Ian Anderson: the guy from Jethro Tull


I don’t like loud music, I listen to jazz, Blues and folk: I was always attracted to acoustic music. I am convinced that you can sound powerful and dramatic, without blowing the eardrums of listeners. Beethoven was not a 200-watt Marshall amplifier. Their mastery of the composer he was able to convey to the listener the idea, but from the point of view of power, the Maestro was a «Toyota Prius» against the Boeing 747.One day a very famous journalist, began an article about another famous journalist: «in front of me is a nearly impossible task – to write about Mr. N., never use the word «NIT». So, write about Ian Anderson and never to use words like «brilliant son of a bitch» is quite problematic. But we will try.

They say that standing on one leg – a sign of the inevitably approaching schizophrenia. History does not know the name of the person who issued this extravagant pseudo-scientific nonsense, but the name of the most famous stately on one foot in music history, she has kept carefully sealed in a wrapper of fame and have carried through the years, and glorified his authoritative name. Of course, to love and respect Ian Anderson is not shocking on stage and not for the higher musical skill, grown with rare diligence and innate talent. Anderson has proven to us all that the flute is the most that neither is a rock-n-roll musical instrument. He, long before Troubadour Blackmore and his renessanssi adventure in the team name of his family Blacmore»s Night, proved that Bach is much more a rock star than the entire composition of ABBA and INXS (if you, of course, remember this Australian team named suicide Michael Hutchence) and many other pseudo-participants of this genre.

His entire career is a huge educational work with a large admixture furious expression and life-affirming enthusiasm. Someone will say: «What the hell are you to ascribe the merit of the group Jethro Tull one person?» Absolutely true, but the whole concept of the group is defined by Anderson. He is the main ideologist of the group, its soul, author of text, music and shamanic costumed those excesses, which they arranged on the stage. Moreover, he is the only permanent member of the team, and Jethro Tull he’s about the same as Fidel Castro to Communist Cuba.

Great Joker, musician and educator, which is a shame to forget a sin not to tell.

I’m 16 years did not listen to pop music, I was listening to muddy waters, Howlin ‘ wolf and John Lee hooker. And when I was 20 years old – Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. And in 30-40 years of listening to Indian and Asian musicians. Now I’m 54 years old – imagine what I already old? and I listen to Finnish folk music. And pop don’t listen to music, and rock music too. I was never interested to listen to what I can play.

Do you remember how it all began…


Ian was born in post-war quiet and unremarkable Blackpool. The main attractions of the seaside town in the bleak ‘ 50s was that his cold beach on the weekends parachuted unspoiled sun-British, monotonous festivals and football club, now languishing in the lower leagues. And then he won the FA cups and was proud that his team was playing the first ever the winner of thoroughly corrupt and predictable now award the «Golden ball» Stanley Matthews. By the way, it was the first football player who has received a knighthood from the hands of the Queen-mother. It seemed that this «magic» in all senses of the man should have been born in Sherwood forest, near Stonehenge or in some mysterious elven settlement of city type lost in some lush Kent. In fact, Ian was born in Scotland and at the age of 12 years came to the resort.

Almost immediately upon arrival, he enrolled in art school and, so as not to burden the family with unnecessary liability settled in already fashionable Levi’s store assistant of the seller. However, to sell expensive denim rags was boring, so during breaks he would read once accidentally caught his eye «Melody Maker» and «New Musical Express». It interesting articles have kindled in his breast a love of rock music. Through the journals he learned music theory and when I had a smooth transition to practice, he gathered his first band The Blades. They played fashion while straightforward Blues. First, like all his peers, Ian was going to be a good guitarist, because thanks to the «Runmble» Link ray image of the guitarist was universally considered to be the coolest » member of the group, followed by chase admiring his skill girls. Singers, even though that is actually the face of such laurels, Anderson would be glad to sit down for, say, a drum set, but could not play on it. Bass gave a violent temper to burst out on the scene in full, so I had to stand behind a microphone. Outstanding vocals he has never been, and even with the years he got better. Anderson pushes himself sound with the sound with breathy that it seems now he’ll choke and the concert ends prematurely. Over time he turned this disadvantage into a recognisable and unique style, but then he often gave this cock that audiences Blackpool clubs involuntarily winced. To somehow raise self-esteem, Anderson desperately blew into a harmonica, a forerunner of his flute.

