Red Carpet Interview
1997 Performer – 7th annual LA Music Awards
Denny Laine (born Brian Frederick Hines, 29 October 1944, in Birmingham, England), is an English musician, singer, songwriter and guitarist. He was an original member of the Moody Blues, singing the band’s first hit “Go Now” in 1964, and was a member of Wings with Paul McCartney from 1971 to 1981.
Laine was educated at Yardley Grammar School in Birmingham, and took up the guitar as a boy under the influence of gypsy jazz (jazz manouche) legend Django Reinhardt; he had his first solo performance as a musician at the age of 12 and began his career as a professional musician fronting Denny Laine & the Diplomats, which also included future Move and Electric Light Orchestra drummer Bev Bevan.
Experience in famous bands
In 1964, Laine left the Diplomats to join Mike Pinder in the Moody Blues and sang the group’s first big hit, “Go Now”; other early highlights included I Don’t Want To Go on Without You, another UK hit, plus two minor UK chart hits “From The Bottom of My Heart ( I Love You)”, Everyday (both written by Laine and Pinder), “Can’t Nobody Love You” and the harmonica-ripping “Bye Bye Bird” (a big hit in France). A self-titled EP and ‘The Magnificent Moodies’ LP on Decca followed. Laine and Pinder wrote most of The Moody Blues ‘B’ sides during the 1965-66 period, such as You Don’t (All the Time), And My Baby’s Gone and This Is My House. However, Laine’s tenure with the MB’s was relatively short-lived and, after a number of comparative chart failures, Laine quit the band in October 1966. The last record issued by the Moody Blues that featured Laine was “Life’s Not Life”/”He Can Win” in January 1967, just after Justin Hayward had replaced him in the band.
After leaving the Moody Blues, he formed the Electric String Band in December 1966, which featured himself on guitar and vocals, Trevor Burton (of the Move) on guitar, Viv Prince on drums and electrified strings in a format not dissimilar to what Electric Light Orchestra would later attempt. Laine made two singles, “Say You Don’t Mind”/”Ask The People” (April 1967, Deram) and “Too Much in Love”/”Catherine’s Wheel” (January 1968, Deram); and, in June 1967, the band shared a bill with the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Procol Harum at the Saville Theatre in London. However, it did not achieve national attention, and the pioneering Electric String Band broke up. (There was apparently a third single recorded called “Why Did You Come?”. Why it was never released is unknown, but there have been rumors that the finished track – and probably the B side as well – was mailed to Decca and was lost.) Laine and Burton then went on to the band Balls from February 1969 until the band’s breakup in 1971, with both also taking time to play in Ginger Baker’s Air Force in 1970.
Only one single was issued by Balls: “Fight for My Country”/”Janie, Slow Down” on UK Wizard Records. The top side was re-edited and reissued on UK Wizard and issued in the UK on Wizard and in the United States on Epic under the name of Trevor Burton; Laine and Burton shared lead vocals on the B side. The single was reissued again as B.L.W. as “Live in the Mountains” for a small Pye-distributed label, “Paladin”. Twelve tracks were recorded for a Balls album, but it has never been released. Laine’s 1967 song “Say You Don’t Mind” was a hit when recorded in 1972 by ex-Zombie, Colin Blunstone.
In 1971, Laine joined Paul McCartney to form Wings, and stayed with the group for 10 years until it disbanded in 1981. Laine provided lead and rhythm guitars, lead and backing vocals, keyboards, bass guitar and woodwinds, as well as writing or co-writing some of the group’s material. Together with Paul and his wife, Linda, they formed the nucleus of the band, being called that “strange, three-winged beast”. It was with Wings that Laine enjoyed the biggest commercial and critical successes of his career, including co-writing the hit “Mull of Kintyre”. He also co-wrote and sang lead vocal on “Deliver Your Children,” which was released as a Wings B-side but charted in the Netherlands.
In January 1980, McCartney was arrested for possession of marijuana upon arrival at an airport for a tour in Japan. The tour was canceled and the band members, except Linda, returned to England. After returning to England, McCartney decided to release his solo album “McCartney II” and plans for an autumn U.S. tour were dropped. Meanwhile, Laine released the single “Japanese Tears” and formed the short-lived Denny Laine Band with Steve Holley and released a solo album Japanese Tears that December. On April 27, 1981, Laine announced he was leaving Wings due to McCartney’s reluctance to tour in the wake of John Lennon’s murder.
