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This article was published 1/8/2009 (2789 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
5The show itself isn't a problem; it's the night before a concert when the Moody Blues drummer dreams about the horrors that can happen to a band during a gig.
He admits to suffering from anxiety dreams in which nothing goes right. Some of his night terrors include drumming with bananas, being chased by children through a school and having the curtains open on an empty arena.
His worst recurring dream is straight out of This is Spinal Tap -- getting lost on the way to the stage.
"I get it all the time; you cannot find the stage," he says. "You've left the dressing room and you're rushing around all the corridors. Everybody gets that one. That's the most horrible one, trying to get to the stage on time with the crowd clapping, then it turns into a slow clap and boos.
"We've had the slow handclap before, but it clears up as soon as you get there."
The fact Edge still gets nervous is a bit of a surprise, since he's played thousands of shows over the years since the band formed in Birmingham, England, in 1964.
None of his nightmares have ever come true, but things are never boring and he's still gets surprised by some of the antics that happen on the road.
He cites an example during a recent show when something flew through the air and crashed on stage, just missing frontman Justin Hayward, who couldn't see the flying object because of the light in his eyes.
"It was somebody's artificial leg," Edge says with a laugh over the phone from Tampa Bay, Fla. "The roadie picked it up, because it's an important thing, and said to me, 'What should I do with it?' I told him to throw it back and he did. The person who lost it must have got it back because there was no one after the show with one leg looking for it."
It's those kinds of unpredictable incidents that keep the three remaining 1960s members -- Edge, Hayward and bassist John Lodge -- on the road, despite not having released any new music since the album Strange Times in 1999. Winnipeggers will get a chance to see them live when they play the Centennial Concert Hall Tuesday, their first visit here since an appearance at the MTS Centre in 2007.
The reason for the lack of new Moody Blues material is that there's no label willing to bankroll music from a veteran act unless it gets some cut of touring proceeds, says Edge, which the band refuses to go for.
If there were a new album, the group would probably put it out themselves as they did in 1969, when they were one of the first bands to form their own label in order to have complete control over the artistic process, from the song lengths to the album art.
"With that freedom, one of those things we did was the concept album rather than a single," Edge says. "There was some magic in it you can't define -- we called it stardust. On a concept album you've got enough time to show your abilities and qualities; with a single, if you don't get a right catchy hook it's a much more limited way to express yourself. Bands are coming to the same conclusion we did: if you want to show off, an album is the best way to do it."
He knows of what he speaks.
The Moody Blues are best known for their epic orchestral/psychedelic concept records in the 1960s and SSRq70s, most notably Days of Future Passed, On the Threshold of a Dream and Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. The format became almost obsolete with the emergence of punk rock and disco later in the 1970s, but has recently found a new life with bands like Green Day, My Chemical Romance and Nine Inch Nails releasing concept albums.
The Moody Blues were an album-oriented band, but they had many charting singles along the way, including Tuesday Afternoon, I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band) and Your Wildest Dreams. Of those, they will probably always be best known for Nights in White Satin, which has been covered an estimated 140 times, according to Edge, by everyone from punk band the Dickies to Nancy Sinatra.
It even became the inspiration for a theme ride at the Hard Rock Park in South Carolina. The park and ride have both since changed their names.
"I did go on the ride," Edge says with a laugh. "It needed more work: it was a glorified ghost ride. It was OK, but what where they doing to do? Spray it with acid when you went in the door? You would have got a lot of people coming back for seconds."
Sure, having a theme park ride designed in your honour is a sign of "making it," but the biggest deal for the band was getting on The Simpsons, Edge says.
"Then you know you're getting into the pores of society."
THE music of the Moody Blues has been covered in almost every style imaginable.
Nights in White Satin is an obvious favourite, with more than 140 versions performed by artists ranging from the Animals to Lionel Richie. Popera sensation Il Divo covers it (of course), and there have been covers performed by Gregorian Monks, pan flutists and ivory ticklers like Richard Clayderman.
Moody Blues drummer Graeme Edge has heard his band's music done in a number of genres, but one of the most memorable was the 2004 album Moody Bluegrass: A Nashville Tribute to the Moody Blues.
Over the years plenty of songs have been redone by bluegrass musicians, but this one was made by a respected Nashville roster including David Harvey, Alison Krauss, Sam Bush and Tim O'Brien.
Following the album's release the Moody Blues were invited to a show at the Grand Ole Opry theatre for a live experience. Edge played on the song Higher and Higher and showed off his Riverdancing skills.
"I wouldn't have thought of it in a million years, Edge says. "What I thought was funny was that during a couple of slower songs, they did it in one tempo, then if there was going to be a solo somebody would yell, 'Ramp it up!' and they would, then go back to the right tempo. I found it quite amusing. I guess that finger picking didn't translate to the slower songs."