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The Moody Blues’ John Lodge talks US tour, ‘Lost Chord’ box set

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The Moody Blues’ John Lodge talks US tour, ‘Lost Chord’ box set (photo courtesy of John Lodge)

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee John Lodge of The Moody Blues says he had so much fun touring America last autumn that he scheduled another trek with his 10,000 Light Years band to begin next week. The iconic bassist, singer and songwriter’s new tour will encompass 10 shows, including four New England dates, starting in Nashville on October 12.

“We were a little nervous last time because it was our first American outing as a group,” Lodge told me during a phone interview from his home in Surrey, England. “The fans took to the band and it gave me an opportunity to play some songs that we don’t play in The Moody Blues.”

Lodge says that his new tour will feature a mix of his classic Moody Blues hits, (they include “I’m Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band,” “Gemini Dream,” “Isn’t Life Strange” and “Ride My See-Saw”), Blue Jays material from his ‘70s collaboration with Moodies’ guitarist Justin Hayward, selections from his “10,000 Light Years Ago” solo album, and a tribute to two former band-mates.

“I’m going to celebrate Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder by doing a couple of songs of theirs that we’ll probably never do again as The Moody Blues,” Lodge said.

Thomas, a cofounding member of The Moody Blues and a dear friend of Lodge’s from the age of 14, passed away in January of this year following a lengthy battle with prostate cancer. He had retired from The Moody Blues in 2002.

“Ray lived just two miles from me here in Surrey and we saw each other regularly,” said Lodge. “We even shared the same doctor. Sad days but fantastic memories – we grew up together.”

Original Moody Blues keyboardist Mike Pinder departed the group amicably in 1978. His prowess on the Mellotron provided the band with its signature orchestral flourishes that helped give their music an ethereal and hauntingly beautiful quality. It was Pinder’s distinctively bold baritone, intoning poetry written by drummer Graeme Edge, that became a hallmark of classic albums like “On The Threshold of a Dream,” “A Question of Balance” and a record about to receive a deluxe reissue - “In Search of the Lost Chord.”

“It was an amazing time for The Moody Blues,” Lodge said of the recording sessions for the band’s third album.

On November 2, Universal will release a 3-CD/2-DVD package commemorating the 50th anniversary of “In Search of the Lost Chord.” In addition to previously unreleased material, including alternate mixes and radio sessions, the box set will feature the album’s original stereo mix, a new stereo remix utilizing multi-track tapes long thought to be lost, and a high-resolution 5.1 surround sound mix. 180-gram vinyl editions of the album will also be available, including a limited-edition psychedelic-colored vinyl edition.

“We’ve gone through the archive to find all of the bonus material connected to “In Search of the Lost Chord,” said Lodge.

A hit on both sides of the Atlantic in 1968, “In Search of the Lost Chord” followed The Moody Blues’ 1967 smash breakthrough album “Days of Future Passed,” recorded with the London Festival Orchestra.

“We wondered if that success was due to the fact that we recorded “Days of Future Passed” with an orchestra,” Lodge said of the album that featured the hits “Nights in White Satin” and “Tuesday Afternoon.”

According to Lodge, the band embraced the idea of playing every instrument themselves for “In Search of the Lost Chord,” including some considered rather exotic by rock and roll standards like sitar, tambura and tabla.

“It was great,” he said with a laugh. “I remember seeing Ray Thomas with a book called ‘How to Play Trumpet’ and one called ‘How to Play Oboe.’ I played cello on the record and we had great fun putting it together in the old Decca Studios.”

In April of this year, The Moody Blues were finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lodge says the honor is deeply humbling and he is grateful to the band’s fans for uniting en masse to make it happen.

“Someone told me that we received the second highest fan vote ever. I said on the night that this award is not just for the fans in the venue but for the fans worldwide. This is their moment and I just wanted to thank everyone for that. For me to stand tall with one of my heroes like Buddy Holly in the Hall of Fame is fantastic.”

John Lodge and his 10,000 Light Years band will begin a 10-date fall US tour at Nashville’s City Winery on Friday, October 12. Four New England dates are on the schedule, including October 19 at The Flying Monkey in Plymouth, New Hampshire, October 20, at Infinity Music Hall and Bistro in Norfolk, Connecticut. On October 21, they are scheduled to perform at Greenwich Odeum in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, followed by a Tuesday, October 23 show at Regent Theatre in Arlington, Mass.

To give fans a taste of his latest album, “Live From Birmingham,” Lodge is offering fans a free download of the cut “Get Me Out Of Here” via www.CDBaby.com.

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