Saturday, May 30, 2009

Jethro Tull Poetry

There is a fine line between music and poetry. From some of the earliest stages of Jethro Tull, poetry has played an interesting role in the band's music. From "don't start away uneasy" to Gerald Bostock, and from One Brown Mouse to Ian reciting "Marmion" by Sir Walter Scott, Jethro Tull has a poetic legacy.

It is about time a poet a gave something back! Jakob Chapman's new poetry Collection Decisions 2000 & 8 contains two poems inspired by the music of Jethro Tull. The poem "40 Years" celebrates Tull's 40th anniversary in 2008. The poem "Little Milton" depicts the grown the Gerold Bostock's frustration at not being able to produce poetry:

“Little Milton”
Inspired by Jethro Tull's “Thick as a Brick”

Would have you minded
had I sat that one out?
Never drawn lace
or black curtains
and laid the bricks
of someone else's fortune?
Who wants to be the poet
who lost his fame
in last minute rumpus
all for the unpopular desire
to be unique?


Progressive rock aside
for a quite moments reflection
after reading the morning paper,
who will remember
Gerald Bostock
for anything after '72?
I never asked
to be a visionary
fictitious poet protégé!
I collect my royalties
and dream
about what life would be like
if your wisemen
knew how it feels
to be thick...
as a...


Jakob Chapman's poetry collection Decisions 2000 & 8 can be purchased here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ian Anderson 2009 US Tour Dates


Pabst Theater - tickets
Vic Theatre - tickets
Schenectady, NY
Proctor's Theatre - tickets
Worcester, MA
Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts - on sale April 6th
Ledyard, CT
Foxwoods Resort - MGM Grand - tickets
New York
Beacon Theatre - tickets
Baltimore, MD
Lyric Opera House - tickets
Glenside, PA
Keswick Theater - tickets
Red Bank, NJ
Count Basie Theatre - tickets
Wallingford, CT
Chevrolet Theatre - available soon


Phoenix, AZ
Dodge Theatre - tickets
Anaheim, CA
The Grove of Anaheim - tickets
Los Angeles
The Wiltern - tickets
San Francisco
The Warfield Theatre - tickets
Portland, OR
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall - available soon
Seattle, WA
Moore Theatre - tickets

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson At Flutewise Live 09

This article is from

Ian Anderson is known throughout the world of rock as the flute and voice behind the legendary Jethro Tull and is widely recognized as the man who introduced the flute to rock music. On May 3rd 2009, he will perform at London's Barbican Centre, which promises to be the highlight of Flutewise Live!.

Ian's concert is aimed not only at the young flute players/students but also at the Ian Anderson/Jethro Tull fans, who may appreciate a concert with more emphasis on the flute side of his work and the opportunity to hear some other examples of flute styles from the acclaimed guests who will join Ian on stage.

Ian describes the performance, "Of course, the music will mainly be from the Jethro Tull repertoire but will feature more of the acoustic and esoteric pieces rather than only the Rock songs, although many familiar Tull songs will be included, just to shock the parents and music teachers! A government health warning still comes with my flute-playing. At least, I hope so!"

Flutewise Live is a whole day of activities aimed at anyone interested in flute playing and includes workshops, master classes, play along activities, ensemble playing, performance opportunities and displays.

Ian will be joined by 3 eminent flautists:-

Ian Clarke is acknowledged as one of the leading player/composers in the flute world and is a Professor of Flute at Guildhall School of Music & Drama (

Abigail Burrows was born in 1982 and took up the flute aged seven at her local music centre. She was awarded a scholarship to The Purcell School of Music aged 8 and in 2000 continued her studies at The Royal College of Music. A successful soloist and keen ensemble player, Abbie is and extremely active supporter of Flutewise.

Teymour Housego grew up in New Delhi where he learnt the bansuri (Indian bamboo flute). He is also an accomplished Western flautist and studied jazz in Paris. He is currently working on a multicultural bamboo flute project involving flautists from India, the Middle East, Japan and Africa.

Sun 3rd May at Barbican Hall, London. Tickets: £20 / 25 / 17.50. 7:30pm 020 7638 8891
Click here for original article.

Friday, January 9, 2009

2009 Tour Dates

Jethro Tull in Germany

Tickets for all German concerts


Rittal Arena

Sporthalle Oberwerth





Festung Mark



Halle Gartlage (Open Air)

Pier 2


Circus Krone



Iffezheim (Baden Baden)


E - Werk


Jethro Tull In Eastern Europe and SpainOpera House 0870 606 3595


Minsk, Belarus
Sport Palace


Porto, Spain
Albergue municipal Juvenil El Prado


Prague, Czech Republic
Congress Hall get tickets


Prague, Czech Republic
Congress Hall get tickets


Brno, Czech Republic
Slavkov Castle

Bratislava, Slovakia
Bratislava Castle


Warsaw, Poland
Sala Kongresowa

Ian Anderson



Thursday, December 4, 2008

Caroling With Tull

Heres some news from the official site:

Ian and the boys (Martin Barre, John O'Hara, David Goodier, James Duncan)and guest readers will be performing a very special benefit concert December 22nd, 19:00-21:00, at historic St. Bride's Church on London's Fleet Street. All proceeds will go to local homeless charities. Doors open at 18:15.

This is a Carol Service featuring Jethro Tull, NOT a rock concert. Jethro Tull will perform seven or eight songs, and there will be guest readers and choral performances. This is a chance to see Tull in a truly unique setting whilst helping a very worthy cause.


Tickets are available online only via the Tull fan magazine "A New Day" for £25. Please note tickets are very limited (150 seats) and subject to availability.

