BASSISTS
JOHN LODGE. MOODY BLUES
M o o d y
B l u e s
s i n g e r
a n d
b a s s i s t
J o h n
L o d g e
b a s
s e e n
i t
a l l -
a n d
t e l l s
t b e
c o o l e s t
b i t s
t o A l i s o n
R i c h t e r
O
f y o u w a n t y o u r c a r e e r t o la s t f o r
d e c a d e s , lik e t h a t o f M o o d y B lu e s
b a s s p la y e r J o h n L o d g e , a p p ly t h e
s a m e p r in c ip le s a s in t h e p u n c h lin e
o f t h a t a g e - o ld jo k e : “H o w d o y o u
g e t to C a r n e g ie H a ll? ”
" P ra c tic e , p r a c tic e , p r a c tic e !” s a y s
L o d g e , w h o jo in e d t h e b a n d in 1 9 6 6 a n d h a s w r i t t e n s o m e
o f t h e i r m o s t p o p u la r s o n g s , in c lu d in g
Is n 't L if e S tra n g e '
I ’m J u s t A S in g e r ( In A R o c k A n d R o ll B a n d )', a n d ‘S te p p in
In A S lid e Z o n e ’ “ I p la y e v e r y d a y , w h e r e v e r I a m . e v e n
w h e n I 'm n o t o n t h e r o a d .” h e s a y s . “I f y o u lo v e w h a t y o u
d o . y o u 'r e g o in g to d o it a n y w a y . It's n o t a r it u a l, i t ’s n o t
a c h o r e . I ju s t p ic k u p m y g u it a r o r m y b a s s a n d p la y . I t ’s
g r e a t b e c a u s e y o u e x p e r im e n t w i t h d if f e r e n t w a y s o f
p la y in g . Y o u d o n 't h a v e to p la y y o u r o w n m u s ic . Y o u c a n
p la y a n y t h in g , a n d I d o . I s e e h o w a s o n g is m a d e u p . t h e
c h o r d s e q u e n c e s a n d t im in g - t h e y ’re im p o r t a n t , a ll th o s e
th in g s . Y o u c a n o n ly d o t h a t b y p r a c tic e , p r a c tic e , p ra c tic e .”
A ll t h a t p r a c tic e h a s k e p t L o d g e a n d h is lo n g t im e
m u s ic a l p a r tn e r s , J u s tin H a y w a r d a n d G r a e m e E d g e ,
g o in g s t r o n g f o r a lm o s t fiv e d e c a d e s , s e llin g o v e r 5 5
m illio n a lb u m s w o r ld w id e , e a r n in g 1 8 p la t in u m a lb u m s ,
a n d g a t h e r in g n u m e r o u s a w a r d s a lo n g t h e w a y . A s t h e
M o o d y B lu e s c o n t in u e t h e i r 2 0 1 5 t o u r in ta n d e m w i t h
t h e r e c e n t ly re le a s e d b o x s e t.
T h e P o l y d o r Y e a r s 1 9 8 6 -
1 9 9 2 .
L o d g e is a ls o c e le b r a tin g t h e re le a s e o f h is s e c o n d
s o lo a lb u m . 1 0 ,0 0 0
L i g h t Y e a r s A g o ,
w h ic h fe a tu r e s
c o n t r ib u t io n s f r o m f o r m e r M o o d y B lu e s m e m b e r s R a y
T h o m a s a n d M ik e P in d e r . T h e d is c c o m e s a m e r e 3 8 y e a r s
a f t e r h is r e c e n t ly r e is s u e d d e b u t.
N a t u r a l A v e n u e .
L o d g e d e s c r ib e s t h e m u s ic a n d h is p la y in g o n th e
n e w d is c a s “b a c k to b a s ic s ", w i t h t h e a lb u m 's o v e r a ll fe e l
h a r k e n in g b a c k to e a r ly r o c k ’n ’r o ll in flu e n c e s . A t t h e s a m e
tim e , h e h o ld s it u p n e x t to c la s s ic M o o d y B lu e s s o n g s
a s m o s t r e p r e s e n ta tiv e o f h is s to r ie d c a ta lo g u e a s a b a s s
p la y e r.
