The Solar Bender is an enhanced clone of the famous Tonebender MK II fuzz complete with NOS PNP germanium transistors, Bias control and Reverse Polarity Circuit.
Take it away Gearmandude!
Magnetic Effects are pleased to release the MK 2 version of their take on the classic Tone Bender MKII. The new version includes stunning new artwork and top mounted Jacks and DC socket. To allow for easier integration into modern guitar set ups, the Solar Bender is fitted with a charge pump acting as a polarity reverse circuit. This enables the pedal to be powered on a standard 9V centre negative adapter and even daisy chained with other pedals while using PNP germanium transistors.
To further enhance usability, the Solar Bender is fitted with a bias control to compensate for temperature drift that can sometime affect germanium transistors. Also, a Fat switch has been fitted which enhances the bass response of the pedal to allow for greater tonal possibilities.
All these features add up to make the Solar Bender a great sounding AND easy to use fuzz that integrates well into a modern pedal board.
- Level, Attack and Bias controls
- Fat switch
- Reverse polarity circuit
- True bypass switching
- 9V DC adapter or battery powered
- Top mounted Jacks and DC socket
- Three NOS PNP germanium transistors
RETAIL PRICE: $179 US plus shipping.
Eugene Clark, Shellac and French Polishing, 1998
I know many people shy away from the art of French polishing, which I think is too bad.
Yes, there is a bit of a learning curve to it, but once you start to get the hang of the application technique you will find shellac to be very forgiving, e.g.,if you mess up one area, let it harden for about an hour and then fix it with some more shellac and alcohol.
And once you really start getting into French polishing you'll discover that you can build up a gloss finish in less than one half hour!
To apply shellac to this bridge I took a square piece of cloth, folded it in half and folded it once again.
Then I folded that again, note the triangle that is on top of my left index finger tip.
Here, I have transferred the cloth to my right hand, I am right handed after all, and I have placed two drops of alcohol, two drops of one pound cut shellac onto the corner of the cloth that sits on my index finger. I also added a very, very small smudge of olive oil to it, also.
I blot it on a piece of typing paper until the cloth is almost dry and then I start to French polish the bridge.
If there is the "ghost" trail where I can see the alcohol evaporate as I apply the mixture I know I am using the correct amount of liquids.
I am sure you are thinking at this point that by using only two drops of each that it would take forever to build up a surface.
Take a look at the photo above, I worked only fifteen minutes on this bridge. I know with two more sessions I will have filled in any pores that I missed with pumice and alcohol.
I am a big fan of French polishing and I believe other wood workers should give it a try! And don't believe all arguments against French polishing, it is easier than trying to make your first Krenov-style hand plane!
Ron Fernandez has a great DVD on how to French polishing a guitar, so does Robbie O'Brien, both DVDs are available here.
For more information on shellac go to Shellac.net and read this wonderful article (click here) on French polishing.
If you are interested in French polish and don't have someone to teach you how to do it, do some research on the internet and get at it!
Source: Warner Bros.
The ecologically/environmentally-focused album will be released via all retailers and in the Neil Young Official Online Store. The Monsanto Years will be available in a special CD + DVD package, vinyl, iTunes, and PonoMusic high-resolution audio. The vinyl package will be released in August. Actual date to be announced shortly. Pre-orders begin today, May 26th. Click here to pre-order.
Beginning today, those who pre-order The Monsanto Years, will instantly receive downloads of two brand new tracks from the album: “Big Box” and “A Rock Star Bucks A Coffee Shop.” You can view the video for “A Rock Star Bucks A Coffee Shop” right now at DemocracyNow.org.
For this guitar-centric, full steam-ahead and highly-charged rock album, Young is joined by Promise of the Real, an LA-based rock band fronted by Lukas Nelson (vocals/guitar), along with Micah Nelson (guitar, vocals), Anthony Logerfo (drums), Corey McCormick (bass) and Tato Melgar (percussion). They have performed with their father, Willie Nelson, and Young on previous occasions. For the first time, they recorded together and will now tour under the banner of the Rebel Content Tour. For further information on Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, visit: http://www.promiseofthereal.com/
The Rebel Content Tour featuring Young + Promise of the Real will hit the road kicking off July 5th at Milwaukee Summer Fest.
