Moody Blues: Orbital Music

Now available on DVD from Eagle Vision, Threshold Of A Dream documents The Moody Blues’ performance at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival alongside fellow top-shelf, classic acts of the band’s peak era. Currently retired from the band, founding member and keyboardist Michael Pinder spoke with me about the DVD’s release, pride in his career and musical sons (two who have formed The Pinder Brothers and another who lives and works in L.A. as a soundtrack editor for major motion pictures. “Obviously,” says Pinder, “there’s something running in the vein.” For more on The Moody Blues, visit For more on Mike Pinder or to buy a signed, personalized copy of the DVD, visit

Threshold Of A Dream is a fantastic concert DVD as well as an historical documentary of sorts. Will the band be touring to promote and support the DVD?

I did hear a rumor about that, yes, but I’m not privy to their tour schedule or anything. I did retire. I’m sort of behind the counter a little more now. They have at least three different players they use for keyboards and Mellotron, depending on who’s available. They didn’t take a new member in. They’re keeping going well. I’m very proud. I must admit, I do have a lot to do with it because Ray Thomas and I, after we got back from Germany—what a lousy time we had there —we finally put this band together. We were very driven for success and we made it happen. I’m really happy about that.

That was in ’64, then in ’66 Denny [Laine, guitar/vocals] and Clint [Warwick, bass] left. We managed to find Justin [Hayward, vocals/guitar] who was available at the time and John had just got out of college, having finished at the time and he was able to rejoin the band. It all worked out great. Of course I do want to encourage people to take a look at the DVD. It’s one of those things just like Woodstock; it just has magic no matter who sees it. It also means there may be more DVDs coming out for other bands that were there at the time, too. Maybe this is just the beginning of something.

Justin [Hayward, vocals/guitar] says that he didn’t know the performance was being filmed.

I’m sure [we] did, yeah, but it sort of didn’t matter because we knew we had a show to put on so very little went beyond that, just paid attention to what we were doing. Once we got started, I was just trying to keep the Mellotron running. No troubles there and everything worked out great.

What was involved with making sure that particular, important instrument ran smoothly?

Purely from an electronics point of view, back then equipment like that ran on AC motors, which meant that if you were somewhere and about to do a show and all the Moms put their electric ovens on at just about seven o’clock as you were kicking on, the wattage or amperage would go down and cause the motor on the Mellotron to slow down, too. [Being able] to control that, to speed the motor up or slow it down, allowed us to make those big swooping sounds, like a car going past you. Eventually what happened is that they invented DC motors and I changed the motor, but I don’t remember if that was before the Isle Of Wight show or after.

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