ALBANY — Denny Laine keeps pushing.
The Moody Blues and Wings rocker, who has spent the better part of his life either in a studio or on a stage, credits his drive with his passion to keep playing. At 75 years old, he’s still trying to top the music he put out last time, and the time before that, and 10 years before that.
“You get bored when you do one thing for a long time,” he said in a phone interview. “I love to take the energy I find from performing and bring that into the studio. It’s about balance.”
Laine will be demonstrating the balance — between good music and enchanting stories of his life — on Thursday, Jan. 23, at Skyloft. The show kicks off at 7 p.m. and tickets can be purchased for $20 to $40 at eventbrite.com.
For Laine, his success is a lot of hard work. When people mention how he’s lived people’s wildest dreams and then some, he reminds them with the success came a lot of hard work. So much goes on behind the scenes with one show and all of these moving parts are what makes a show memorable.
“I love doing shows like [Songs and Stories] because I can talk to the audience about what each song meansme and how it came about,” he said. “I can be personal and then the audience can relate it to their lives.”
Laine promised he won’t talk too much; in fact, he prefers playing over talking. That being said, it’s important for him to talk about his music. A Grammy-award winning rocker who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018 as member of The Moody Blues, Laine said many people at the ceremony didn’t even know he was an original “Blues” member. Much of the world associates him with his 10-year run as Paul and Linda McCartney’s third member of Wings; he was only with The Moody Blues for the first two years of the group. Laine was surprised to be included in the Hall of Fame with the “Blues,” he’s said in previous interviews.
Laine’s writing is world renowned, especially on a particular Wings track, “Mull of Kintyre.” The Scot-inspired song, with bagpipes to boot, is a Wings favorite throughout the world. But in the beginning, “Mull of Kintyre” enjoyed more success in the United Kingdom than in the States. Laine credits this, and the differences in viral music, to the different approaches each country takes.
“Comedians in England who do well have mastered British humor, something America isn’t as familiar with,” he said. “Our sentences are structured different, we speak differently. I can have a laugh with my American friends, but it’s different.
“Same with music,” he continued. “When ‘Mull’ released, [McCartney] didn’t want to make it a single in America because it ‘wouldn’t be as nostalgic’ and it was written in Scotland, for Scotland. Now, it has enjoyed the same success in America because everyone knows it from the greatest hits album,” Laine continued. “Sometimes we shoot ourselves in the foot before we succeed because we aren’t looking at it fully.”
Laine admitted the title is actually invented; “mull” is a word for a peninsula in Scotland and “Kintyre” is actually a county. But, it worked.
“Writing with Paul [McCartney], and with any other writer, has to be a bit of friendly competition because otherwise, you’d get nothing done,” Laine said. “As you’re bouncing off of one another and bringing ideas to the table, you’re a little competitive.
“But with Wings, for example, sometimes it was more me, others more [McCartney],” he continued. “It’s stimulating for me to be in that environment.”
Laine added while he and McCartney are no longer as close as they were during their Wings tenure, they keep in touch and there’s nothing but love, continuing “we’re both very busy with what we’re doing.
“It can’t still be that close of a friendship,” Laine said of the once-inseparable bond with the McCartneys, “because we don’t work together 24/7 anymore.”
As Laine continues his historic career, he hopes his shows top the gig before it; he’s putting in time to what he calls his “religion.”
“Music is the core of everything I do,” he concluded. “Not everyone lives the same lifestyle, but this is mine and for me, it’s the meaning of life.”