As previously mentioned, along with every ticket purchased online for Neil Young, you will receive your choice of the CD + DVD package or digital editions of The Monsanto Years. You will receive instructions via email on how to redeem your album on June 29th. Offer is not valid for festival dates. Tickets are on sale now.
The Monsanto Years TRACK LISTING:
- A New Day For Love 2. Wolf Moon 3. People Want To Hear About Love 4. Big Box 5. A Rock Star Bucks A Coffee Shop 6. Workin’ Man 7. Rules Of Change 8. Monsanto Years 9. If I Don’t Know The Monsanto Years DVD TRACK LISTING:
- Big Box 2. A Rock Star Bucks A Coffee Shop 3. Rules Of Change 4. Workin’ Man 5. Monsanto Years 6. A New Day For Love 7. Wolf Moon 8. People Want To Hear About Love 9. If I Don’t Know
Rebel Content Tour dates are HERE.
David Tanenbaum, Perspectives on the Classical Guitar in the Twentieth Century, 2003
Happy Memorial Day! Please make today a time of remembrance!
I did spend some time in the shop today French polishing the Torres/Santos guitar that I need to deliver to its new owner soon, and I worked on a copy of the 1961 Hernandez y Aguado guitar.
The 1961 Hernandez y Aguado guitar, seen in the foreground in the above photo, needed shellac applied to its sides. A couple of more coats of shellac and I will be able to start French polishing the sides again. I say, again, because I ended up sanding down to the wood to make sure that all the pores really were filled and get rid of some piles of pumice. The finish work you do can never be good enough!
This Hy A copy has a redwood top, the top came from a redwood board that was salvaged from a barn on the border of Yosemite National Park, and it has Indian rosewood sides and back, the sides are laminated with Alaska yellow cedar. This is a "speculation" guitar, I really made it for myself, but I will offer it for sale once it is completed.
The guitar in the background is close copy of a 1930 Santos Hernandez guitar, click here to see the plans that I followed, that also has a redwood top and Indian rosewood back and sides, both sets purchased from LMI. This guitar I am making for a young man who is in the guitar program at Metro State University, Denver.
The guitar in the foreground is a close copy of the famous FE19 guitar made by the great guitar maker, Antonio Torres. It has a bearclaw Sitka spruce top with grandillo back and sides, this is the one I have am in need of finishing soon. If you follow my blog, you know who this guitar is being made for!
All three of this guitars will be exceptional in sound, loudness and playability.
PRS have announced a new series of all Mahogany SE Standard Guitars aimed at the budget conscious player starting at $499 USD. Despite being the most affordable PRS Guitars to date they still include bird inlays, PRS stoptail and tremolo bridge designs, set mahogany necks with rosewood fretboards and a high-quality SE gig bag. The four new SE Standard models are: the SE Standard 24, the SE Standard 22, the SE Standard 245, and the SE Santana Standard.
The SE Standard 24 pairs 24-fret versatility with a PRS-Designed tremolo and PRS-Designed HFS and Vintage Bass pickups. For full specifications and to hear the SE Standard 24 in action, visit www.prsguitars.com/sestandard24.
The SE Standard 245 is a short scale length single cut design and a classic control layout with volume and tone controls for each pickup and a 3-way toggle switch on the upper bout. For full specifications and to hear the SE Standard 245 in action, visit www.prsguitars.com/sestandard245.
The SE Santana Standard also has a shorter 24.5” scale length and is designed to go from Santana’s signature lead tone to fat, hard rock rhythm chords. The SE Santana Standard is a tribute to Carlos Santana’s skill and style and offers players a great value and quality. For full specifications and to hear the SE Santana Standard in action, visit www.prsguitars.com/sesantanastandard.
The post PRS Most Affordable Guitar Yet, All Mahogany “SE Standard” Guitars appeared first on Guitar Noize.