Tickets will NOT be posted, but sent by email individually numbered with ticket holders name printed on them. Please ensure when ordering you type your name in the COMMENTS section on the order form. If ordering more than one ticket please list ALL names of ticket holders for checking on the door. You will receive an automated confirmation email of your ticket purchase but of course if tickets are all sold your card will not be charged and the ticket site will notify you within 24 hours.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's All About Jim: A True Story

Despite popular belief, the old battle-hardened Tull fan know to most of you as Slippery Jim has not slipped off of the face of Tulldom, but is alive, well, and still listening to Tull. Jim is most commonly known for his protesting the discontinuation of TullChat on the Official Jethro Tull Website. But what is not commonly known is that he is getting married in December. This has widely contributed to his lack of time to stick around and chat with fellow Tull fans but it has not dimmed his passion for the greatest band ever. However, his lack time for his Tull blog and his accidental slip on the keyboard has spurred a new blog about Slippery Jim himself:

He is flattered of course and would like to encourage the blog manager to keep the blog updated at all times. In the mean time, Jim would like all Tull fans around the world to know that he can't wait for the new Tull album and will keep you posted to his best ablility.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Passion Play

His exaggerated gestures and stage personality go well with tunes full of complicated time changes. Frizzy-haired Ian Anderson, the front man of Jethro Tull, and the owner of five-and-a-half cats, speaks to Mathures Paul before his tour of India

Ian Anderson’s talent is sufficiently unique to ensure considerable interest whenever he wants to put out Jethro Tull releases or go on road (providing a break from his duty as farmer, master of several cats and keeper of a few dogs). His past works may sometimes seem exaggerated but Aqualung, Thick As A Brick and War Child highlight his vital contribution to rock’s past. Born in an era when a revolution of sorts changed the rules in the music industry, Jethro Tull has remained true to its roots, never failing in its objective. In the 1960s the term ‘art rock’ was used to sell Tull in the US but today, the name Ian Anderson is enough to ensure sold-out concerts, anywhere in the globe.

Not very fond of milestones, even Anderson had to succumb to the excitement of celebrating 40 years of a band many thought would fold up much earlier. Instead, several line-ups later, Jethro Tull continues to deliver what can be called a concoction of progressive rock, folk laced with classical undertones.
The 1967-68 line-up, except for Ian Anderson, is unrecognisable. Martin Barre (guitar, backing vocals), who joined (after two changes) in 1968, and Anderson are the only constant factors.

The India tour starts in Kolkata with Anoushka Shankar joining in. Our conversation, obviously, began on this point. “I am reading an e-mail from her. She is suggesting fine-tuning a song. We would play together for 45 minutes, inclusive of 17-20 minutes of new music. Usually she calls me Grizzly and I fondly call her Princess because of the amount of luggage she is bringing on the tour. Given how one uses them, nicknames can, at times, suggest irreverence! We are enjoying an interesting moment. After the tour we go our own ways, hoping to meet again. This would be a sad and beautiful moment. Musically one hopes to walk away with good feelings, fond memories,” says Anderson.

Surviving even a few years with no change in the line-up has been difficult for Tull, let alone working with one musician ~ Martin Barre ~ for 40 years. “We have a lot of similar interests, most important being living apart. We share a relationship through music. One doesn’t bring to stage the other stuff. If there is a bond, of some sort, between two or three people, one wouldn’t like to complicate matters. There are groups who party for long hours. Jethro Tull members are calm and quite. We visit museums and sip coffee. I like to watch news, communicate on the Internet. Our time is spent differently. Let’s say, we are boring people... No loose women, no bad habits.” Well, that’s how Anderson usually speaks!

It’s been awhile fans got to hear original studio material from Tull; the last album was The Jethro Tull Christmas Album (2003). “Last year we recorded a few tracks but we couldn’t finish them. We have a huge backlog. I am hoping January through March we would be recording. We have been on the road for 40 years and are on the wrong side of 60. There is a finite period to play ahead! Then we have our solo projects. I always prefer playing original material at concerts but during our India tour, the focus would primarily be on 40 years of Jethro Tull. In simple words, Tull is re-examining its early works. Next year there would be fewer Tull concerts and more from Ian Anderson.”

Then there is the problem of deciding on tracks that become a part of Ian Anderson projects or Jethro Tull albums. “Being an acoustic musician this is always a difficult task. Earlier, Ian Anderson’s solo works were incorporated into Tull projects. In the last 10-14 years I have presented some genuine solo albums. Acoustic music has always been my preference.”

Making any Jethro Tull album a success is its lyrics, besides, of course, Anderson’s flute. But there are numbers that refer to subjects typically English and quite out of context for concerts in India. “I hope people don’t understand these bits. I don’t understand Hindi or Russian numbers. Yet, there is magic, a sense of seduction in this ignorance. Only technical details attract me to a song. Instrumental music is different, more appealing to the senses. One can listen to Hariprasad Chaurasia, Charlie Parker or Beethoven’s compositions and understand them. But I don’t find life in rock lyrics; they are riddled with clichés. It’s hard to come up with something new. I haven’t found anything fresh since the late 1980s. Since then we have seen a renewed interest in early music styles. Same sounds recycled.”

Two subjects, besides music, are close to Anderson’s heart ~ the environment and feline creatures. “Environment talk is cheap, feels politicians. But the bitter pill needs to be swallowed. Obama has a lot of problems to tackle, besides the economy. There is a lot of pain yet to be experienced. We are expecting too much from Obama in a short time. The point is, there are too many people on earth. We have always enjoyed the freedom to procreate but the definition of this word needs to change. We are fighting over petty religious issues now but in 10 years time we would be fighting over a few drops of water. Politicians talk the talk but never walk the walk. A lot more bad things are yet to happen.”

To change the conversation from this sensitive topic, we start discussing cats. “I share five-and-a-half cats. The half cat belongs to my daughter who is visiting me. I don’t have ownership on the two dogs; they belong to my wife. We have a lot of chicken, sheep but no horses. We live in the countryside in an area that’s not particularly beautiful but it provides good old country comforts,” rounds off Ian Anderson.

