The Moody Blues at CMAC - Interview with Graeme
By Linda Quinlan, staff writer

Hopewell, N.Y. — The Moody Blues have been recording and performing for 45-plus years, since 1964, with no signs of slowing down.  According to rock music history, the Moodies’ closest rivals in terms of band longevity are the Rolling Stones. The Moodies’ original, and current, drummer — Graeme Edge, 69 — has said that he has a “friendly rivalry” with Stones drummer Charlie Watts.

“We’re the second oldest band still on our feet, and I’m the second oldest drummer still on my feet,” he told one interviewer.
They’re still going strong, which Edge attributes, jokingly, to “bloody minded stubbornness.”

Currently, The Moody Blues are on a summer 2010 tour, and after a four-concert loop through Canada July 4 to 8, they’re making a stop at CMAC in Hopewell, on Friday, July 9. Edge says he remembers the venue.

“It (Canandaigua) is one of those names you tend not to forget,” Edge said during a phone interview from Montreal Wednesday morning.

Play sat down with Edge and asked him some questions about the band and their touring:

Q: What can concert-goers expect to hear in this concert?
A: “The big six we’ve got to play — ‘Nights In White Satin,’ ‘Isn’t Life Strange,’ ‘Question,’ ‘I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band),’ ‘Your Wildest Dreams’ and ‘I Know You’re Out There Somewhere’ — then a nice sprinkling from all the old albums ... because there aren’t any new ones,” he quips. (A popular recording, “The Moody Blues: Live At The Royal Albert Hall With The World Festival Orchestra,” has just been re-released.)

Q: To what do you attribute the longevity of the group?
A: “Thieving managers who kept us broke so we had to keep working. ... Joking aside, we all just love playing live; we’re a bunch of old hams. ... We’re from a generation in England that started playing without any real expectation of stardom. We had no thoughts of being anything but copycats. We were incredibly surprised we got hits in America. Now, who would have thought we’d still be at it?

Q: Someday, long after the band is done touring, what do you want the group’s legacy to be?
A: “Even if you didn’t like the music, you had to say it was performed well.”

Q: Everyone seems to have a favorite Moody Blues song; do you?
A: “I have at least three: ‘Nights in White Satin,’ for all the things it has done; ‘Question,’ because I think it encapsulates everything about The Moody Blues, all in one song; then the most recent song we’ve re-learned; right now, that’s ‘The Day We Meet Again.’ It’s like we have a big jewel case that we can open up and dust off a piece from time to time.”

Q: Can you choose one highlight of your career that stands out?
A: “Perhaps when we did two concerts in Madison Square Garden on the same day. It sort of almost stopped New York, with 20,000 fans coming in as another 20,000 were going out. ... We’re not allowed to do that again.”

Q. How did the concerts with full orchestras get started; why don’t you do more of them?
A: “It was the 25th anniversary of our album ‘Days of Future Passed.’ We intended to do one concert and film it at Red Rocks (in Colorado). We ended up touring with orchestras for eight years ... I think only (famed Italian conductor) Arturo Toscanini did more concerts with orchestras than we did. I remember when we passed the 200 mark.”

One of those orchestral concerts was with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in the Canandaigua area in the 1990s. They’re back to what they call “playing live,” Edge says, because there were problems with music “spillover” — the rock music overpowering, say, the violins, and having to adhere strictly to arrangements. “They (an orchestra) are going to play what’s written down,” Edge said, “but, it was enjoyable while it lasted.”

Q: Where do you make your home?
A: “I make my home in Florida, and I love zooming around on my boat. I play golf. And now I just have girlfriends; I’ve had three wives,

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