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INTERVIEW: Moody Blues Lead Singer And Wings Co-Founder Denny Laine Dishes On Spending Time On The East End, The Universal Language Of Music, And More

T.J. Clemente

Denny Laine is coming to Bay Street. (Courtesy Photo)

On Saturday, March 2, Denny Laine, a founding member of the Moody Blues and of Paul McCartney's band, Wings, will be performing solo at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor. In an interview exclusively for Hamptons.com, Laine said about the upcoming gig, "It will be a bit of everything, with my songs and storytelling."

Laine, actually born Brian Frederick Hines in Birmingham, England on October 29, 1944, said how the show is sort of a full circle. He explains, "My first show was when I was 12, I was up on the stage solo, with my parents in the crowd very proud." Then Laine went on to say for that show he was playing, "A used Levin guitar that I paid about four English pounds for ($5.17 USA)." He first learned to play his brother's ukulele teaching himself the chords. "Back then during and after the war George Formby, an actor, singer, and comedian was big in England with the ukulele." Denny expanded the thought, "We were poor and I wanted to make something of my life. Later in school I formed a skiffle band." And then he was on his way.

The musician reminisced about when Wings, the Paul McCartney band he founded with Paul and Linda in 1971, opened up the Seattle Kingdom. He fondly recalls, "We were the first act to play there with 80,000 people. They had someone literally flying a glider inside. Later on, the stadiums and crowds actually became larger." But Laine prefers to play in theater venues like Bay Street, because as he says, they have, "… comfortable seats and usually good acoustics."

He spent last New Year's in Montauk and when I asked about Linda McCartney, he had a fond memory of coming out to the East End years back and spending a day with Linda, Paul, and Linda's father, Lee Eastman, at his property in East Hampton. "I played football (soccer) on a field around the house with the kids," he said, "while they all played tennis."

Laine, who has traveled the world, loves listening to guitar players. Like his life-long friend Eric Clapton, Laine still listens to and enjoys American blues singer and songwriter Robert Johnson. He explained, "I am a guitar player, I don't listen to songs, like Eric [Clapton] I like to listen to guitar players. I love finding great stuff on YouTube." He went to say how music is a "universal language," and he was gifted somehow and right from that first solo performance at 12-years-old he knew his life as a musician "was meant to be."

He didn't really remember much about his first recording experience other then, "It was with a band while still in high school and the drummer was Bev Bevan (who went on to drum for the Electric Light Orchestra). We made an acetate disc of a few demo songs."

For the last two to three years Denny has been living in the NYC area. He has also recently lived in L.A. and in Massachusetts. He says he likes the availability of the "action," of New York. However, he did confess that all musicians are of perhaps a large family brotherhood that belongs to all music lovers throughout the world. Or as Keith Richards once said about where he lives, he answered, "I live everywhere."

Luckily for East End music lovers, Denny will be at Bay Street Theater on Saturday, March 2 to tell his story intermittently through his music and life experience. It will be a warm wonderful evening with a rock music icon. His Moody Blues hit song, Go Now, still gets mega airtime streaming on the internet and on radio. Denny Laine is promising a great night of song, stories, laughs and enjoyment. In closing he said, "Music is the perfect release from stress."

The concert will begin at 8 p.m. and tickets are $35.

Bay Street is located at 1 Bay Street. For more information, call 631-725-9500 or visit www.baystreet.org.

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