[Jethro Tull performs in Kolkata on 27 November (Science City Auditorium), in Mumbai on 29 November (Sri Shanmukhananda Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi Auditorium), in Delhi on 30 November (Hamsadhwani Amphitheatre), in Bangalore on 2 December (Palace Grounds) and in Hyderabad on 3 December (Shilpakala Vedika). Tickets are available online at and the tour is sponsored by Seagrams 100 Pipers and promoted by E18. Tickets for the Kolkata concert are available at Music World (Park Street, Forum Mall and Dharamtala. Delhi concert tickets are available at Music World (Ansal Plaza, Connaught Place, Pitampura and Vasant Vihar)]

Article take from The Statesman.

Click here for original article.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Play Minstrel Play Solutes Keepie-uppie King

Play Minstrel Play would like to congratulate and his new world record.

“It was a psychological battle because I started the attempt at 9.30am and went on until 4pm, so it was a long day but I had my music to keep me company and Tina Turner, Jethro Tull and Phil Collins helped me get through it."

-Graeme Lightbody (Paisley Daily Express)

A job well done.

Click here for full article.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Moment of Silence for Oct 12th,1979

On October 12th 1979, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull was injured when a fan threw a rose on stage and a thorn pierced his eye. The band was forced to cancel two shows.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ian Anderson: This Was and Always Will Be

David Schultz


Flute solos, Johan Sebastian Bach covers and a devotion to medieval chamber music hardly seem like the characteristics synonymous with classic rock success, much less those upon which an English blues band from the Sixties would ultimately base their legacy. For Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull, taking unconventional approaches to the familiar has always served to single them out, to some as anachronistic objects of derision but to many more as purveyors of a distinctive style that no other band can come close to reproducing. On their early albums, This Was, Stand Up and Benefit, they embodied the British-inflected blues, with the release of Aqualung, they emerged as classic rock titans, they give birth to the era of the prog-rock concept album with Thick As A Brick before presiding over its demise with A Passion Play and with Minstrel In The Gallery, established them as masters of the baroque-inspired jam. While difficult to point to any bands that are their direct descendent, Jethro Tull’s influence spreads throughout the progressive rock minded bands of today as well as to any group daring to incorporate the flute into their sound.

For close to forty years, Ian Anderson and Martin Barre have fronted Jethro Tull and at the present time the band is rounded out by Doane Perry, who has pretty much manned the drums for Tull since 1984, and newcomers David Goodier (bass) and John O’Hara (keyboards). No longer shaggy maned and slightly less wild-eyed, Ian Anderson remains Jethro Tull’s most recognizable face and voice, the silhouette of his one-legged flautist stance as identifiable with the band as the ruby red lips and tongue are to The Rolling Stones and the confederate flag to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Prior to Tull’s recent tour of America, Anderson spoke to from the west country of England about the bands 40th anniversary and shared his views on the effects of downloading music through the Internet, the upcoming Presidential election and the possibility of a Jethro Tull residency.

Depending on when you start counting, this year marks Jethro Tull’s 40th anniversary, a true milestone. To commemorate their 20th and 25th anniversaries, Tull released box sets chock full of unreleased studio tracks and little-heard live recordings. To celebrate the four decades that have passed since the release of This Was, Jethro Tull’s phenomenal 1968 debut, they have released a double CD set consisting of the original mono mix of the album, a remixed and remastered studio version and assorted live tracks culled from the vaults of the BBC. In addition to the double CD reissue, Tull will be releasing Jack In The Green, a DVD compilation of German performances with a focus on a concert from The Broadsword And The Beast tour. This month will also see the American release of a double DVD documentary that is essentially the Jethro Tull story. “It features interviews with the band members past and present, people who were involved in Jethro Tull’s formation and career and lots of live performances,” explains Anderson, impressed with the impressive scope of the project. “It’s really one for the fans; a look at the story of Jethro Tull from the very beginning. Of course, even in 350 minutes of running time over 2 DVDs, I’m sure a lot of people will complain, ‘Well, you didn’t talk about this’ or ‘We didn’t see that.’ It’s hard to fit in 40 years of activity into even 350 minutes of documentary material. The makers of it have done their best and we’ll see how people like it.”

Not one to shy away from speaking about the past, Anderson responds to questions about Jethro Tull’s 40th anniversary with measured excitement for their upcoming American performances. “It’s been forty years since Jethro Tull began at the Marquee Club in February of 1968 and we are concentrating this year on reenergizing some of that very early period of Jethro Tull’s repertoire,” explains Anderson. “Those who saw Jethro Tull when we first landed in Boston in 1969 will probably find when we play in Boston that there are quite a few songs that they might have seen Jethro Tull play on that first occasion. We’re not exclusively representing that era of Jethro Tull but there’s an emphasis in the set list of material from the first three or four albums and a smaller scattering of things from later decades. It seems fitting in an anniversary year like this to revisit some of the really early work that made a few people sit up and take notice.”

In early August, Jethro Tull did pass through the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, New York. True to its promise, the show featured revitalized versions of “Serenade To A Cuckoo,” “Dharma For One” and “A Song For Jeffrey” from This Was, a gorgeous rendition of “Sossity, You’re A Woman”/”Reasons For Waiting” and of course, potent readings of “Thick As A Brick,” “Aqualung” and “Locomotive Breath.” Playing before still images of the band taken over the last four decades, the briskly paced show also included slightly ironic offerings of “Living In The Past” and “Too Old To Rock And Roll (To Young To Die)” and healthy doses of Anderson’s wonderful wit and inimitable flute. Prior to “We Used To Know,” Anderson related a tale of playing the song back in the 70s when a young band known as The Eagles opened for them. He gathers that they must have heard them play the song because he believes “Hotel California” to be a fine homage to the Benefit era song. Sure enough, the descending chord changes to the Tull classic sound quite similar to those accompanying Don Henley’s trip down a dark desert highway.