PRESS RELEASE: Def Leppard, one of the world’s dominating powerhouses of rock, today announced details of their 2015 Australian tour – the first show kicks off in Sydney on 17th November. With over 100 million albums sold worldwide and two prestigious Diamond Awards (over 10 million albums sales in the USA for two separate albums) to their name, Def Leppard are one of the best loved bands in rock music. Since 1992, the band has consisted of Joe Elliott (lead vocals), Rick Savage (bass, backing vocals), Rick Allen (drums, backing vocals), Phil Collen (guitar, backing vocals) and Vivian Campbell (guitar, backing vocals).
Over the course of their stellar career, Def Leppard have sold out stadiums and arenas across the globe. Their trademark sound and groundbreaking albums, such as Pyromania and Hysteria, have earned them massive hits – with songs such as Pour Some Sugar On Me, Photograph, Hysteria, Let’s Get Rocked, Animal, Rock of Ages, When Love & Hate Collide and Love Bites dominating the airwaves globally. These powerful melodic rock anthems, along with their spectacular live shows are what makes Def Leppard one of the most impressive rock bands out there.
Def Leppard will be supported by special guests Live. The USA quartet first achieved worldwide success with their 1994 album, Throwing Copper, which spawned the huge hits Lightening Crashes, I Alone and All Over You and has now sold over 10 million copies worldwide. This is the first time Australian audiences will be introduced to Live’s new front man, Chris Shinn, who joined the band in 2012.
Baby Animals will also join Def Leppard and Live for the Sydney and Perth show and Electric Mary will appear with them both in Melbourne.
Get ready to quench your rock thirst – this tour is a must see event of rock music!
Tickets on sale Thursday 11th June, 2015
VIP packages, including opportunities to meet the band, will be available from Ticketek
Fan Club Presale on Monday 1st June (midday) to Wednesday 3rd June (5.00pm)
AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2015
Qantas Credit Union Arena – November 17
Def Leppard with special guests LIVE & Baby Animals
Tickets on sale Thursday June 11 from Ticketek
Rod Laver Arena – November 18
Def Leppard with special guests LIVE & Electric Mary
Tickets on sale Thursday June 11 from Ticketek
Red Hill Amphitheatre – November 21
Def Leppard with special guests LIVE & Baby Animals
Tickets on sale Thursday June 11 from Red Hill Gigs
The Catalinbread Fuzzrite is a faithful reproduction of the classic Fuzzrite sound that can be heard on The Ventures’ “2,000 Pound Bee”, Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gada-Da-Vida”, to the Black Keys. “The Fuzzrite has a rich history of taking guitar tones to new levels; it is splatty, raw and unapologetic. We’ve brought back the classic silicon circuit and added the option for a 9v power supply.”
To honor the original Fuzzrite, Catalinbread put this circuit in a minimalist enclosure. The Depth control adds brightness and gain, while the Volume knob controls your overall output volume.
Catalinbread Fuzzrite Features:
- Faithful recreation of the original classic circuit
- Saturated, gnarly, sixties fuzz
- True bypass
- Hand-made in Portland, Oregon, USA
- Accepts standard 9v center-negative power
Check out this great demo from Andy at ProGuitarShop.com who demonstrates the different types of fuzz tones you can squeeze out of this cool pedal:
For more information check out Catlinbread’s website.
PRESS RELEASE: FEAR FACTORY, the pioneers of industrial-tinged extreme metal, have issued the following update regarding their upcoming 9th studio release, »Genexus«:
“The sensation of finalizing our newest album is one of relief and joy, wrapped within a massive whirlwind of excitement,” commented founding guitarist Dino Cazares.
“We really feel this is a very special FEAR FACTORY album. While being careful not to replicate ourselves, this album still has a very classic FEAR FACTORY vibe that we feel will appease both old and new fans.
The aggressive, melodic and industrial elements are all intact and shine more than ever.
Burt and I produced the album with Rhys Fulber co-producing. Damien Rainuad and Giuseppe Bassi handled most of the keys and pre-production. We also enlisted the masterful metallic skills of Andy Sneap for an amazing mixing job!
We would like to thank everyone who has been a big part in the making of this record. We can’t wait for everybody to hear it.”
