ELO’s Jeff Lynne on Touring: ‘My Heart Wasn’t in Live Performance’
Jeff Lynne seems to be in a reflective mood lately — the two albums he released in 2012, ‘Long Wave’ and ‘Mr. Blue Sky – The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra,’ found him recording classic pop standards and revisiting hits from the ELO catalog — and he continued his focus on the past in a recent Clash interview that looked back on the earliest years of his career.
Lynne remembered the day he joined his first band, the Night Riders, as “the most wonderful day of my life,” saying that knowing he didn’t have to go back to his day job was “the most wonderful feeling” and summing up his years as a recording artist and sought-after producer by quipping, “I canât say what a great experience itâs been not going into work.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean Lynne loved it all; touring, for example, was never his cup of tea. “Thatâs not what I was there for; I was there to learn how to make records and thatâs all I cared about,” he explained, saying he “got into some trouble” with alcohol along the way. “Even when I was on tour and on stage singing, I could be thinking about another song Iâm working on. Which just shows you my heart wasnât in live performance, that it was in the studio, and it always has been,” he added. “Thatâs why I became a producer.”
Ultimately, Lynne offered, “Youâve got to have a sense of humor, otherwise thereâs no point to anything, really. Youâve got to laugh at all the mistakes and things, because it is comical: making stuff up and recording it, then putting it out for people to listen to — and people actually buy it, which is fantastic! Who would have thought that? Not when I was going to work on the bus, I wouldnât have thought. But it just shows you that if you keep trying really hard, that things will happen for you.”