In returning to remix and remaster This Was, Anderson didn’t have to tax his memory with respect to the music. “I’m pretty familiar with all of Jethro Tull’s recordings,” he explains. “From month to month and year to year, I’m listening to most of the albums because we’re always changing the set list and dusting off some old material so I’m pretty familiar with all the albums. This Was was last remastered a few years back when digital technology allowed us to remaster it in a higher standard from the original master tapes. Interestingly enough, those old master tapes going back to the 1/4” and the 4-track ½” tapes, they’re actually in much better condition than some of the stuff from the later Seventies. The old tape from the late Sixties was much heavier duty. They made tapes much much thinner in the Seventies, the latter part in particular; it’s much more fragile, has much less oxide on it and is far more prone to falling to pieces than some of the early stuff. The irony was we got pretty good results from the This Was material, indeed even from the 7 ½” per second mono BBC radio tapes. They were still in better condition than a lot of the stuff that came from the 70s and into the 80s when tapes stock was not as sturdy as it has been.”

For the 40th anniversary reissue, Anderson worked with the original Abbey Road tapes from 1968, noting that the remixing was made for difficult “because everything is on four tracks. You don’t have all the options because certain things are already bundled up: the bass guitar is on the same track with the vocals or the bass is on the same track with the rhythm guitar,” he explains. “You can’t separate out most of the instruments. So you’re trying to make the compromises in the mix just as had to be made when the album was recorded in the first place with only four tracks available. Back in the days of Sgt. Pepper and the first Pink Floyd album or the first Jethro Tull album, 4-tracks were all we had. 8-track came along the year after and 16-track within a couple years after that. By the time we made the Aqualung album we were recording on 16-track and things had evolved a huge amount in just the three years since we started.”

Anderson is quite taken with the advances in recording technology, which has progressed significantly since the recording of This Was. “Apart from the music that you can steal from the Internet without paying for it even on legitimate download operators like iTunes, the vast array of music available these days is tremendous,” he marvels. “Quite often when I go to research some music, I’m amazed by the depth of availability on iTunes. They have obscure old blues albums and artists that I thought no one else had ever heard at the flip of a button.” Amazed as he is for the wealth of music to be found online, Anderson is not impressed with the ability to acquire mp3s without cost. “We just have to remember that its only 99 cents for something that may bring you listening pleasure for years to come. It would be rather nice to pay for it and continue to support the music industry that nurtures new artists as well as old artists. If we don’t pay for the music that we listen to, we can’t really have much expectation of there being money spent on developing the artists of tomorrow. It’s not about lining the pockets of Sir Paul McCartney or Mick Jagger,” says Anderson. “It’s about paying money that’s invested by record companies, publishers and everybody in the management and promotion – the money that gets paid from recordings in order to develop the artists of the next decade and beyond. We’ve got to have a moral standpoint on this one and think of not only keeping people in work and providing the jobs that the music industry has generated over the years but also in investing in the artists who have yet to make their first record.”

While not exactly a populist position, Anderson’s opinions come from his decades as a performing artist who’s earned a living from record sales as well as concert tours. He wouldn’t quibble with the fact that it’s been quite some time since he was a starving musician. Anderson considers for a moment whether the abundance of available music on the Internet might result in wider exposure of a young band’s music which results in increased attendance at their live shows. “Perhaps they do,” he says before dismissing the possible benefits. “Let’s remember, you don’t have to pay for the 10 or 15 seconds of music that you get to listen to on or on iTunes or on any of the other download specialists when you audition - as the Americans are fond of saying - a piece of music before deciding whether or not to buy it. I don’t accept any argument for taking music and not paying for it from the Internet. I think that it’s a cheap shot. It may be that you go and listen and buy a ticket for a band of which you downloaded some music for free from the Internet. I still feel that that band - in order to get the point where they have enough money to even rent a tour bus and put their amplifiers on the stage - we owe them, whoever they might be, the right to be paid for what they’ve created. If we don’t pay them for making the record, we’re denying them the one economic resource that allows them to go out and tour. It’s all right for bands like Jethro Tull. We can go out and tour and make big profits. Our costs versus our gross income produce a large percentage of profits on which we pay our taxes in various countries of the world. Most bands, particularly when their starting off, aren’t that fortunate. They’re obliged to sometimes pay to be the opening act on a tour or play for virtually nothing and they depend on selling CDs by whatever way they can or downloads from the Internet to put a little bit of money into paying for the cost of the tour bus. It’s not every band that makes money out of touring. You may go see your live act play in your local venue but chances are they’re losing money every time they step out of their front door to play a gig until they get to a certain critical mass where their income per show exceeds somewhere in the range of $15,000. It’s impossible to imagine a band going out with the shoddiest of tour buses and playing venues without a talent fee in excess of $15,000 and of course, you don’t get that playing in the clubs,” instructs Anderson, his words becoming slightly impassioned but his demeanor remaining, as always, pleasant. “Putting it in perspective: stealing from the Internet is stealing from the Internet. You’re stealing out of the mouths of babes and I don’t think that it’s a fair thing to do. Steal from Paul McCartney; it’s not going to hurt him. It’s not going to hurt me particularly if you steal from me. I do think the downloading of new young artists’ material without paying for it is probably the least attractive thing you can do. We need to support new music and new artists and we should pay them for the work they do.”

Over the years, Anderson has often joked about the increasing number of reissues and greatest hits packages he’s asked his fans to purchase. While Anderson’s present focus is on remembering the past, it begs the question of whether there will be any new Jethro Tull music in the near future. “There is no plan for there not to be,” discloses Anderson. “During the last couple years, as you can imagine is the case with middle-aged and elderly gentlemen, there are medical issues that crop up. Unfortunately, from time to time, people have had to plan for some surgery or some period where they need to have some general overhaul,” he says, obliquely referring to Martin Barre’s relatively recent shoulder surgery. “There’s also the possibility that next year one of the musicians may have to take six months off to have some remedial surgery for a longstanding injury,” he reveals. “People who do what we do, whether its strumming the guitar, bashing the drums or holding the flute, there’s a lot of damage that comes along with that. We get work-related injuries and so far, fingers crossed, it hasn’t happened to me. It did briefly in 1996 but apart from that occasion, I’ve been okay,” says Anderson, alluding to his successful battle with deep vein thrombosis. “Bands are made up of people and sometimes we have to work around the medical realties.”