Jethro Tull


Jethro Tull appeared in shaggy 1967, after Anderson, together with his comrades moved to London, where opportunities were at times more than the provincial Blackpool. Due to problems with the search of the concert organizers, the group frequently changed its name. They often became the name of one of the agents, and once the group is named in honor of one of them – Jethro Tull. Boys, in turn, was named in honor of English agriculture and of the inventor, which is fashioned in the 18th century improved the construction of the plow-planter of the pieces of the body. Symbolic, isn’t it? Incidentally, at the time the group could join one talented guy from Birmingham, which is the factory cut off the tips of his fingers, but he still gave out some magical sounds. His name was Tony Iommi, and together they’re even made on a dull British television. But the relationship did not grow together: as recognized by Iommi, he wanted to work together, and not to follow the guidance of Anderson. Simply put, two authorities in the same group is not the place, and in its place came a timid boy, the excitement forgot to bring a guitar cord. The guy’s name was Martin Barr, and the group he gave 34 years of his life, becoming the soul of the team and proving to all guitar players, if you want to become a great – learn to play classic rock, and Blues.

But before this was recorded the first album, which strongly stirred up the public. Before the boys played progressive Blues, which was no different from anything else that was in the music of the time. And that’s when Anderson thought about his role in the group. The harmonica he had to admit, were able to play pretty well, even the vocals have ceased to resemble the moaning of asthma. Add a second guitar? Ian has long realized that the new Clapton, he will never become. Had come what was not to develop another tool. The question was only which one. Keys are too cumbersome, accordion… And how to cut the rock-n-roll? To play the violin or the viola, John Cale of the Velvet Undeground, it was necessary to spend too much time. Of all the tools that could more or less fit in the style of the group, there was only a flute. What? The range of its applications is extremely wide, its echoes could be heard in the music of three folk-rock bands of the time, even in the legendary California Dreami’n heterosexual ensemble The Mamas And The Papas. Resolved, flute! Unusual and very beautiful, especially since its place can be greatly expanded.

And this is no eccentric, but a successful attempt to force the group to sound different than most of those teams. When I started my path as a professional musician I was 19 years old, and I played guitar. But I knew that the stars like Eric Clapton with my guitar skills are still very far away. I decided to choose an instrument, a game where I could create my style and the style of their group. So I started to play the flute. After all, and besides Eric Clapton doesn’t know how to play it! And Jimi Hendrix too. First Jethro Tull said, «And the odd Blues band where the singer plays the flute!» And indeed, it is the flute and not guitar Gibson, as in most compositions, and made Jethro Tull a very prominent group, not only critics, but also among the General public. Thanks to the flute, we have become instantly recognizable group she singled us out of the medley of then-rock scene. And even now, 35 years ago, I don’t see famous flutists in the world of rock-n-roll. Looking back, I think that my decision to learn the flute and has led to the fact that Jethro Tull became such a famous band and toured the world. Besides, I’m proud of the title of the best rock flautist in the world! The best and only.To say that Anderson has mastered it to perfection – to say nothing. He checked the tool for strength, sucked in all the juices, felt absolutely everything possible, conquered and tamed it. Realizing that the harmonious passages can annoy, he began to do this to her, student in the Conservatory and in a head could not come, for example, spit, snort, throwing out her sounds, which nobody even guessed. All that mumbling into the mouthpiece, unimaginable scale and style, ranging from jazz and ethnic motifs to familiar to every lover of the classics «the Tempest,» which became the hallmark of Jethro Tull. Remarkably, Anderson has mastered the tool just a month before the album.

It was a success. The album climbed to the top of the chart, the viewers, the order of tired of the ubiquitous folk-rock and psychedelic suffering, very like a shrill flute, to the accompaniment of a very high quality rhythm section and a live guitar. The glory that is to come. Critics didn’t know how to describe the presence on the jazz album covers of the Bach «Bouree» and a little similar to the Blues songs. Over time, they determined to progressive rock, which determined all fans of complex arrangements. But it then 71-year group was in its own style. Play hard rock with a flute in them wasn’t very good. Moreover, some hard rock can be discussed when the group performs on TV acoustic songs about witches and fairies («The Witch Promise»)?

By the way, the viewers loved to watch on the tube screens of the crazy gang. They kind of wrote great music, laced with philosophical texts, and the skill level was off the charts, but they are still considered Holy fools. The guys jumped out in incredible costumes, and the Anderson jumped on stage with tousled red hair and a housecoat, wincing, and stood on one leg, playing a solo on the flute. So watching them live was even more interesting than listening to on record. Over time, the level of insanity come to a peak, and the guys will arrange these performances. What is their bassist, who played in the Zebra costume, but in between songs, the musicians staged we all hope, playfully jumping on the stage. Otherwise, it is impossible, after Peter Gabriel at one of the concerts of Genesis took the stage in a dress and pulled down on his head the mask of a Fox, had to raise the bar and attract attention in any way.

