'I Think It's Too Late Now': Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues on Lack of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Consideration
Another Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating season has passed, and the Moody Blues are still on the outside -- much to the consternation of a vocal and active fan base that's been campaigning for the group's inclusion for years. But guitarist Justin Hayward isn't spending much time looking in.
"It's not important to me," Hayward tells Billboard. "I'm a committed European. I live in Europe, and there's not a great respect for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In fact, it's quite the opposite, really; if it's ever mentioned, which is rarely ever, it's more like, 'Why should they HAVE a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?' So it doesn't impact my life at all."
Nevertheless, Hayward appreciates how the Moodys' fans feel about the issue. "It's very important for Moody Blues fans here in America, especially," he notes. "I think it would be really difficult for the board of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to include us now, because there's been so much pressure from fans. I'm not saying that hasn't helped -- but maybe I AM saying that hasn't helped. I just can't see it, to be quite honest. I think it's too late now."
Fortunately, Hayward has plenty of other endeavors to keep him occupied. This year, he released a compilation of his solo work, All The Way, featuring a new song called "The Wind of Heaven," the track "Blue Guitar" that he recorded with 10cc during the early '70s, and live recordings of Moody Blues favorites such as "Nights In White Satin" and "The Story In Your Eyes."
"It was a interesting project," Hayward says. "It didn't start with me, but I was glad to be part of it in the end. I think the motive was to chiefly try and preserve some of these things that had been deleted. It just never occurred to me to do anything like that before because I was busy with other things, so I'm very flattered that it has come out and I discovered quiet a lot of interesting things. The biggest one was the original 'Blue Guitar,' which I thought was lost and gone forever, and we not only found it but we put it out."
The Moody Blues, meanwhile, remains active as a touring act, with the annual Moody Blues Cruise setting sail on Jan. 2 from Miami. But after 13 years since the group's last album (2003's December), Hayward doesn't foresee himself, John Lodge and Graeme Edge returning to the studio for new material any time soon.
"The fact is, I think the three of us are enjoying our catalog, and we're enjoying playing that [music] and we're lucky enough that the three of us are interested in that," Hayward explains. "It's a real pleasure, and the fact is you start to think about new stuff and you think, 'Well, who's actually paying attention now or cares about it?' We had some later albums -- Keys Of The Kingdom and Strange Times and the Christmas album [December] -- that didn't do all that well, and you start to think, 'What's the point?' But we do still enjoy going out and playing the catalog, and it's thrilling to us there's such an audience that wants to hear it."
As far as his own work, Hayward is circumspect. He is working on "a completely different project" for early next year with longtime creative partner Alberto Parodi that he's keeping mum about, and not all of his future projects will necessarily involve music.
"Music will always be such a large part of my life, and I'm sure that the solo things will continue, but I have to do something different," Hayward says. "There's a lot of things I haven't done, outside of this. I've got a lot of places that I need to go, and I do have a life outside of the band, and that'll stay outside of the band and outside of the promo for the band. I don't know what the future holds; I'll do things in my own time, when I think it's worthwhile."