The realities of aging have affected Tull’s touring plans along with their recording ones. “These days we have to schedule a lot of our tours and activities a year ahead. Right now, we’re talking about specific dates about one year ahead in the USA as well as in Europe. It’s always possible that someone might not be available to do it. We have to have a backup musician in mind if somebody other than me gets sick or for whatever reason can’t do it,” he explains. “You really do have to think ahead. There are commitments you make once you announce concerts that you have to stick with. If it did happen to me it would be a cancellation. With all respect to the other guys, they’re all replaceable – not easily - but there are other musicians I know I can pick up the phone and hopefully they will be available if someone for whatever reason can’t make a show. These are realities of not just getting old but the realities for any musician at any age. That’s happened to us a number of times in the last two years,” he says before bringing it back to the issue of new music. “The opportunities to go into the studio have tended to disappear because those periods of time usually get eaten up by somebody’s illness, recuperation from illness or somebody’s commitment to do some other work with other artists. We all have things we do outside of Jethro Tull.”

While many equate Ian Anderson with Jethro Tull, without Martin Barre, Owen Wilson’s rant from Armageddon about people who mistake Jethro Tull for a person might not have been so funny. Barre joined Jethro Tull nearly forty years ago, replacing Mick Abraham after the release of This Was, making his and Anderson’s one of the longest running relationships in rock and roll. “There’s a lot of loyalty, friendship and support,” says Anderson explaining the pair’s longevity together. “We’re not close in the sense that we do things together. We’ve always had different interests and different personalities. Right from the beginning, Martin’s had his own life, his own circle of friends and I’ve had mine. We tend to survive as a couple, musically speaking, because of those differences and separate interests. If we had been too close, we would have come to blows or found it hard to carry on,” says Anderson, bringing to mind the reported volatility between Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend and Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. “We have a healthy rather separate relationship. I think that’s probably the best way to be in a musical group. You don’t get too close to the people around you because the intimacy you enjoy musically speaking when you’re on stage together or even on tour together is pretty intense. Being on stage with other musicians, it’s like two hours of sex. It’s exhausting, especially for old chaps like me. We keep a degree of separation which is a healthy thing to do when you have to combine that with the intensity of the experience that you have on stage together. Perhaps in some ways it’s a little bit like a marriage – to have all that stuff that you really enjoy together but sometimes it’s the minutes apart that are also important. Whenever Jethro Tull are off the road for a while or off doing some solo projects and we get back together again there’s a sense of kinship and spirit within the band and that’s good. You just don’t want to overdo it. You can spoil the broth by overboiling it. A gentle simmer is better.”

With more than twenty studio albums to their credit, Jethro Tull has the breadth of catalog and devoted fan base to take up residency like The Allman Brothers Band or Phil Lesh & Friends and perform a historic run of shows. “The idea has crossed my mind,” relates Anderson. “I have a rather simplistic approach to being a traveling musician. I like to come into town, have some lunch, go to sound check play the show and leave town early the next morning. The idea of playing two shows in the same venue - let alone ten or twenty - it’s really hard for me,” he says, crushing the hopes of any Tull fans hoping for a Grateful Dead-like career retrospective residency in the near future. “I just like the kind of one night stand approach to performing and playing. I like to get in there and get out. If I’m still in the same town at 8:00 the following morning, I’m feeling a little strange. So that’s really not going to work. There have been occasions when we’ve played a couple of nights in a particular town at the same venue and we’ve changed the set list to some or even a greater extent for another show. Generally speaking, it’s not my way of doing things. I’d rather get on with the next one and a new sea of faces.” Since a large majority of Tull fans possess an encyclopedic knowledge of the band and their music, a residency, while not only being something new for the band, a three or four night run of shows in a single city would likely draw an insane amount of interest. “Perhaps so, but it would be two or three nights too long for me,” he say, quite matter-of-factly. “I’m afraid I’m just one of those people who like to leave town before the newspapers come out.”

One achievement that Jethro Tull is famously known for is their 1989 Grammy victory over Metallica for Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Performance for Crest Of The Knave, a predominantly acoustic album. “It will be remembered but for all the wrong reasons though,” laughs Anderson. “I think the award was given to us by the 5000 voting members of the Academy of Recording Artists not for being a heavy metal band but for being nice guys who had never won a Grammy before. I’ve always said if there was a category in the Grammy awards for Best One Legged Flute Player, I’d win it every year,” he boasts, tongue firmly in cheek. Metallica was quite vocal about their Grammy defeat taking out some of their frustration on the innocent Tull. Whatever tension that may have existed has long since faded. “Metallica were very generous once they did win the Grammy. They thanked everybody; their wives, their families, their pets, the fans and Jethro Tull for not putting out an album that year. It shows that the darkest of dark metal bands do at least have a little sense of self deprecating humor which is always good to see.”

Nearly twenty years later, where is the Grammy? The question itself makes Anderson laugh. “Interestingly enough, I did find it after about 10 years,” he says. “I hadn’t seen it for a long time. It showed up when someone was doing an insurance valuation. They came across it in a drawer somewhere in the far corner of the house. It made its appearance again but I don’t know what’s happened to it since then. It’s disappeared again,” he laughs. “It’s somewhere here in the house It’s very nice to have these things but you don’t necessarily have to show them off to the neighbors, he says with an understated modesty. “While it’s nice to have awards and acknowledgements from people, it doesn’t mean you have to wave them around to let people know how clever you are. I’m perfectly secure with myself. I don’t really need to impress myself by having these things on display.”