I started to stand on one leg, when he began to play the harmonica. Actually, I lifted one foot for a few seconds. And that’s what I started to write that this is the guy who plays the flute and stands at one foot. So, I had to learn to play the flute standing on one leg. But I still don’t spend two hours standing on one foot. I stand on one foot for a few moments. It’s funny. It’s fun. Besides, it disciplinarum. This is a very interesting balance. It’s not easy. It wasn’t easy when I was 20, it’s not easy and now when I am 55. Some do yoga, others playing the flute, standing on one leg. It is possible that someone else is having sex, standing on one leg. People do a lot of different things for very different reasons.

Besides, the 70s – era cocaine and art rock, so there is nothing surprising in this circus not. I had to stand out on stage, and if you’re not sexy like Robert plant, or your songs don’t require any movement, like Dylan, we have to deal with any nonsense and turn to acting. I got used to him, waiting for him, and so the most iconic album – «Aqualung».

Conceptual trend

«It’s Jethro tull? Where are the songs about witches?», «Why are they so serious? They fucking shitting me?» – fans said. The guys have always been wise texts, not as philosophical, as in BG, more for the people than for the educated, but the album, which revealed a difference between the concepts of God and religion, ridiculed the vices of society. For it was even invented by the main character – a nasty tramp named Scuba, roaming the streets and drop the coveted drool at the sight of little girls. To the question: «What is Scuba diving?» Anderson invariably replied: «There are people, and there are scuba». Just the journalists didn’t know that in English slang «scuba» called all those who fell to the bottom. Just look at the list of songs to cry with delight: here, the cult’s eponymous biography of the protagonist of the album (Aqualung) – perhaps the only great song «the metal» where there is no flute, «Locomotive Breath», which like any normal person, and «Cross-Eyed Mary» – an amazing story about an underage prostitute, and a minute and a half and underrated acoustic idyll «Cheap Day Return» – such a sad tale of the Vienna woods about real people.

The album was a reboot in the work group and crowned the end of the creative process. Only here’s the thing: the album, consisting of a rather motley songs, called conceptual. Came the era of prog-rock and complex, as long as the education of medical University in albums, which had a little soul and a lot more jewelry. The musicians tried to show that they are capable of anything than to create a good song. ELP, King Krimson, Yes – some of those who managed to do something worthwhile, but not all their stuff is pleasing to the ear. Everything was done according to the principle: «Replace simple chords a few lines to realise how great we are and make it impossible to listen to! Jora, and here a strange grinding noise, it’s a concept».

And another prerequisite of the album had a strange cover: unknown fantastic heresy, such as werewolves, dragons, bridge of clouds, an obscure steel substances on the background of blue sky. And here is Aqualung, which is on the cover of the Lord God, the homeless and even some unknown heresy. Definitely prog rock.

Anderson and company have always laughed at this approach, and because his involvement was considered an insult. Then he came up with the idea – but this does not create the father of all prog rock albums that make fun of the whole genre and make everyone think about how meaningless this music? For more slapstick album consists of one song that would last 43 minutes, 28 seconds, and the journalists say that the idea of the album was inspired by 8-year-old poet, Gerald Bostock, who won first place in literary contest, and then was disqualified. Use all sorts of harpsichords, lutes, tambourines and other instruments that will meet except in museums: pipe come, will not be superfluous! Oh yeah, you want the cover of the album was a parody of a provincial English newspaper «from The St. Cleve Chronicle and Linwell Advertiser». And call stupid, for example «Thick as a Brick» («Dumb as an oak»).

However, it turned out quite the opposite. «Thick as a Brick» was widely been recognized as the best conceptual album ever, which is ideal from the point of view of getting into the hearts of the audience, musicality and complexity. After all, it is incredibly difficult to achieve, but it sounds simply divine, as if the musicians did not load the music. Perhaps, if you’ve got good taste, bad music is not as did not try. Interestingly, 43-minute song is much easier and nicer to listen to than a mediocre seven-minute conceptual miscarriage or three-minute song Baskov. But that is just a matter of taste.


