Picture by Frank Piercy
JWS: Hello John, it’s John from Progradar here.
JL: Hello John.
JWS: How are you?
JL: I’m fine thanks and you?
JWS: Yes I’m fine as well, let’s talk about your new album (‘Days of Future Passed – My Sojourn’). I’ve heard it and I think it’s great, a bold reimagining off a truly classic album, reworked for the modern times.
JL: Thank you very much, I tried to stay true to the emotion of ‘Days of Future Passed’ but with a twist for 2023. Hopefully people can relate to it, especially the younger fans. Hopefully they will wonder what the original version was like.
JWS: Well, I went back to the original and compared the two versions. I really enjoyed going back and hearing it again but I also liked the new version as well. I especially liked the way your bass was more prominent.
JL: When we made the original, we recorded it with two four-track machines. Now, of course, we have far more technology available to use so we were able to get the sound we’d originally envisaged for it. We were able to give the sound for the bass more room and, indeed, all the instruments were given more space, their own space.
JWS: Well I think it’s worked well, it’s a great idea. You’ve not just taken an album, you’ve not merely replicated it, you’ve reimagined it and made it sound more modern and contemporary.
JL: Well that was what I was hoping for, I’m glad you like it.
JWS: I also like that you have Jon Davison of Yes singing Tuesday Afternoon on the new version, I think he sounds really great.
JL: John is a good guy, a great singer writer and a great guy as well. I know him from 2017 and the Royal Affair tour I did with Yes and Asia where I joined them for an encore of John Lennon’s Imagine. Jon joined me for a version of Ride My See Saw, which Jon has done on several occasions very memorably.
JWS: I also liked that you managed to get Graeme Edge involved with his poetry,
JL: Yes I asked Graeme if he be willing to be involved and he said that he’d love to as he’d never read his own poetry before. So Graeme and I went into the studio in Florida where he recorded his poetry, sadly he passed the next week, so he never got to hear the finished recording. but at least I was with him near the end.
JWS: You were big friends with Ray Thomas as well?
JL: Yes I first met Ray when I was 15 and we’ve worked together ever since. I do a song in his memory in my show, Legend of a Mind, in his honour. He was a remarkable man really, I miss him dreadfully .
JWS: It’s good that you uphold their memory in such a manner.
JL: Well I want keep these songs alive otherwise they will fade away! They don’t get played much, unless it’s in a medley, and they deserve more than that really.
JWS: Well I have both of Ray’s albums, and both of Graeme’s, on my shelf. I was listening to some of your back catalogue recently, including a set on the ‘Timeless Flight’ boxset of the ‘Blue Jays’, live from Lancaster University. You had the Trapeze boys with you on that show.
JL: Yes, Dave Holland, Terry Rowley and Mel Galley, fabulous chaps one and all! I produced their ‘Medusa’ album, they were a great band.
JWS: Listening to your albums, as I have been doing over the past few days, has given me a fresh appreciation for just how ground-breaking you were as a band. The music on those first six albums was beautifully crafted, intelligent and well thought out. I think people simply failed to recognise that beauty.
JL: I’m glad you said that because I feel that way as well. People tend to overlook that, I don’t think the media ever gave us a fair chance really but we were pushing the boundaries of where music was.
JWS: I used to love the sleeve artwork as they told the story as well, with their imagery and artwork supporting the music in a complementary manner.
JL: Well that’s what I’m so glad that vinyl is making a comeback. This new album is being released on vinyl in November, I’ve just had the masters from Germany, and it sounds great.
JWS: I think kids today miss the sheer joy of trawling through crates of vinyl, discovering stuff for themselves.
JL: That’s the issue I have with streaming, they dictate what you hear so, say Lennon’s Imagine, you only get to hear certain songs and omit songs like Jealous Guy.
JWS: Well John, my time has gone so I’d better let you go, but thank you for talking with me about things, I really enjoyed it and appreciate your tim.
JL: Well, thank you as well John, I’ve enjoyed talking with you too.
‘Days of Future Passed – My Sojourn’ was released 22nd September, 2023.
Order the album here: