Moody Blues fans have done without an album of new material since 1999 -- not counting 2003's "December" holiday collection. In either case, it's been a long time, but singer-guitarist Justin Hayward promises that the music he's recorded for his new solo album will help fill the void.
"It's very, very kind of Moodys influenced, a lot of it," Hayward tells Billboard about the as-yet-untitled set he plans to release in 2013. "You'll definitely be able to tell, 'Oh, that's the guy from the Moodys,' which is usually what people say when they hear me. It's stuff I've had for quite a few years and it's gathered momentum over the last couple of years and it's been a real joy to do."
Hayward says he's recorded 14 songs with collaborator Alberto Parodi for his first solo album since "The View From the Hill" in 1996. As for the Moodys, Hayward predicts that the group's next project will be a filmed live concert, possibly with some new band material, that will be used for a DVD and possible television broadcast.
"That seems to be what people want form us now," Hayward explains. "It would be nice to think we could just put another album out, but we seem to have put albums out in the last few years and they've gone unnoticed. There's always, 'Hey man, how about another album?,' but we put it out and everybody just wants to still talk about 'Your Wildest Dreams' or 'I Know You're Out There Somewhere' or 'Nights in White Satin.' So I think some kind of filmed/recorded project with some new material will be the next thing."
The Moodys are touring the U.S. until Dec. 15, this time focusing on the "Days of Future Passed" album to commemorate its 45th anniversary.
"We're doing a few more songs from that album and using it as something to talk about and remind people about," Hayward notes. "The three of us (Hayward, singer-bassist John Lodge and drummer Graeme Edge) really want to celebrate the music and enjoy the experience and share what it means to a lot of people. That's a kind of drug in itself, really, particularly since there's been such a large body of work. It's the best sort of incarnation of the band that I've ever been in, this most recent one with the musicians we have now. It's great."
The year has also brought another snub for the Moodys from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, despite a continuing fan campaign for the group to be nominated. Hayward says that, "I do feel for our fans, because it really is important to them," though he adds that, "I worry that sometimes the pushing makes it difficult for all those people sitting around the table" to consider the Moodys. But Hayward himself doesn't share the fans' passion for the honor.
"As a British person and particularly a European, people have never heard of (the Rock Hall)," he explains. "It doesn't impact anybody. It's an American thing, really. If you want to run a hall of fame and get people coming through and it's a great tourist attraction, that's fine, but it doesn't impact me at all."