You can blame Anderson in deceit, that no ridicule was not, they deliberately wrote a concept legend and the whole story is just a provocation on the extra compliments and attempt to prove that they never followed the mainstream. But then they never came back to the topic of the conceptual music that just didn’t go through folk vector. Such coincidences in their history a lot. The most unexpected and surprising can be called history, what happened in 1987.

Hard rock and ethnics

It was like this. The late ‘ 70s, Jethro Tull released three folk-rock album «Songs from the Wood» (1977), «Heavy Horses» (1978) and «Stormwatch» (1979). The album «Songs from the Wood» was the first that received the most positive reviews since the release of «Living in the Past». This period is considered the end of the classic era Jethro Tull.

Early 80s was reflected in the «Metal» changed reference from folk to then gaining momentum of electronic rock. The first album, «A», Anderson planned to make a solo, but the producers feared he would not be in demand, and had to add it to the creativity of the group, still plans resembled only his name (no prizes for guessing that «A» is for Anderson). It was a difficult time, the group passed its peak, lost half of the original lineup and was starting to get tired of the current situation. Issuing a couple of mediocre albums, and having got tired, the guys went on an extended vacation for the whole 4 years. Moreover, Anderson, quite exhausted in 15 years of continuous work, I decided to heal my throat, which was an accident. Go to the salmon farm, enough watching how the Twisted Sisters Motley Crue flaunt on MTV in heels with painted eyes, listening to glam rock and deciding to reunite the old rockers, he decides to return to the industry again. In short, just go back to the Blues and rock-and-roll roots. Calling the alarm and calling for mates in the Studio, they give birth to the album «Crest Of A Knave», which was met with enthusiasm. It was one Jethro Tull – a brutal and concise, which order was not enough in the second half of the 70s. And it would seem that nothing interesting can happen, but they are in some strange way was nominated Grammy in the category «Best performance of Rock/Metal». And – about a miracle! the group, which had itself neither to rock nor to metal is not classified, has received the award, beating thrash metal masterpiece «Master of Purpets» not opopsite then Metallica. In their win, Anderson is not believed and the ceremony never showed up. All were, to put it mildly, surprised, and musical editions were published with the title «the Flute is a heavy metal instrument». But the song resonated in the air all listened, everyone liked it.

The following albums, up to the present day, rife with ethnic motifs. In andersonsc sounds of the flute became more Eastern and Indian influences. The most important thing is that the songs have not lost the fuse, and interesting and unusual solutions were embodied in each song. Although I must admit that the music became more respectable. In parallel, he records solo albums. 83-year gained as much as 7 pieces, and I must admit that the latter differ very little from the band. Except that the text is serious and music is not so varied. And what man is 68 years old – the age when to die sooner, but life needs to be a tight analysis.

A strange feature of the Anderson – shoot album, while everything was off its accounts. So it was in ‘ 95, when Ian’s solo album «Divinities: Twelve Dances with God» soared to the top of Bilboard. Classics mixed with Celtic and African motifs, is liked by the public, but even more, it captured a great «Christmas album» – the work is not Autonomous. «Tally» as if said loudly: «Forgot about us? Listen To «Blink 182″? And we don’t care, do what you want. And we have masterpieces!» Attended as English folk songs performed by the group and the original songs of Jethro Tull.

In Anderson’s life is not as cheerful a person as it may seem. In the group he is a real dictator, and no matter what the masters was not his team, the last word always behind it. However, he was not greedy of glory and always gives you the chance to prove himself to young musicians, and exposed him on the same site. Anderson is a workaholic and a fan of his work and its impossible to blame is unprofessional. After he used a flute and other prog-rock bands, like the Dutch Focus, and YouTube has added hundreds of video beatboxers-flute. However, this all pales in comparison to a musical genius. From Blues to Renaissance, from rock to folk – all he might do with talent or at least brilliant. Even the salmon farm he runs with the mind, and not as many rockers starting a business under cocaine, and end up in debt.

I am by nature a pragmatist. My approach to music can rather be called logical, even scientific. I believe that music must have a soul that is spiritual substance, but it’s not magic, just feel the music physically comes into the human being, affects his life. Of course, this explanation doesn’t sound romantic, but still, since I have some music experience, I know whereof I speak. Music’s 7 notes, fluctuations in the frequency, volume range… And some combination of all of this seem more attractive than others. As for the lyrics, of course, is not just a set of words, and the expression of certain ideas. Each musician expresses his ideas again and again in different forms and types. But his magic, if it exists, is always confined to the audience’s perception.

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