Denny Laine performing at the Cavern Club in 2008
He signed with Scratch records and began working on a new album, Anyone Can Fly. He then went on to record other solo albums such as Hometown Girls, Wings on Your Feet and Lonely Road before returning to Scratch to do his Wings at the Sound of Denny Laine. He has also had three fanzine publications, Ahh Laine, wrote the musical Arctic Song and released two more albums, Master Suite and Reborn.
Denny moved to the United States in the 1990s, where he continues to tour, originally with the classic rock band and later with the Cryers.
He was briefly married to Jo Jo Laine, with whom he had a son, Laine Hines, and a daughter, Heidi Hines. He has three other children from other relationships: Lucianne Grant, Damian James and Ainsley Laine-Adams.
Hello and welcome to all of you worldwide, and beyond, that I have the honour to call my friends and fans of my music and I.
I hope that I can inspire you, as you do me, to spread the word and share the love of personal creativity.
We all have a voice and we are all special and the “Gods of the Universe” are on our side.
I love life and every living thing and all I ask of you is to help me to make this an even better world to live in.
Respect the “Old and the New” and “Keep the Faith.”
I’ll be waiting to give you the guided tour of my past, present and future plans and to take you on many musical and other fascinating journeys.
“Arctic Song” was written 20 years ago before much attention was paid to “green issues” and it is the story of an alien who comes to earth, posing as a human, to help solve the pollution problems. He meets a Siberian girl/environmentalist and together with various threatened animal species of the Arctic region they embark on a magical adventure to bring attention to the rest of the planet. All 16 songs/chapters represent the ethnic music and local eco-problem for each respective country. (Eg. The Brazilian Rainforests, Japanese Inland Sea, Whale Population, Siberian Tigers, Polar Bears etc.)
It covers historical and mythological events mixed with a futuristic sci-fi treasure hunt that leads to the discovery of the magical crystal known as the “Arctic Song” whose power, along with the alien’s help takes them magically into the past and spiritual worlds. Consequently this gives the adventurers the ability to travel the globe and save the earth and neighboring planets from destruction.
Ghost of the Scrimshaw Carver.
Landlubbers have awoken me
releasing of ‘me spirit from the bottom of the sea
where ‘me bones have laid since 1883
I’m the Ghost of the Scrimshaw Carver.
As a cabin boy aboard the “Ocean Spray”
out of Liverpool we sailed to Baffin Bay
‘cross the Greenland Sea for to hunt the mighty whale
“Hold steady there the beauty blows, bring her ’round to starboard and steady as she goes”
and me old “Sea Daddy” taught’ me all he knows.
I’m the Ghost of the Scrimshaw Carver
“Over there she blows” I heard the look-out say
“Off the starboard bow not a half a mile away”
and the sea turned red as we took his life that day
With whale blubber a needle and a stone
I carved a pretty picture on a piece of whalebone
for to make some pennies for ‘me family back at home
I’m the Ghost of the Scrimshaw Carver
The harpoon missed it’s mark
a great whale stood his ground
making his escape he dived and pulled us down
all hands on board were lost and never found.
Courtesy of Bellingham Scrimshaw
The Ghost of the Scrimshaw Carver
Below the Waterline
a tribute to PM
True or false right or wrong
A beating heart still going strong
The memory is all we have
Sometimes we cry and then we laugh
And far below the waterline
Out of sight of prying eyes
We see the world is doing fine
Without the need of a disguise
On the surface it may seem
Like a twisted mixed up dream
And words can’t say the things we mean
So look below the waterline
Who would know and who can say
We can’t go back to yesterday
We had to turn our lives around
Bury the past beneath the ground
And just below the waterline
Our reflections go floating by
Waiting there for the sun to shine
Through the clouds in the sky
Did we make it to the shore
Or sink down to the ocean floor
Were we lost for evermore
Far below the waterline
We only see the mountain top
But just like time it doesn’t stop
Beneath the waves it goes for miles
Beyond our tears hiding our smiles
Down below the waterline
Depending on how deep we dive
Although it may be hard to find
What we had is still alive
Some might say it makes no sense
Revisiting our innocence
I put it down to experience
To stay below the waterline
Win or lose sink or swim
That changing tide keeps rolling in
Where does it end or begin
Down below the waterline