At the time that I spoke to Anderson, Barack Obama had just passed through England, “hobnobbing” with various high-ranking politicos as part of his whirlwind tour through the country. As Anderson is extremely eloquent and knowledgeable on more than just music, we digress into a little political discussion, centered on Europe’s interest in our upcoming election and the Democratic candidate’s appeal overseas. “It’s very much the case, for instance, in Germany 75% of the population want to see Obama become President of the United States,” offers Anderson. “In a number of countries in Europe I would say his profile is very high, considerably higher than John McCain and much higher than the current administration. In the eyes of most people, outside the 30-something percent that give Bush some kind of an approval rating in the U.S., they don’t think he’s done that great a job. Obviously this is an important time and an important election that is being viewed very seriously around the world. America, we hope, is going to have a rekindled part to play in the ideal of the future, in terms of major issues – not only lead the war against terrorism or rather the fight against terrorism but also on subjects like climate change and the economic issues facing people in many countries right at the moment and sometimes in the future.” After pausing for a second to reflect, he continues. “Yes, it’s being eagerly anticipated and very much watched and discussed and pretty much headline news in the papers in Europe. For instance, Obama came over here and I think people were aware that he was grandstanding a little bit and showing off for the media but on the other hand, how else is he going to get people’s attention in this competitive world. I think he did, on balance, a pretty good job and we’ll see what happens from here on in.”

Given the vagaries of International politics, I ponder whether the rest of the world’s desire to see Obama elected would in some fashion work against him. “It’s something that all the pundits here are talking about,” counters Anderson. “There could be a negative result from Obama going missing from America on a crucial week. On the other hand, when you look at how McCain has been doing in recent weeks his star is waning fast and he gets grumpier and crankier as the days go by. (At the time of the interview, McCain’s poll numbers were quite low. His numbers have surged since). I can look at John McCain and think, ‘Wow. He’s even crankier and grumpier than I am,’” says Anderson with a low chuckle. “I feel a certain if temporary kinship with John McCain because I like a guy who’s grumpy. I like a guy who speaks his mind and can sometimes lose the plot a little bit. Unfortunately, neither I nor John McCain would probably make a very good President of the United States. But it’s not up to me to judge,” he says with his voice rising in that distinctive Ian Anderson manner. “I think part of McCain’s popularity was that he was a new broom, someone who disagreed with many of the things done and said by the current administration and was one who had a degree of separateness from the Washington party apparatchik,” says Anderson of the Republican candidate. “I think McCain’s strong point is that he seems to have Republican credentials but with an independent soul, not one who would be bowed and cowed by the traditional hierarchy of the Republican Party. That’s probably what won him the nomination: that degree of independence, that he wasn’t an old school Republican. Whether he’s new school anything is what we have to keep our eyes and ears open for to find out if he has something to offer behind the rhetoric and the war veteran stance which unfortunately as he sort of learned from John Kerry doesn’t necessarily win you a Presidency.”

The discussion then moves on to the general populace’s apparent distaste for politicians who blindly toe the party line. “A lot of people who probably wouldn’t have voted the last two times around are going to go out and vote in this election,” opines Anderson. “I think there will a much bigger percentage of black people and a much bigger percentage of younger people going out to vote then on the previous couple of occasions. There should be a demographic change in the voting habits of America which should probably play into the hands of Obama more than McCain. One can understand that the Republican Party is a little bit nervous about new voters. Obama is hardly what we’d call a radical liberal. He’s a pretty tame guy in terms of what you might have and McCain is slightly to the left of what you might call a typical Republican,” suggests Anderson before offering his more personal take on partisan politics. “My pal Tony Snow, who sadly is no longer with us, was a staunch defender of the Bush line in his days as Press Secretary of the White House. He was someone who defended the Republican Party regardless of his boss; a real staunch Republican and I admired and respected him for it even if politically speaking we were often arguing opposite sides on issues like climate change. Tony and I didn’t come to blows but we got fairly passionate in our arguments. Sadly, I never got to find out whether Tony had ever come around to accepting climate change before he died. We didn’t talk about that in the months leading up to his death. It somehow seemed a bit cattish to reawaken ideological arguments with a man fighting against terminal cancer,” he says with poignancy entering his voice.

“I’m an American taxpayer but not a voting citizen of the United States. So I have to leave it up to you guys, just as the Germans, French and the Italians do. It’s interesting times and the world is watching. My message to the American people isn’t to vote for John McCain or for Barack Obama or even for Hillary Clinton next time since it looks like she’ll take another crack at it. My message is simply - vote because you can’t afford to be one of the 40% of the people who sit on their behinds and can’t be bothered to go to the polls. Democracy is what young men and women have fought and died for in Afghanistan and Iraq. If anything we owe it to them to use our democratic right to show the rest of world how democracies work. That’s my message. Hanging chads notwithstanding,” he adds with a laugh.

Article from Click here for original article.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Review: Jethro Tull: Live at Montreux 2003 (Blu-ray)

Review by Jeffrey Kauffman

The Movie:

Jethro Tull, a swamp boogie blues band? You might be forgiven for thinking you've gotten a mispackaged Blu-Ray when you start up this 2003 Montreux concert. Sure, that looks like Ian Anderson and cohorts (notably longtime collaborator Martin Barre on guitars), but what is our fearless minstrel leader doing playing a harmonica? And why are the boys doing a down and dirty blues beat? That's just the beginning of a most unusual Tull concert that foregoes a lot of the tried and true material for some riskier choices, proving what incomparable innovators and superb musicans Anderson and company have always been.

While the back of the disc packaging claims the show is split into two halves, one acoustic, one electric, I found it to be much more diverse than that, with some reworkings of old favorites (Bach's "Bourree" played more like, well, a bourree, than the jazz waltz of the original Tull version) mixed with some lesser known newer songs. Anderson actually doesn't don his trademark flute until well into the concert, as a matter of fact. I've always thought Anderson's chops as a flautist have been widely underappreciated; he easily has one of the creamiest tones in the pop/jazz vernacular and while his improvising may not be of the caliber of, say, Hubert Laws, he is always inventive and never less than musical. Laws fans may find this disc of particular interest, as a matter of fact, because Anderson revists Gabriel Faure's beautiful "Pavane," recorded by Laws on one of his legendary CTi albums. Anderson recasts the tune in 3/4, giving it an almost Spanish flamenco flair once Barre's guitar takes over. It doesn't have the pyrotechnics of Laws' gorgeous version, but it has a unique and very inviting character of its own, something the rest of this concert shares.

