your fans over here VERY SOON! We are all still keeping the faith! Take care – keep smiling! xxx

  13. Tommy Kelly says:

    Great show Thursday at Proctors in Schenectady NY. I have seen the band close to 25 times.
    I would like to Justin, John, Ray, Mike and Graem tour together one more time. Please

  14. Irene, Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland says:

    Can’t believe that it is 45 years since Days of Future Passed, seems like yesterday. I have been a fan since ‘Go Now’. Really want to see the boys back in Britain. The last tour in Britain had only one date in Scotland, in Edinburgh (midweek). Too far away for me to get to. Please, please come back to the SECC in Glasgow.

    Would love another Album to add to my collection.

    Wishing you all health and strength.

    Love, Peace and Happiness

  15. Beth says:

    So excited, have waited for you guys to come to the east. Can’t wait to see you this wednesday at the MPAC in Morristown NJ. Brings back so many great memories and good times. The 60’s were wonderful. You make it seem like yesterday.

    Hope a new alblum comes out real soon.
    Love.peace. and stay healthy to everyone!!!!!
    See you wednesday night…….

  16. Co van den Raad says:

    I’ve been a Moody Blues fan since the day I heard their first LP – In Search of a Lost Chord…. I love music from Bach, Beethoven and the Beatles, Beach Boys & Blood Sweat and Tears. They all fill my days with sunshine and roses, pills and prostitutes, children and chicken. I love them all. But for me the Moody Blues is just magic!!!!

    They will perform in Johannesburg on the 3rd of June and for the second time I will miss their show due to commitments abroad. Soooooo sad!!!!

  17. For John Syrmis,Oh John…what is on earth going on here?? What a load of old waffle for goodness sake.Sorry,its just MHO.

  18. john syrmis says:

    Oh Derek what on earth are you doing on the Moody Blues site ?

  19. les says:

    hi all i agree with some of the comments already made about time you gave your brit fans another chance to see you when are you touring here

  20. Bob Holmes says:

    I have been a fan of the Moody Blues ever since the first line up with Denny Lane and Clint Warwick, in the Go Now years but could never get to a live performance, but that has now been rectified;
    Had a holiday in Australia coming up to see my sister. So I coordinated my holiday so that I could see the Moody Blues. Due to circumstances this was my first opportunity to see and in all honesty thought I never would get to see them live. Also Australia’s such a great place I have decided to stay, and I hope I get to see more live Moody Blues. I’m getting on a bit now but to see the Moody Blues is well worth staying around for.

  21. Ian Phillips says:

    Have followed the Moodies since I heard Nights in White Satin. Have seen them many times. Even saw Blue Jays (what an album). Life would have been empty without them.

    Went to Canterbury Cathedral last December. Justin on with Ian Anderson and Bruce Dickenson.
    What made the night was meeting Justin when he signed my live album at San Juan Capritrano. Also got photos. I was speechless!! What a night. Waited 40 years.

    Hope they tour UK soon. Also a new album???

    Ian Phillips (Ireland)

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