When Justin Hayward isn’t touring the world — something he does about six months of the year — he spends his downtime writing and recording music.
In fact, said the singer-songwriter-guitarist for the Moody Blues?, “I can’t imagine not doing music.”
Perhaps that’s because he’s been doing it for more than four decades and, in the process, created some of the most memorable songs ever recorded.
Hayward wrote perhaps his most famous song, Nights in White Satin, when he was just 21.
That was 44 years ago.
And, although he’s performed the song hundreds of thousands of times, it never gets old.
In fact, Hayward said from his home in England, he finds something new with every concert “because the audience is different every night.”
“I never get fed up. I get something out of it every night.
“It’s nice to think that the music means something to people.”
While Nights is perhaps his most famous, it’s not his favourite song to perform.
Hayward said he loves the time on stage when the band does I Know You’re Out There Somewhere.
Both will be on the set list when the band performs in Kamloops at Interior Savings Centre on Oct. 5.
Hayward said the show will touch on every decade, including more recent works.
“There’s something for everyone. If you found us early, you’ll know those songs. If you came to us in the 1980s, you’ll know those songs.
“There’s always something for an audience member to discover.”
The tour starts next month with a couple of dates in the U.S., then it heads north for several weeks of Canadian dates.
After that, Hayward said, the band’s heading to New York for some television shooting and then it’s Down Under for an Australia-New Zealand tour.
Then it’s home time and, for Hayward, that means returning to songs he’s working on, recording and debating on what to do with them next.
When asked if bandmates Graeme Edge and John Lodge do the same, Hayward laughed.
“I don’t know what they do,” he said.
Perhaps that’s been part of the secret to the band’s longevity — and ability for the three of them to still like each other off-stage, too.
“There were the three years we went our own ways,” Hayward said, “but, for me, I did all my growing up in the band and I needed to just get a life.
“But there was nothing said that couldn’t be taken back.
“And this is the nicest incarnation of the group that we’ve ever had.”
When he says he grew up with the Moody Blues, Hayward’s pretty accurate.
He was asked to join the band when he was just 20 — and the offer came about when Hayward was unsuccessful in a bid to join Eric Burdon’s band.
Burdon was impressed with the musician, though, and sent his application, along with several others, to the band to consider as a replacement for Denny Laine, who had quit to create the Electric String Band.
Hayward had already been performing with the Marty Wilde Three in England.
It was Wilde who encouraged him to write songs, telling Hayward “that if I was going to survive in the business, I had to find my own identity.
“He thought I could do it through writing songs and I’m glad I did because it’s how I got the job” with the Moody Blues.
And even 40-plus years later, songwriting is work for him, he said.
“Easy is not the word,” Hayward said.
“Cathartic, fulfilling, those would be the words because, once it’s done, it feels good.
“I can’t imagine not doing it.”
Tickets for the show are $66.75 and $79.25 and available online at ticketmaster.ca or at the ISC box office.