Moody Blue John Lodge’s Fave Pianists

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John Lodge may best be known as the long-time bassist for the now defunct-Moody Blues, but for the Birmingham, England native, his music fuse was lit hearing early rock and roll piano players.
“I became a bass player because I used to listen to jukeboxes and the left-hand side was where you’d hear the piano—it was a driving force on the left-hand side of the piano—that’s what drove me,” he recalled.

John Lodge
(Photo by Frank Piercy)


Currently on the road commemorating the release of the Moody’s seminal 1967 sophomore outing Days of Future Passed, Lodge is keen to keep his former group’s legacy alive although the band was declared defunct following the retirement of late founding member Graeme Edge in 2018.
“That’s really important for me to say that the Moody Blues is part of my life,” he said. “It is my life. I’m still a Moody Blue now.”

The pandemic did much to disrupt the routines of touring musicians and Lodge was no exception. Having released 2019’s B Yond, his most recent solo outing, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer saw the tour grind to a halt in March 2020 when the world went into lockdown. A consummate optimist, Lodge was undeterred, going so far as to learn Garageband software, recorded the single “In These Crazy Times,” which made some noise on the UK charts and recruited Edge to contribute some pre-recorded bits for the forthcoming Days of Future Passed Tour.
“I had this idea of celebrating the anniversary [of Days] so I went to see Graeme and he really liked if I would record him reciting the poetry [on the album],” Lodge recalled. “I told him I wanted to film him as well, so he could be an integral part of Days of Future Passed because, ‘Breathe deep, the gathering gloom’ is historic and gigantic. He said he would love to because he wanted to keep the Moody Blues music alive as well, just like I do. I told him he’d always have a place on stage with me. I recorded and filmed him and he’ll be featured on stage as well. As you know, Graeme passed away, so he never got to see it. But his family will and it will be great.”

With his 10,000 Light Years band in tow, Lodge promises a two-part show with the early set consisting of Moody Blues classics and the second half of the evening being a presentation of Days of Future Passed in its entirety. Not unlike his idol, Motown bass-playing great Jamie Jamerson, Lodge will be front and center playing the same Fender Precision bass he purchased at his local music shop on a Saturday afternoon when he was only 16. In the meantime, he was happy to share some of those piano-playing greats who inspired him around that same time.

 

 

Little Richard (December 5, 1932 to May 9, 2020)
“What really resonated with me from Little Richard were the riffs coming off the piano and the band he played with, which I believe was put together by Dave Bartholomew, who did the same for Fats Domino.”

 

 

 

 

Fats Domino
(CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

 

 

Fats Domino (February 26, 1928 to October 24, 2017)
“Fats had a way of playing that English people didn’t understand. It was really self-grown. Pianists from the South were born with it and I don’t know how you learn that. I had to learn it from listening to records.”

 

 

 

Jerry Lee Lewis
(CC BY-SA 2.0)

Jerry Lee Lewis (September 25, 1935 to October 28, 2022)
“What made him so unique was the outrageousness of him that was great and a way of playing that was just phenomenal. He just kept rocking. Whatever he was doing, that left hand kept going. It was exciting to watching somebody like that playing the piano. You have to realize that we didn’t have anybody in England that could do that. When he came over to England it was like setting the flame alive for rock and roll piano for me.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johnnie Johnson (July 8, 1924 to April 13, 2005)
“I almost forgot to include Johnnie. Chuck Berry said he learned all his riffs from his pianist.”

 

 

 

John Lodge and the 10,0000 Light Year Band will be appearing on February 28 at The Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, 71 E. Main St., Patchogue. For more information, visit www.patchogueheatre.com or call 631-207-1313. Lodge will also be appearing on March 1 at Sony Hall, 235 W. 46th St., NYC. For more information, visit www.sonyhall.com or call 212-997-5123.  

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