Ian Anderson's Q&A Nov 4, 2011 10:52:11 GMT -5
Post by TM on Nov 4, 2011 10:52:11 GMT -5
TJTB'S Q&A SESSION with IAN ANDERSON!
Kai Bailey, Falls Church, VA
Q1) You once said that you got into the salmon farming business because it provided a distraction from the music, so that Jethro Tull would seem less job-like and more fun. Now that you are no longer in the salmon farming business, are you involved in anything else to achieve that balance? And are you involved in any sort of agriculture in any way?
Well - it stopped being fun when it got bigger in scale and more scary, economically-speaking. I had a few reservations regarding some of the environmental issues of large-scale salmon farming and I wanted to devote more time to music in my final years rather than be split between the two. I have plenty of "distractions" in later life with grandchildren and various other musical projects over the next few years.
Mix, West Ireland
Firstly I got say thanks to you for all the wonderful music. It has been and continues to be one hell of a ride!
Right then Mr. Anderson.
Q1) I've read that you would like to one day write a novel. Is this still an ambition of yours and if so any clues to the subject?
It will have to be a very rainy day for me to start that! Maybe I need to go away and write. On a desert island somewhere. So long as they have wireless internet there and a good curry restaurant..
Q2) In the first half of your career you were a prolific songwriter but over the last decade or so new songs have been less forthcoming. Can you explain why this is?
I have written quite a lot of material, in fact, and especially so this year during the first three months when I completed a new project ready for recording in November/December.
Q3) When putting together the wonderful Nightcap album and the Anniversary box sets, Dave Rees mentions the track Dinosaur as being a cracker yet it was never released. Can I ask if this will be released one day and is the vault of unreleased now exploited?
Best of luck Ian.
I will have to check that out. I thought it was on there somewhere...
Lucas Ferraz from Sorocaba, Brasil!
Hello Ian! I'm Lucas Ferraz from Sorocaba, Brasil!
I'm 22 years old and have been listening to Jethro Tull's music for about 7 years. Now, my questions:
Q1) There are Jethro Tull pro-shot videos from 69 and 70, and from almost every year from 76 onwards (even if not officially released the shootings can be found in the internet), but in the period between 71 and 75 there is nothing available but for the Minstrel in The Gallery clip in the 25th Anniversary video. Why is that? Does it have something to do with Jeffrey, since it coincides with the exact same period he was in the band?
Nothing to do with Jeffrey. Just that we didn't do any TV around then and live recording didn't really start until the end of the 70's.
Q2) In the past years since the releasing of The Jethro Tull Christmas Album, the band didn't release new studio material. In this period, however, there were some beautiful pieces of music played live. One example I really enjoy is Moz'Art Medley. There's also Donkey and the Drum, and more recently Hare in a Wine Cup, A Change of Horses, and more that I don't recall the name right now. Are there plans regarding the release of these songs officially, in a new album perhaps?
Some of those songs and tunes have been recorded but not mixed. They will be completed next year but not as a part of a new album. Only to be made available as downloads online. Some of the new pieces we have played in the last few months are actually part of a bigger project and were being road-tested. Just those earlier ones make up a group of about 6 pieces to be mixed next year.
Q3) Next year the classic TAAB completes 40 years. This is more a suggestion than a question: what about releasing a commemorative edition with the album and a second disc with the almost 80 min long version of TAAB played live in ‘72?
I am open to all ideas but I am not aware of any quality recording of TAAB live in 1972. There will be a collector's audition of TAAB with remixes and 5.1 surround remixes as well as the original on CD and vinyl. Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) has already completed the TAAB remixes for release next year around September or Octiober.
Thank you very much for this opportunity, and keep on doing the amazing music you were born to do!
Mix from West Ireland
Hi Ian, me again.... I couldn't resist a couple more.
Q1) Did you ever find out what Frank Zappa/Dweezil wanted with you shortly before Frank died? I can't help thinking Frank wanted to sample your Flute playing for his Synclavier compositions.
I never got the chance to find out - which I deeply regret. I tried to call him a couple of times but found it hard to talk to a stranger who was in his final weeks. So I hung up before any one answered the phone. Silly fool.