" T u e s d a y A f t e r n o o n ’ [ f r o m
D a y s O f F u t u r e P a s s e d .
1 9 6 7 ] is a g o o d o n e t o in v e s tig a te , b e c a u s e t h e a r p e g g io s
a r e in te r e s tin g ," h e s a y s . “T h e r e 's n o t m a n y b a s s p a r ts t h a t
[in c lu d e ] t h a t t y p e o f t h in g . 'Q u e s tio n ' [ f r o m
Q u e s t i o n O f
B a l a n c e ,
1 9 7 0 ] is in t e r e s t in g b e c a u s e it's n o t f r o m t h e r o o t.
I lik e to f in d w a y s o f p la y in g a s o n g t h a t a r e n ’t a c t u a lly
t h e r o o t o f t h e c h o r d , a n d 'Q u e s tio n ' is a g o o d o n e f o r th a t;
a ls o 'S in g e r ( In A R o c k A n d R o ll B a n d ) ’ b e c a u s e , to m e , a t
t h e t im e t h a t w a s s o r t o f a m o d e r n r if f . O n t h e n e w a lb u m
th e r e 's a s o n g c a lle d C r a z y ’ t h a t 's g o t a t y p e o f b a s s t r a c k
t h a t ’s lik e t h e 6 0 s . o r t h e 5 0 s e v e n , a n d a n o t h e r s o n g
c a lle d ‘S im p ly M a g ic ’ w h ic h is t h e t y p e o f t h in g I lik e d o in g
w i t h a c o u s tic s o n g s , w h e n y o u 'v e g o t a b a s s p la y in g w i t h
a n a c o u s tic g u it a r a n d a flu te ."
G r o w in g u p in B ir m in g h a m , L o d g e w a s in f lu e n c e d
e a r ly o n b y A m e r ic a n r o c k ’n 'r o ll t r a ilb la z e r s s u c h a s J e r r y
L e e L e w is . L it t le R ic h a r d , C h u c k B e r r y , a n d B u d d y H o lly
- p ia n o p la y e r s a n d g u ita r is ts . I t w a s m o r e t h a n t h e ir
in s t r u m e n t s a n d v o ic e s t h a t im p a c te d h im , h o w e v e r . “T h e
b a n d s t h e y h a d . w h a t w a s o n t h e le f t - h a n d s id e , in t r ig u e d
m e ,’’ h e s a y s . “ I t w a s e it h e r t h e w a lk in g b a s s e s o r t h e r i f f
b a s s e s . 'L u c ille b y L it t le R ic h a r d h a s g o t t h e g r e a te s t r i f f
y o u c o u ld e v e r h a v e . T h a t ’s w h a t I h e a r d , b u t I d id n ’t k n o w a t t h e t im e t h a t 's w h a t I w a s
lis t e n in g to . W h e n B u d d y H o lly c a m e a lo n g . I r e a lis e d a ll t h e c h o r d s t h a t h e w a s p la y in g ,
a n d t h a t ’s w h a t in t r ig u e d m e . H e m a y o n ly h a v e u s e d f o u r d if f e r e n t c h o r d s , b u t h e w r o t e
s o m a n y s o n g s w i t h th o s e c h o r d s ! I t h o u g h t , ’H o w d id h e d o th a t? ' W h e n I w a s t r y i n g to
le a r n e v e r y s o n g t h a t B u d d y h a d e v e r w r i t t e n . I s u d d e n ly r e a lis e d t h a t th e r e w e r e r if f s
t h a t w e r e n 't t h e r e o n th o s e s o n g s t h a t w e r e in t h e p ia n o p a r t s o n L it t le R ic h a r d 's , a n d it
d a w n e d o n m e t h a t w a s w h a t I lik e d . I s t a r t e d p la y in g r if f s t o B u d d y H o lly s o n g s o n t h e
b o t t o m f o u r s t r in g s o n m y g u it a r a n d t h a t ’s w h e r e it d e v e lo p e d . I r e a lis e d t h a t w h a t I
r e a lly e n jo y e d w a s b e in g t h e d r iv in g fo r c e b e h in d t h e s o n g s ."
