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ELO’s Jeff Lynne on Touring: ‘My Heart Wasn’t in Live Performance’

Jeff Lynne
Frank Micelotta, Getty Images

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 can’t say what a great experience it’s been not going into work.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean Lynne loved it all; touring, for example, was never his cup of tea. “That’s not what I was there for; I was there to learn how to make records and that’s 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 I’m working on. Which just shows you my heart wasn’t in live performance, that it was in the studio, and it always has been,” he added. “That’s why I became a producer.”

Ultimately, Lynne offered, “You’ve got to have a sense of humor, otherwise there’s no point to anything, really. You’ve 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 wouldn’t have thought. But it just shows you that if you keep trying really hard, that things will happen for you.”

Next: Top 10 ELO Songs

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