Q2) I really enjoyed your collaboration with Maddy Prior and in particular hearing you sing backing on Rollercoaster. I know you do quite a bit of guest Flute but would you ever consider doing other instruments such as your wonderful Guitar playing?
And would you be up for a collaboration with some other heavy weights? Ian Anderson, Kate Bush & Mark Knopfler! Considering the success Robert Plant has had collaborating with Alison Krauss could you see yourself doing something along those lines?
Well - someone has to take the initiative and I would rather be asked than do the asking. And I am pretty committed to various tours and projects in 2012.
Q3) Ian, I've read your comments about the lack of money coming in from Jethro Tull i-tunes downloads and dwindling album sales in general together with the associated costs of releasing a new album.
Many of us crave new music from you and I'm sure as an artist you have a desire to get your work out there.
So what I want to know is why don't you start selling new music on your own website? While a traditional album package would be wonderful, what about releasing a song every month or so as a paid download at jethrotull.com? I'm sure you could charge $2-3 for a new track. There would be no cut to give itunes, labels, distributors and so on. The technology to do it is cheap. Once uploaded that's it, sit back and make a profit. You're happy, we're happy. Win win win.
Please tell me why this isn't a great idea?
Yes - and it is one that we are considering although many of our fans are of a generation that doesn't like to use the internet in this way. Especially outside the USA and UK. But there will be access to the new material and some of it will be free streaming rather than paid-for downloads, I expect.
Pat, Kent. UK
Q1) Many moons ago you said in a 'Melody Maker' interview that you wanted to justify the part of your passport that said 'Occupation - Musician', do you feel that you have done that or is there further to go, and if so what directions would you really like to pursue, given no limitations?
Tennis champion at Wimbledon, Formula One race driver and Astronaut. And I would like to star in a porn movie where I keep all my clothes on.
Q2) Was your direction in developing the themes of 'A Passion Play' and 'Warchild' influenced in any way by the brilliant Powell and Pressburger film 'A Matter of Life and Death'?
No - never heard of it. But these themes are universal. Not much chance it has not been done already before when you embark on the big ideas.
Blue Smith, West Conshohocken, PA
Hmmmmm. Let's see. Last time I asked about cats. Don't want to repeat myself. Want to be thoughtful. Ask something to make him think. Get a bit of serious, reflective Ian to balance the rowdy, profane Ian we know and love. Hmmmm. Got it!
My question is:
Q1) Six thousand years from now a crack team of archeologists are sifting through the ruins of one of Earth's Lost Cities. They come upon a disc that is nearly ruined but they manage to salvage one, pristine track. The glyphs that are still readable say that it is by a Jethro Tull.
Out of all the musical wonders you've created for us, if there can only be one piece of your work that remains, for all posterity, which one is it? Which is the one, single piece of your work that you would be saddened to have lost to time?
The song Budapest, which I love, and some from the Aqualung album, I suppose. But how will they play the disc? Even now it is getting hard to find a CD player. I hardly ever play a CD. So maybe best left in the sands of time in the lost city of St Cleve-on-the-Marshes.
Q2) No archeologists this time. It's a philosophical question. We're of about an age. So, how do you feel about being "old", that is, approaching the age you'd be looking at retirement if you were a factory sort of worker. You're a grandfather now and as someone of grandmotherly age, are you as comfortable with the inexorable drift into cranky old fartdom as I am and have you managed to figure out where the hell the time went and how it went there so quickly?
A topic well-addressed in my new project! We all must wonder, now and then, if things had turned out - well - just plain different... Getting old is a time for reflection but not despair. So much to do, so little time. Turn up the wick a little higher. Burn a little more brightly.
If given the opportunity to ask a question of a fan of the band, someone of your own generation, being assured they would tell you the truth, what would you ask them? What would you want to know about someone who'd been "with" the band nearly as long as you have?
Whether they prefer the King Prawn Jalfrezi or the Mutton Madras? Mines a Cobra, if you're asking.
Thanks, Old Dear. You've been wonderful.