»Genexus« will be released on August 7th worldwide via Nuclear Blast Entertainment.
The record was co-produced by long-time collaborator Rhys Fulber, along with Cazares and Bell and mixed by Andy Sneap (ARCH ENEMY, TESTAMENT, EXODUS, MACHINE HEAD).
FEAR FACTORY will hit the road this July in anticipation of their upcoming Nuclear Blast Entertainment debut.
03.07. D Löbnitz – With Full Force
04.07. D Münster – Vainstream Rockfest
05.07. NL Utrecht – Tivolivredenburg
07.07. F Lille – Le Splendid
08.07. F Besancon – La Rodia
10.07. D Ballenstedt – Rockharz Festival
11.07. CZ Ostrava – Barrak
12.07. SRB Novi Sad – Exit Festival
13.07. SK Bratislava – Randall
15.07. A Dornbirn – Conrad Sohm
16.07. D Aglasterhausen – Substage
17.07. B Dour – Dour Festival
18.07. E Viveiro – Resurrection Fest
20.07. SLO Tolmin – Metaldays
Formed in Los Angeles, California in 1989, FEAR FACTORY changed the world of metal and have become a huge influence on the genre ever since their inception.
The band’s unique sound helped bridge the gap between death metal, grindcore, thrash, and industrial on landmark releases like »Soul Of A New Machine«, »Demanufacture«, and the gold-selling release,»Obsolete«.
I've never played a Pure Salem guitar but I'm well aware of them. And I've heard that they are great for their price range. I've always associated them with Eastwood guitars in that they take familiar guitars and put a nice twist on them, or take less familiar guitars and re-introduce them to the masses.
I love the top on this Left-Handed Sad Fester. Is that walnut? Or something more exotic? I've checked their website quickly and could not find one like this to find out.
At $400 it would be a great guitar for any lefty. Or I could buy it and string it backwards.
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The legendary Rolling Stones have announced that Martin Ambassador Ed Sheeran will open their show in Kansas City on June 27th at Arrowhead Stadium! The Rolling Stones kicks off their 15 city Zip Code tour on May 24th.
Want to see Ed in action with his Ed Sheeran X Signature Edition? Tickets are available for the show here.
Interested in playing what Ed plays? Find a dealer here to order your Ed Sheeran X Signature Edition.
Ok MESA you win, the best demonstration of an amp I’ve seen in a long time. Mesa’s Director of R&D, Doug West, explains each of the modes on the insanely great sounding mini head, the MESA Mark Five: 25 with the one and only Andy Timmons, a long time user of Mesa/Boogie amps, feeding the little monster with his splendid licks. In this demonstration the Mesa Mark Five: 25 is running into a Rectifier 2×12 cab loaded with Celestion Vintage 30s, Mic’d with a Shure SM57, Shure KSM 313 and the internal Mesa CabClone set to the Open Back Cab Mode mixed with 40% SM57, 40% KSM 313 and 20% CabClone.
I am blown away, I definitely want to try this amp in person after seeing and listening to this video… if only I could play like Andy Timmons!
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IK Multimedia have announced Amplitube 4 for iOS is coming and it looks and sounds great. In fact I think the interface looks a lot more polished on the iPad version of Amplitube 4 than the desktop version of Amplitube Custom Shop and the interaction with moving mics and effects seems very intuitive. Amplitube 4 also inclues a new looper although it looks very similar to the popular iOS app Loopy? Anyway check out the promo video below:
One of the best new additions to the iOS app is the new Cab Room (see video below) which lets you select speaker cabinets and mics, then position the mics by dragging them around on screen in a 3D space.
Amplitube 4’s new Cab Room:
For more info check out http://www.ikmultimedia.com/.
PRESS RELEASE: IK Multimedia, the leader in mobile music creation technology, is pleased to announce the latest version of AmpliTube® for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Version 4 of the ultimate mobile guitar and bass tone studio has been completely redesigned and re-engineered to provide the best possible sound and an even more intuitive, player-friendly experience.