Tull has a few surprises up its sleeve, including a strangely fringe-veiled woman named Masha who joins them on wordless vocals in a sort of world beat Middle Eastern tune. Even though the concert was taped in July, Anderson offers a spry lilting version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" as well. They finally do get around to good old fashioned Tull material, including rousing versions of "Hunting Girl," "Living in the Past" (perhaps the best known song in 5/4 outside of Desmond's classic "Take Five"), "Aqualung" and "Locomotive Breath."

The Tull boys have always been showmen, and this concert is no exception. Anderson dances and weaves, Barre remains largely stoic while delivering solid solos, and keyboardist Andrew Giddings has a peculiar habit of lifting his right leg high into the air as he plays. Giddings and Barre have a kind of funny little showdown in the finale which brings the audience to rapturous approval. Tull has always been a band of considerable depth and contrapuntal complexity, and this Blu-Ray presentation shows that off in admirable detail. Anderson is nobody's fool, compositionally speaking, and his efforts bear repeated listening with ease.

About the only drawback of this concert is, sadly, Ian's voice. Whether he was simply tired, or it's the slow encroachment of advancing years (his singing of "Thin Man" is a little ironic since he's grown a middle-aged paunch), the once magisterial tones and long phrasings are nowhere to be heard here, and he struggles to hit a lot of the higher notes. He's always had a slightly nasal quality, but even that seems exaggerated throughout the concert, not always to enjoyable effect. Anderson contributes some charming liner notes to the Blu-Ray and states up front in them that the concert was filmed live and preserves the performance "warts and all," so I tend to want to cut him a little slack and say it's a minor wart given the instrumental magnificence that is routinely on display throughout the concert.

The Blu-Ray Disc


The image of this 1080i 1.78:1 transfer is startlingly clear, so clear in fact that we get occasional (perhaps unwanted) glimpses of Ian's nose hairs from foot of the stage camera angles. This is largely shot on a darkened stage, so don't expect a dazzling visual presentation, but colors and detail are completely solid, and I noticed no compression artifacts even without 1080p.


Both the DD 5.1 and DTS 5.1 mixes are outstanding. Anderson and Barre usually take the front channels, which is as it should be, with drummer Doane Perry, bassist Jonathan Noyce and keysman Giddings bringing up the rear. Anderson's voice is sometimes slightly lost in the mix, which I think is more the fault of Ian jumping around the microphone than of the sound mix itself. There's some great rumbling lower frequencies with "Aqualung". There is also a standard LPCM stereo mix that is absolutely fine, though, again, Anderson's voice tends to be muddied at times.


None are offered.

Final Thoughts:

This is visually and aurally one of the clearest home video releases of Tull ever, heads and shoulders above even some recent SD releases. Anderson's voice isn't all it should be, but that's about the only detriment. Highly recommended.

Review taken from DVD Talk. Click here for original article.

Friday, September 12, 2008

This week, Aurora listens to... "AQUALUNG" from Jethro Tull (1973)

AURORA: I have to say one thing about Jethro Tull, Bill, and here it goes. They're quite complicated in their progressive-rock coolness. You know as a listener that you're gonna get a kick from this English band once you realize their lead singer is cool enough to rock out with a flute and spice it up with spacey lyrics. His vocals are entrancing in the first tune, "Aqualung," which starts slowly and smoothly and kicks it up with a mid-song, up-tempo splash.

BILL: At the height of progressive-rock coolness, Tull's Ian Anderson was among the coolest, Aurora, leaping around stage singing and matching guitarist Martin Barre with flute blasts. This album was their masterpiece, balancing the social commentary of the song "Aqualung" with criticism of organized religion on songs like "Hymn 43" and "Wind Up," both of which are lost classics.

AURORA: If there's one thing they're not, it's boring. One moment they're starting things slowly and smoothly with a swift piano and art rock groove in "Cheap Day Return," and another moment they're starting their songs with laughter and Celtic-inspired, country-like riffs in "Up to Me".

BILL: And then they get down with "Cross-Eyed Mary" and "Up To Me," another kinetic blast that gets overlooked.

AURORA: I admit, they lost me in the last few songs, but still kicked it in "Locomotive Breath," a swift entertaining tune. Nice CD pick, my friend.

Article taken from Gainsville Sun. Click here for full article.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Tull Goes Blu-ray

Eagle Rock Announces 'Jethro Tull,' 'Legends' Montreux Blu-rays

A pair of new concert discs featuring music legends Jethro Tull, Eric Clapton, and David Sanborn recorded at the Montreux Rock Festival are kicking off Eagle Rock's Fall Blu-ray line-up.

Two titles are set to debut on September 30: 'Jethro Tull: Live at Montreux 2003' and 'Legends: Live at Montreux 1997,' the latter featuring all-star jams with such greats as Clapton, Sanborn, Joe Sample, and Marcus Miller.

There are no tech specs yet, but judging by Eagle Rock's previous Montreux releases, expect 1080 video and some form of high-res audio.

At press time, there were no announced extras for either release. We'll keep you posted of any further spec updates.

Suggested retail price for the Blu-rays has been set at $24.95 a pop.

You'll find the latest specs for 'Jethro Tull: Live at Montreux 2003' and 'Legends: Live at Montreux 1997' linked from our Blu-ray Release Schedule, where they're indexed under September 30.

Article taken from High-Def Digest. Click here for full article.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Jethro Tull celebrates 40th anniversary at Wolf Trap

The following article was found in the Fairfax Times.