Im m e r s in g h im s e lf in b e c o m in g t h a t d r iv in g fo r c e , h e s tu d ie d t h e w o r k o f s tu d io g re a ts .
“ It w a s v e r y d if f ic u lt to f in d o u t w h o w a s p la y in g b a s s o n a lo t o f r e c o r d s in E n g la n d ,”
h e s a y s . " C a ro l K a y e , o f c o u rs e , w a s o n e o f t h e o r ig in a ls , b u t p r o b a b ly t h e p e r s o n t h a t
in f lu e n c e d m e m o s t w a s J a m e s J a m e r s o n . E v e r y t im e a n y M o t o w n a r t is t w a s p e r f o r m in g
in t h e U K . h e w o u ld p r o b a b ly b e f r o n t in g t h e b a c k in g b a n d , s o a n y w h e r e t h e y w e r e
p la y in g , I ’d g o a n d se e h im b e c a u s e , f o r m e , h e w a s t h e d r iv in g fo rc e . I k n o w y o u ’v e g o t a ll
t h e g r e a t b ig w a ll- o f - s o u n d - t y p e s o n g s , a n d g r e a t h a r m o n ie s a n d g r e a t s in g e rs , b u t t h a t
r h y t h m f r o m t h e b a s s : J a m e r s o n h a d th a t . W h e n y o u h e a r [s in g s M o t o w n - s t y le b a s s lin e ],
th e r e 's s o m e th in g s p e c ia l a b o u t th a t . I u s e d to s it a t h o m e w o r k in g o u t a ll o f h is b a s s p a r ts ,
a n d I ’d b e u p a ll n ig h t t r y in g . W h a t w a s r e a lly in t e r e s t in g is t h a t h e w e n t a c ro s s a ll th e
c h o r d s , s o y o u le a r n e d p a tte r n s . T h a t's im p o r t a n t , b e c a u s e w h e n y o u le a r n a p a tt e r n o n a
b a s s , y o u h e a r it w i t h i n t h e c h o r d . P e o p le d o n ’t h a v e t o t e ll y o u w h a t c h o r d t h e y 'r e p la y in g ,
b e c a u s e s o m e h o w y o u h e a r it. I f y o u u n d e r s t a n d w h a t ’s g o in g o n . t h e n y o u c a n ja m w i t h
a n y b o d y , b e c a u s e y o u h e a r w h e n t h e c h a n g e s a r e c o m in g a n d y o u c a n m o v e a lo n g ."
L o d g e t r a n s it io n e d f r o m g u it a r t o a T u x e d o b a s s , a n d t h e n a H o f n e r P r e s id e n t m o d e l.
T h e n h e s a w a F e n d e r P r e c is io n . " T h a t w a s it.” h e s a y s . T w a s 1 6 y e a r s o f a g e a n d i t w a s
lik e . A h h ! ’ It w a s e v e r y t h in g I ’d e v e r w a n te d . W i t h m y fa t h e r 's h e lp , w e b o u g h t it, a n d I
s t ill h a v e t h a t o n e to d a y ."
H e r e lie s o n t h a t o r ig in a l P r e c is io n w h e n t r a c k in g d e m o s a t h o m e in E n g la n d . " I t ’s a
b e a u t if u l b a s s , a n d I d o n ’t w a n t a n y t h in g to g o w r o n g i f I ta k e i t o n t h e r o a d a n d i t g e ts
d a m a g e d ,” h e s a y s . “ I t ’s to o p re c io u s ."
O n s ta g e , h e p la y s a F e n d e r c u s to m s h o p r e p lic a o f t h e P r e c is io n , a c u s to m s h o p , o n e -
o f - a - k in d . s o lid w o o d T e le c a s te r g u it a r a n d b a s s d o u b le - n e c k t h a t m a k e s a n a p p e a ra n c e
d u r in g 'Is n 't L if e S tr a n g e ’, a n d a F e n d e r c u s to m s h o p J a z z , a r e p lic a o f a 1 9 6 2 d o t s u n b u r s t
m o d e l. “ I t ’s a d o t lo n g n e c k , w h ic h a r e v e r y r a r e t o fin d ," h e s a y s . “Y o u ’v e g o t t h e e x t r a t w o
fr e ts , w h ic h I r e a lly lik e b e c a u s e y o u c a n g e t r ig h t u p to t h e o c ta v e s o n it . A s a b a c k u p I'v e
g o t a n o t h e r J a z z b a s s , t h e p e a r l b a r o n e , a n d t h a t ’s a r e g u la r n e c k . I u s e t h e d o t o n s ta g e ,
a n d I r e c o r d e d t h e n e w a lb u m w i t h t h a t b a s s a n d a b it o f a c o u s tic b a s s a s w e ll."