AmpliTube 4 for iOS
AmpliTube’s new digital signal processor (the same DSP found in AmpliTube 3 Custom Shop for Mac/PC) provides the same astounding sound quality as the acclaimed desktop version. Its new “Cab Room” lets users mic cabinets in 3D with up to 2 microphones – to complement this, IK has released 16 new microphone models that are now available for purchase. AmpliTube’s new Looper makes it easy to play great sounding loops while on the go. In addition, musicians can now expand their sonic creativity with more stompboxes in their rig (up to 6 total) via a drag and drop interface that provides 4 open slots before the amplifier and 2 open slots afterwards.
Along with these major updates, the latest version also includes a number of interface upgrades, organizational tweaks and other improvements to ensure that AmpliTube for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch is the most professional, cutting-edge and advanced mobile guitar and bass tone studio of all time, and the easiest to use.
The #1 mobile guitar and bass tone studio
In 2010, IK Multimedia sparked a mobile music revolution when it released iRig and AmpliTube for iPhone. And, quite frankly, things have never been the same – guitarists, bass players and other musicians finally had a way to rock out with great sounding tone anytime and anywhere. Now, with over 20 million downloads – and the support of heavy hitting brands like Fender™, Orange®, Soldano®, Ampeg® and more – AmpliTube is set to start an entirely new revolution with its biggest update yet. Completely re-engineered. Completely re-designed. It’s a whole new experience and revolution of tone.
Superior sound quality
The biggest change to AmpliTube for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch is something that can’t be seen but can be heard. That’s because the new AmpliTube features the same tone technology that can be found in AmpliTube 3 Custom Shop for OS X and PC. This means that IK has re-engineered every single amplifier, stompbox, cabinet and microphone so that they feature the same professional-grade sound that has appeared on countless records and has made the desktop version the standard for professional musicians, producers and recording studios around the world.
Upgraded sonic creativity
The latest version of AmpliTube allows for more creativity than ever before. Users can now create a guitar or bass rig comprised of 6 stompboxes, 1 amp, 1 cabinet and up to 2 freely positionable microphones. The process of making these rigs has been made even easier: now musicians can simply drag and drop their favourite effects into the provided slots. And, for added creativity, there are now 4 available spaces before the amplifier and 2 post-amplifier, which allows for an extreme amount of sonic tweaking.
This newly added premium sound quality is only enhanced by IK’s range of iRig instrument interfaces, like the new iRig 2, iRig HD and iRig PRO. These have been designed to complement AmpliTube and deliver the best possible sound anytime and anywhere. Plus, AmpliTube is Core MIDI compatible and features built-in integration with IK’s iRig BlueBoard Bluetooth MIDI controller.
Mic it in the 3D cab room
Another opening of creative possibilities comes in the form of AmpliTube’s new “Cab Room” feature. This gives musicians the keys to their very own virtual studio room that they can use to mic their cabinets in 3D with up to 2 different microphones. This makes it easy to find the sweet spot for any amp/cabinet combo. It also makes it easy to get wild and create an even wider spectrum of tonalities that aren’t possible in a flat world. To coincide with this new feature, AmpliTube also now sports 16 new microphones that are available for in-app purchase. These present a broad selection of condenser, dynamic and ribbon microphones that let musicians take advantage of the raw power of IK’s exclusive VRM™ (Volumetric Response Modelling) technology.
A super Looper
It’s well known that AmpliTube’s built-in multi-track recorder, DAW-style editor and Loop Drummer are all best in class. To augment these functions, IK has included a new Looper feature that gives users a convenient way to make and play up to 4 loops at a time. The Looper also features MIDI assignable controls, so it can be activated from the floor with any Core MIDI compatible controller like IK’s wireless iRig BlueBoard. This is perfect for musicians who want to create their own accompaniment on the fly and also experiment with different melodies, leads and chord progressions.
And a whole lot more
Beyond these major sonic updates, AmpliTube has also been given a complete intuitive GUI facelift. This makes it even easier for musicians to create fantastically rich and varied guitar tones on their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Navigation has been streamlined across the board and players will find the enhanced graphic interface natural and easy to use. This is most obviously seen in the “drag & drop” pedalboard section. But it’s also obvious in the gear browsing process, which now utilizes an easy to navigate carousel system that displays each piece of available gear just like they’re in a real physical gear shop. It makes picking out that perfect stompbox, amplifier, speaker cabinet or microphone a breeze.
Pricing and availability
The new versions of AmpliTube for iPhone/iPod touch and AmpliTube for iPad are available now as a complimentary update for existing users or as a paid app for new users for just $19.99. Expandable demo and LE “Light Edition” versions are available for iPhone and iPod touch. An expandable demo version is also available for iPad.
AmpliTube is highly expandable via in-app purchase. New available expansion features include the 3D Dual Mic Positioning Cab Room ($9.99), 16 Mic Bundle ($9.99, also available individually for $0.99 each), Looper ($9.99) and the All New Features bundle ($19.99), which includes the Dual Mic Positioning “Cab Room”, 16 Mic Bundle and the Looper. All other new enhancements to AmpliTube are included at no additional charge.
As with previous versions of AmpliTube, all purchased gear can be freely transferred between all versions and between iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Download the new AmpliTube 4 for iPhone & iPod touch from the App Store:
To see the official video of AmpliTube in action, go to:
AmpliTube is part of IK Multimedia’s growing family of app, hardware and accessory products for mobile musicians. For the complete current lineup of interfaces, controllers, DJ products, microphones, stands and device holders, please visit:
By: Robert Cavuoto
As bassist and vocalist for the Moody Blues since 1966 John Lodge has written some of the most memorable songs for the band, such as “Natural Hour,” “Ride my See-Saw,” “The Eyes of a Child,” and “I’m Just a Singer [In a Rock n Roll Band]”, to name a few.
John has just released a new solo CD entitled; 10,000 Light Years Ago, on May 5th. It’s a very personal collection of songs that he has been creating over the course of the past four to five years.
From the opening song, “In My Mind” to the biographical song of growing up in England called “Those Days in Birmingham,” John paints a beautiful landscape about living life in the present and never looking back.
Robert Cavuoto: I’m intrigued by the title of your new CD, 10,000 Light Years Ago, as well as the song of the same name?
John Lodge: It came together from a train of thought that I had – “The future is always in reach, but the past is gone forever.” People always ask why haven’t you written a book and delved into your past?
I always say, “I’m not that type of person.” I only think about today and the future – what I can do in the moment. I came up with the idea of “10,000 Light Years Ago,” as the past is so far way that you can never reach it so there is no need to dwell on it. The past is only important in that where I am today.
The experiences that I’ve had over the years made me who I am today, the person and musician. So, I wanted to write a song coming from that perspective.
Robert: When you look back over your career, do you think you lived life to the fullest and savored it?
John Lodge: All that really matters is where I am today and the karma I have today. If you are feeling good within yourself perhaps what you have done is right. You may have wanted to do other things, or may have done things differently, but you didn’t do it, so there is no use dwelling on?
Robert: Why was now the right time for you to release this CD?
John Lodge: I was writing and touring with the Moody Blues, so my music was coming through as a Moody Blue. That has been really good for me and I have enjoyed being part of that because of who I am.
I haven’t recorded a new CD in such a long time and really need more than a band to make an album, you need people behind you. There is nothing worse than writing a song at 3:00am and wondering if anyone is ever going to listen to this? Will it ever see the light of day?
I have been thinking about making an album for the last four or five years, when I was approached by Cherry Red Record as they wanted to re-release an older album of mine on vinyl and asked if I would go back into the studio to remaster it. As I was remastering, I realized this was the type of sound that I like.
At the same time, they asked me if I would make a new album and that’s how it all came together. I wanted to record as close as to the way we recorded back in the early days as a complete band.
Robert: How long have you been writing for this release?
John Lodge: 10,000 Light Years Ago has been with me for quite a few years. I always knew that I wanted to write that song. I always knew that when I did make an album that would be the title and the last song on the album.
Robert: These songs seem very personal, is it difficult to share them with fans?
John Lodge: From writing with the Moody Blues and my solo material you can feel pretty naked because it’s your ego on the line. People always have a comment about it, so you really have to believe in the song and that it will stand the test of time.
