A good friend of Rod’s, Don Paul, already having success with his band The Viscounts
had heard that the Moodies were looking for a new bass player. Don was asked to
get Rod to visit the NEMS offices, near the Palladium, to discuss the position.
Having driven around the area of the offices for quite some time, looking in vain
for somewhere to park up, he eventually decided to give up and drove home!
With some determination, it was the Moodies themselves that arranged to call upon
Rod. Turning up at Tiffany’s, Wimbledon, in their new Chevy Impala, dressed in ‘gangster’
pinstripe suites, he was a little taken aback at the entourage that had come to see
him. Ray, Denny & Graeme invited him into the car to have a chat about the vacancy
and what plans the band had for the future.
Interested, Rod agreed to go over to Mike’s flat in Putney to finalise the arrangements.
As luck would have it, the stage clothes that were once Clint’s fitted him perfectly,
so, up for the challenge, they all agreed that Rod would step up to the breach.
Hesitantly, Rod had some explaining to do to his current band however, but, to his
surprise, Mark Loyd confided that Brian was just about to ask Rod to leave the band
anyway, to allow former member Pete Stanley to rejoin and advised that he really
should take up the position with the Moodies.
Engagements for the Moody Blues, still with Brian Epstein as manager, took a continental
twist, with dates in France and Belgium plus stints in Scotland (Dunfermline) and
the Isle of Man. Rod recalls the flight to Belgium from Southend local airport
on a ‘Pelican’ plane, carrying the band plus their tour van and car!
TV appearances followed including the popular Mike Pinder track Really Haven’t Got
The Time, occasionally still screened today and on various DVD releases.
Between engagements, and probably completely unbeknown to the band, Rod still found
time to fill-in on a recording session for Simon Hollywood in Sept 1966.
With a lot of the original #1 Moodies material still in the set-list, Rod
kindly signed my copy of the US album, already bearing the
signature of his predecessor! The picture, incidentally, taken at the windmill in
Lytham St. Annes.
Popular songs from the set-list at the
time included How Can We Hang On To a Dream, Jago & Jilly and
Red Wine, unfortunately, none of which are known to still exist on record.
(You can catch Rod’s resurrection of Red Wine in the Top Rank Suite
With Clint gone however, Denny was increasingly restless, and, the band was thrown
into turmoil when he announced his departure.
Time to move again, this time for a short stint with The Mickey Finn, combining their
Blue Beat roots with a classic psych style. Although with them for only 4/5 gigs,
the door was kept open for his return a little later...
Quickly, opportunity came knocking once more when Geoff Turton departed the popular
Rockin’ Berries due to family commitments, Rod taking up lead vocals, a challenge
of even greater proportions when you appreciate the falsetto style embodying many
of their hits at the time.
With pantomime dates at the ABC theatre, Stockton already booked, the band were kept
very busy, their comedy / music act providing perfect accompaniment
to the likes of Bill Maynard and Charles Hawtree (of Carry On fame (infamy?)).
A highlight was an appearance at the London Palladium on 1st January 1967, supporting
the legendary Big ‘O’ himself, Roy Orbison.