Moody Blues singer and guitarist Justin Hayward will turn 73 in October, and he knows how he wants to portray himself in the last years of his performing life.
He tells Variety, "The last few years, I’ve wanted to maintain some dignity. Not try and be that Justin that was. Not that I was ever kind of a rock ’n’ roll-y type of person. But some musicians of my era, when they still try and do the leather trousers and the poses -- I suppose Mick [Jagger] can get away with it, but he’s about the only one I know [laughs]. Even Keith [Richards] has some dignity [laughs] about the way he does it. I sometimes meet [fellow musicians] in hotels on the road, and it’s like, 'Hey Justin!' And I think, 'Oh [crap], that’s kind of creepy what they’re working' -- they’ve got silver dangly things and [crap], and tattoos, and creepy kind of hair [laughs]. So I hope there’s some dignity left. That’s all we can do."
When will he know it's time to hang it up? "The playing [of guitar] -- other people can probably do that for me, although it wouldn’t groove quite the same as I feel it would if I was playing it. But if the voice goes, then I think it’s time. I’m very much aware of it, and it’s frightening...because I haven’t done anything else. I’d disappear into a library somewhere, I think. A monastery sounds quite a good idea sometimes [laughs]."
Hayward is down to his two last U.S. shows of the summer -- Tuesday in Folsom, California and Wednesday in Monterey, California. He'll be back in the States in October and November.