Denny Laine interview, Part II (November 16th, 2013)

Welcome to Part II of my interview with Denny Laine at the River Music Club in Scituate, MA.  This interview was conducted backstage, just before Denny and his band hit the stage for their Abbey Road album concert.

Part II of the interview revolves around Denny’s take on the early days of Wings, when he knew he’d made it big, and what his favorite Wings’ tour was. Enjoy!

Part I of the interview can be found here: https://mccartneyfans.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/denny-laine-interview-part-i-november-16th-2013/

Part III of the interview can be found here: https://mccartneyfans.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/denny-laine-interview-part-iii-november-16th-2013/

 

Me: Now, when did you know that you’d hit it big?  You’ve been in a lot of bands, Denny and the Diplomats, The Electric String Band, The Moody Blues, Wings…

Laine: It’s a hard thing to describe, but the only way you can do it is by the milestones.  [About the Moody Blues] Having a number one hit is obviously a significant thing, “Yeah, we’ve made it to number one”. That’s a goal we never thought about reaching, never mind about reaching.  It was just, we got there. So that was the Chuck Berry tour, and that was our first public, if you like, big time exposure, where as before that you could say hey, we got from being kids at school to being the local band that did well in Birmingham. My drummer friend who was in my band The Diplomats went over to form ELO. Same with a lot of other people I’ve known who’ve become successful in other fields. You know, they just were those kind of people that wanted to make it. Ambition was there.  And the encouragement. So, I mean we’re encouraged to do what we did and you know, it wasn’t for lack of hard work, by the way.  I mean you had to work at promoting yourself. 

     The Beat record labels didn’t have a clue how to deal with, as The Beatles’ story will tell you, didn’t have a clue how to deal with the rock and rollers.  George Martin actually liked “Till There Was You” and that’s one reason he signed the Beatles to a comedy label. EMI didn’t want to know.  But anyway, they got in the door, to George Martin through the strings, The Moodys were the strings. The fusion of music, I think, was happening then. I had a string band, you know. That was a thing. So, the mixture of music. And then coming up with your own songs. That’s pretty important, telling it from your point of view and not just from the point of view of everybody around you. In other words, you concentrate more on writing your own stuff.  Like more artistic endeavor than just being a performer. And then it develops. It’s ups and downs all the time, you know. I mean, you can’t be number one all the time. When you get to that point [number one] you want to do something different, you see, so you don’t want to play the same song the same way 20, 30 years later. You want to add, and that’s what happens with this music. Whatever you become you still’ve got the same music, songs, but you come up with new stuff. You’re approaching the old music in a slightly different way, that’s all.

Me: That kind of gets me to the next question I had, which is Wings obviously had some highlights and lowlights, too. In the critics’ eyes, I would say, anyway. What was the highlight of Wings to you?  What was the moment you really knew you guys were doing something really special with Wings?

Laine: I mean I always knew Paul and I knew that once we started doing something, it would be easy enough to do it, so that wasn’t a problem. The fact that the public scrutiny was there was not a problem, but it was an obvious thing that we were going to be faced with, and that’s why we went out and did the university tour, and we started to become a working band quickly. You can’t usually get to that stage very quickly, but because of the experience we’d had and then what our life became, that kind of thing.  Any tour becomes a pretty big, significant thing because you’re getting to a lot of people and you’ve got to be good, but they’ve [the audience] got the music out there, too, they know the music. I mean if you’re going out there with stuff they didn’t know, in other words if you didn’t have an album out, that would be difficult.  These guys [opening band Atlas Gray] don’t have an album, or not well known, but they’re good. Now if we [Wings] had gone out there without anything to sell…but we’d had the album, people knew the stuff, so therefore, we were just able to get away with that. And then the ’76 tour became the epitome of that because we were that many months at it, doing it. You know, it became the big, big thing. Of course it was arenas as opposed to…I mean we’d started in small theaters in Britain to start. You know, after the university tour. And so it went in normal stages but it was condensed to the way most bands would do it. They would do it slowly to get to that point.

Me: Most who aren’t famous would assume that the ’76 tour is everyone’s favorite tour.

Laine: Yeah.

Me: Would that be your favorite tour as well?

Laine: Only because of the magnitude of it and only because of the fact that it was kind of the pinnacle of touring for us, that’s all. But other than that, there’s lots of other things I remember from the other stuff that was just as good, just as important to us. I mean, it was the fact that we were out there in Europe, for example, as opposed to say, America, [which] was the big thing, and we didn’t get to Japan, so America is really the world, as we looked at the world tour, so it was more of America. Europe was a big thing for us, too, because after all that’s where we come from, that’s our audience, from the early days, too. Before we were touring all the clubs in Europe as a small, unknown band.

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~ by Jennifer Dodge on November 20, 2013.

4 Responses to “Denny Laine interview, Part II (November 16th, 2013)”

  1. Interesting. Nice job, Jen. Looking forward to Part three…………

  2. love the picture with the Wings hand sign…should’ve gone 1 hand with Denny! great interview!

  3. […] Part II of the interview can be found here: https://mccartneyfans.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/denny-laine-interview-part-ii-november-16th-2013/ […]

  4. You are an awesome blogger. I have join the mailing list for your site cos I’d rather not miss out on your
    up coming blogposts

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