Keep in mind that some of those songs were written when we were teenagers. Once you have recorded it and it goes out there, it’s done, there’s no taking it back. It is personal, but it’s important as people can see me from a personal point of view and a positive side.
There is a song on the album called “Simply Magic”, as I wrote it about my grandson. The idea of the song was that there are so many books and movies where the story is going great, then all of a sudden the wheels fall off. I wanted him to know that its not always the case. Things can start out great and then get even better.
Robert: That’s a great way to look at life, how important is it to find your own voice and style outside of the Moody Blues?
John Lodge: It is really important as I am a Moody Blue and an independent person, as well. I thought it would be nice to plant a tree and say this is me. This is me within these orchards.
Robert: My favorite track was “Those Days in Birmingham,” I feel as if I was transcended back in time. Tell me about the creation of it.
John Lodge: I was standing on stage one day and looking at all the equipment, the buses, the trucks, the lights, the sound system and I thought, it’s a long way from this little café by my school where I used to have lunch everyday as a boy. I would put money in the Rockola Jukebox to hear a song. That’s where I first heard some of my favorite songs.
My keyboardist thought it would be great to write a song about Birmingham and he put together the music for it. I put together all the lyrics and it came together.
On the artwork of the CD, there is a photo of me when I was 16 on the first day that I bought my Fender Precision bass and a photo of me taken in roughly the same position with that same bass. I still have it and it’s been on nearly every Moody Blues song we have ever recorded.
There is a line in the verse of that song where I’m looking out the window of the café at Jack Woodruff’s and that was the musical instrument shop where I bought the bass from. I can remember running home to my father and saying “Dad you have to help me, I need that bass – please.” I’m still the proud owner of it.
Robert: How did you manage to keep it so long, young kids tend to sell or trade their instruments off after a while for new trends or styles?
John Lodge: This bass is the most beautiful bass in the world as far as I’m concerned. It was the best thing you can ever buy and nothing was ever going to replace it. I lovingly cared for it over all these years. It is really an integral part of my life. It became my best friend in those hours of need.
Robert: That’s such an endearing story, I’m grateful that you shared it with me. You obviously have the same feeling about the Moody Blues, as you have been together for so long. What do you attribute the longevity of the band too?
John Lodge: I think the longevity is based on the fact that we only ever played and recorded songs we wrote as band. They become very personal as you write and then present it to the other guys. They in turn put their own persona on it.
Same as when they write, you want to add your persona to it as well. Every night that you are performing those songs there are people who have never heard them before. You’re not copying something or repeating someone else’s work, it’s something you created from nothing. If you have become a musician and play something you created, that gives the extra bonus in your life.
Robert: The band must have an excellent friendship to stand the test of time, what’s the secret?
John Lodge: I think because we got together to make music. We didn’t get together for fame and fortune. If there is a secret, that is it.
Robert: In your career with the Moody Blues, have you ever written a song that you thought would be a hit and wasn’t or vice versa?
John Lodge: We never thought about the singles market, we only ever wanted the album to be released. There were even a couple of albums that we didn’t release singles. We wanted the album to represent who we were, not just the single.
The record company would pick the single, in some instance they would say the song was four minutes long, so for radio we reduced it to 2 ½ minutes. [Laughing] We would explain that’s not what we are about or who we are. We wanted to travel a different path to mainstream pop.
Robert: The times have truly changed as most pop bands are only interested in hit singles.
John Lodge: That comes from sharing and downloading. If someone has a huge number of downloads, then of course it must be good – but that’s not necessarily true. Some of the greatest rock ‘n roll songs that influenced all the British music were not really hits. I remember Buddy Holly turned me and everybody on in England and he probably only had one hit record. Does that mean he wasn’t popular? Buddy traveled a different road, and for me it was musical enlightenment.
Robert: You have had so many great touring partners, is there a band or artist that sticks out in your mind?
John Lodge: One of the first tours we did in the U.S. was with Canned Heat; I loved the combination as we were two different types of bands, but both from the ’60s. We did tours with Chicago and the Beach Boys and that was real fun. What is really nice is you go on the road with these different artists and you become friends.
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