John Lodge is used to the surreal. As bass guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for Rock & Roll Hall Of Famers The Moody Blues, stranger scenarios have always been part of his stock and trade. That’s reflected in his musical contributions from early on and songs such as “Ride My See Saw,” “Isn’t Life Strange?,” “Steppin’ in a Slide Zone,” “Gemini Dream,” and any number of other tracks he wrote over the course of the band’s more than 50 years of existence. That’s one of many reasons why the band’s tallied sales of more than 70 million albums over the course of their career and why Lodge himself has frequently been named one of the most influential bassist of all times, Indeed, he has been the recipient of any number of honors awards, including an Ivor Novello Award and recognition from the American Society of Composers and Publishers.
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With the Moodies’ uncertain status at present — both Lodge and vocalist/guitarist Justin Hayward are apparently intent on pursuing individual efforts — Lodge has revived a solo career that began in 1977 with his initial album Natural Avenue and then reactivated nearly 40 years later with 10,000 Light Years Ago, a project that featured his namesake outfit, the 10,000 Light Years band. A live album, Live from Birmingham: The 10,000 Light Years Tour followed two years later in 2017 along with a compilation of his best Moodies songs that he rerecorded titled B Yond — The Very Best Of.
Lodge’s new single “In These Crazy Times (Isolation Mix)” continues that trajectory. Lush, ethereal and insightful, it harkens back to classic Moodys circa the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Recorded in his home studios by Lodge in his home studio, it features him performing practically single-handedly on vocals, guitars, bass, keys and drums.
“In These Crazy Times” can be downloaded and streamed by visiting this link. In addition, Lodge recorded a video explaining the origins of the song.
Despite the uncertain circumstances, “In These Crazy Times” shares a sense of unbounded optimism and determination. In a note announcing the release of the CD, Lodge stated, “In 1967, The Moody Blues recorded Days of Future Passed, and we were in the studio in lockdown 24 hours a day creating an album that changed my life. Being in lockdown now reminds me of the creativity and solitude that took place during that period of my life. So I have taken the opportunity, given by this lockdown period, to write and record a new song about these difficult days, days that stretched into weeks and months.”
When the pandemic struck, Lodge had just finished performing on the Rock and Romance Cruise, which ended up being his last public outing to date. “Within three days, my wife and I were ‘stranded’,” he recalled. “Music is my life, and without a studio (or my band), I decided to perfect my use of Garageband to create all the instruments, and record my guitars and vocals in my home studio.
In fact, he decided to make the project more or less a family affair. “As I believe we are all in this together, I thought what a great idea to involve all of my family,” Lodge explains. “My wife Kirsten is singing backing vocals (for the first time!), my son Kristian is playing lead guitar, his wife Inga took the photo for the cover (with social distancing!), Jon Davison from the band Yes has joined me on vocals, and Emily, my daughter, is managing the whole thing.” Davidson and his Kristian added their parts in their homes, and it was then sent to Lodge’s sound engineer Ray Nesbit to mix at his own home studio. “It truly is an ‘Isolation Mix’,” Lodge insists. “My wish is that we can all be together again soon, and then I hope that my 10,000 Light Years Band and I can get together and make a ‘Freedom Mix’.”