O v e r t h e y e a r s . L o d g e h a s u s e d S u n n , H iw a t t , a n d M a r s h a ll a m p lif ie r s , b u t h e
s w e a r s b y A m p e g v a lv e a m p s b e c a u s e “t h e y m a k e t h e b a s s b r e a th e , h a v e life , a n d i t ’s
f u ll fr e q u e n c y . I u s e t w o v a lv e a m p lif ie r s o n s ta g e , a n d I'v e g o t a s o lid c ir c u it o n e in
c a s e e v e r y t h in g b lo w s u p ." H e u s e d h is A m p e g s o n
1 0 , 0 0 0 L i g h t Y e a r s A g o .
In lie u o f a
p e d a lb o a r d , h e u s e s a T o f t A u d io D e s ig n s c o m p r e s s o r . "I d o n ’t r e a lly u s e a n y f o o t p e d a ls
a n y m o re ," h e s a y s . “ E v e r y t h in g is o n t h e r a c k w i t h m y tu n e r s , a n d t h e r e ’s n o c o n f lic t
b e tw e e n t h e b a s s o n s ta g e a n d t h e b a s s o f f t h e P A s y s te m . I ’v e g o t t h e e x a c t s o u n d 1
w a n t ,
a n d t h a t e x a c t s o u n d g o e s o u t in t o t h e h o u s e ."
In a d d it io n to t h e a fo r e m e n t io n e d p r a c tic e , L o d g e c r e d its h is e n d u r in g r e la t io n s h ip
w i t h H a y w a r d a n d E d g e f o r b o t h t h e M o o d y B lu e s ’ lo n g e v it y a n d t h e q u a lit y o f t h e i r liv e
p e r fo r m a n c e s . “ W e r e r e a lly lu c k y in t h e M o o d y B lu e s , b e c a u s e t h e o n ly s o n g s w e p la y a r e
t h e s o n g s w e ’v e w r i t t e n o u r s e lv e s .” h e s a y s . " E v e r y p a r t t h a t I p la y o n s ta g e is s o m e th in g
t h a t I w o r k e d o u t o r ig in a lly w h e n w e r e c o r d e d t h e s o n g , a n d t h e s a m e is t r u e f o r J u s tin
a n d G r a e m e . E v e r y n ig h t , p a r t o f y o u is c o m in g o u t o n s ta g e , b e c a u s e y o u m a d e t h a t
p a r t ic u la r b a s s o r g u it a r o r d r u m p a r t. W h e n y o u ’r e p la y in g s o n g s lik e
Is n ’t L if e S tra n g e '
o r ‘N ig h t s In W h i t e S a tin ’, t h e te m p o a n d t h e w a y y o u f a ll d o w n o n t h e b e a t is r e a lly
im p o r t a n t . I k n o w w h e r e G r a e m e is g o in g to f a ll o n t h e b e a t, a n d s o w e c a n c o m e d o w n
to g e t h e r o n t h e r ig h t n o te e v e r y tim e . T h a t ’s w h a t ’s e x c itin g . I t ’s r e a lly im p o r t a n t to c o m e
o f f s ta g e a t t h e e n d o f t h e n ig h t a n d to k n o w t h a t to t h e b e s t o f y o u r a b ility , y o u g o t a ll t h e
t im in g r ig h t a s a m u s ic ia n ." H
1 0 , 0 0 0 L i g h t Y e a r s A g o
is o u t n o w . In fo : w w w .m o o d y b lu e s t o d a y .c o m
BASS GUITAR MAGAZINE
previous page 46 Bass Guitar 2015 Issue 117 May read online next page 48 Bass Guitar 2015 Issue 117 May read online Home Toggle text on/off