By Eileen M. Carlton

Jethro Tull was first the name of a man, an agrarian engineer in England who invented the seed drill in the 18th century.

Then Jethro Tull became both plural and singular, poetic and disharmonious, simplistic and complex, and a band that has meant and continues to mean many things to many people.

And, like the Rolling Stones, Jethro Tull is still on tour and in the process of evolving - even after or maybe because of four decades of riding the heady and capricious locomotive of musical stardom.

Ian Anderson, 60, was one of the band’s founders and remains its lead singer and its spokesman.

Anderson also makes it clear on The Official Jethro Tull Web site that being the spokesman is not a task he enjoys.

His attitude is a personification of the lyrics from Tull’s “Lost in Crowds.”

“So, who am I? Come on: ask me, I dare you.
So, who am I? Come on: question me, if you care to.
And why not try to interrogate this apparition? I melt away to get lost in this quaint condition.”

To alleviate some of the boredom he associates with being interviewed, Anderson compiled a lengthy and comprehensive list of questions he does not want to be asked “ever, ever again.” Since he also gives lengthy and comprehensive answers to these questions, a reporter may find it difficult to know where to start.

Nevertheless, Anderson did grant an interview, calling from his home in Wiltshire County just southwest of London to talk about his upcoming concert Aug. 6 at Wolf Trap and to express grave concern, not only about the global environment but also about the political situation in Great Britain and the United States.

The music

Anderson said he did not have any formal training in music but learned by listening to Muddy Waters and Beethoven.

While he is adept at several instruments, Anderson is credited by many for giving the flute a prominent place in the rock music scene.

Perhaps his most well-known recording was “Aqualung.” Anderson pointed out that up until this album, he had “tended to write songs that were more for the band.”

“This was mostly me and it was an album of great musical contrast,” Anderson said. “It epitomizes that approach to writing rock music. You try to make it varied in terms of light and shade, the drama, the contrast.”

Anderson indicated that this willingness to break the rules, to travel up and down unexplored harmonies and lyrics is the key to a philosophy he believes all musicians should embrace.

“I think perhaps, maybe the legacy of Jethro Tull is that we serve as an example to young musicians today,” Anderson said. “You don’t have to take the mainstream approach. You don’t have to be driven by the constraints of the media ... to succumb to pressure. Jethro Tull has something that shows that once in awhile you can buck the system and sell a bunch of records.”

He made the following comments on today’s music on his Web site:

“Endless recycling of '60s and '70s musical influences fill the charts these days.”

“Since the mid-70s, the [musical] development has been more technological rather than musical.”

“Nothing really changes; nothing is really new.”

“Techno and rap? Just nursery rhymes with attitude. Nice ideas but going around in small circles.”

The politics

The question that gave Anderson the opening he needed to discuss his political concerns was about Charlie, the entity in “Locomotive Breath,” the entity who stole the train that won’t stop going.

“I’m just talking about the almighty,” Anderson said. “I’m talking about the almighty train controller, the one who sets the timetable, who gave birth to the universe and the spinning globe, and we’re spinning right along with it and no way to get off. It’s a metaphor for the crazy drive that seems to exist in the world today for more and bigger; especially when they are talking about the global economy. ...They are like lemmings heading for the great abyss.”

The list of problems that Anderson wants to see fixed and, in fact, help fix them, includes overpopulation, global warming, the earth’s food supply and the dependency on fossil fuel.

He indicated he was ahead of his time, writing the first songs about climate change in 1974.

Anderson said the current U.S. presidential candidates are in for a rough ride, that whichever candidate wins the coming election, his term of office probably would not yield great success and re-election would not be in the cards. He also leveled harsh criticism of politicians in both the United States and Great Britain.

But the specifics he discussed in the interview, he said, will not find their way into his lyrics. Anderson makes it clear he does not want to bash people over the head with his beliefs.

“I don’t write songs that are headlines,” Anderson said. “I like the message to be a little more embedded, a little more subtle. ... I don’t think the job of a musician is really to be arguing the specifics of political opinion.”

The biography

Drawing from Anderson’s answers to the most frequently asked questions, one learns that the band began performing in February 1968, first in Luton, north of London, and then getting its big break at London’s famous Marquee Club on Wardour Street in Soho. Despite rumors to the contrary, the band has never disbanded “even for a moment.”

Tull performs more than 100 concerts each year. The current band members include lead guitarist Martin Barre, drummer Doane Perry, pianist/accordionist John O’Hara and bass guitarist David Goodier.

Anderson prefers to live in the present and the future. He wants his music to be “a little bit timeless and not rooted in a particular music fashion.”

In recognition of his talent, Anderson was award the MBE, or Member of the Order, by the British government early this year. He joins such notables as Paul McCartney in being a knight and having the title of “Sir.”

As for his life offstage, he has been married to his wife, Shona, for 23 years. He has two children, James and Gael, both “at university.” His household also includes five cats, two dogs, horses and chickens. He lives in an 18th-century English country house with a recording studio and 400 acres of wheat, barley and trees about 100 miles west of London. He has had a second home in Scotland, the country of his birth, since 1978. It is in the highlands of Scotland that he has also established a salmon farm that employs about 250 people.

Anderson’s hobbies include growing a wide variety of hot chili peppers and the study and conservation of 26 species of small wildcats. He collects mechanical watches and vintage Leica and other cameras.

The future

Anderson indicated on his Web site that while he may cut back on the number of concerts a year, he will never willingly stop making music and performing:

“When I wake up in the morning, I am a musician, not a farmer or fish salesman. That’s what I pay other people to do. I just like eating smoked salmon from one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Death may beckon but retirement does not. ... Which will go first: the eyes, ears or the hands? Fear of boredom in old age is my greatest concern.”

As ever, Anderson incorporated this philosophy in his music, “Life is a Long Song.”

“Life's a long song

But the tune ends too soon for us all.’

Contact the writer at

Click here for orginal aticle