Michael, from New York City
Michael, from New York City
Q1) Humour: Are you a fan of Monty Python, and if not, which comedians/ humorists do you find to be most funny/witty, and how do you go about deciding how to incorporate humour into your lyrics?
Oh, yes - the Pythons were a big influence as well as the Goons, Kenneth Horne and all those who pioneered the surreal British humour of the 50s and the 60s. Theatre of the absurd and often a true reflection of life. It has to be in some of my lyrics to balance out the darker stuff.
Q2) Classical Music: Who are your favorite composers (and which specific pieces of music), and how do you think about incorporating a classical-music "element" into your own work (and can you talk us through a specific example of this, other than the obvious one of Bouree)?
Thank you kindly!
Bach and Beethoven. Beethoven for the grand themes and big dramatic orchestrations of his symphonies, especially the 9th. Bach for the intricate and thoughtful. Just part of the learning curve for me to try to incorporate those notions into the more dramatic songs like My God, Aqualung, parts of Thick As A Brick and many other more recent pieces.
Charlie from Boston
I would first like to thank you for all the wonderful hours of enjoyment that you have provided to me for so many years, and also for make my wallet so much lighter by collecting so many wonderful gems over these years.
My question to you is when you started playing in the early days " The Blades" era and through to Jethro Tull did you ever in your wildest dreams think than almost 50 years would pass and your music would still be so relevant and popular?
Given that the people I listened to as a teenager were all old men having fun, it seemed entirely possible. But 50 years - no. 20 or 30 was a reasonable proposition.
Chris "2Fingers" Morgan
I've been listening to your music since I was nine when I discovered my mother's 8-track copy of Aqualung. It was the winter of 1979 and the very first sound I heard was the flute/choral mid-section of "My God" which struck a profound chord in me - totally mystifying. For curious reasons, your music has since cast a wintry spell over me.
This may sound naive, but do the seasons play a role in the creation of your music? Do you think the weather has an effect on your creativity and somehow inspires you?
Thanks again, Ian. God bless! Oh dear, I seem to have found a hare in the wine.
Yes - I am a weather guy. Always concerned and interested in the changes short-term and long. So seasons affect me a great deal. I could never live in a country where seasons scarcely exist. I am happy with the cyclic changes and the unpredictability of it all. So, there is lots of weather-related stuff in my songs over the years.
Dan from Schenectady, New York
Have you ever been at a loss for words when meeting someone you admired? (An affliction that some of us have had upon meeting you!) Perhaps, when you met Mikhail Gorbachev?
NO - you just have to wait for their lead. After all, they are used to meeting people and setting the pace. Me too, but you know when to give the other person the upper hand!
William, North Carolina
Ian, are you really that hard to work with?
You would have to ask all the other people who I have worked with over the years. They still seem to be my friends so something must have been OK. But I am sure it wasn't an easy ride. I am a bit of a loner so maybe I don't give back very much.
Albert from Strasburg Pa.USA
My first exposure to your music was a Minstrel in the Gallery 8-track that I won in a poker game 35 years ago. The thing that attracted me instantly was the lyrics. I was born and raised mennonite which is a christian religious sect one notch more progressive and liberal than the amish. I immediately went out and purchased all of your albums - being a rebel against my rigid religious upbringing- my favorite was Aqualung. Your Isle of Wight version of My God, which you latter said was a bit over the top, was right on the money- my absolute favorite Jethro Tull performance.
Q1) What does your art mean to you? From everything you have performed-lyrics, music, a particular show or venue - What stirs the most passion within you?
Passion is often anger re-directed. And sometimes I don't even bother to re-direct it! I think that to perform in the worlds great Cathedrals is close to the most passion-inspiring environment. Maybe also to be in concert in Ephesus, Caesarea or other ancient amphitheatres can do the trick.
Q2) Since 1976 I have attended a great many concerts and I have noticed that the recorded music played at the end as the crowd is leaving generally starts with Louis Armstrong's "Wonderful World". Is there a particular reason for this?
Only that it is an uplifting, positive and nostalgic sound for people to leave the venue with. Probably more fitting than Iron Maiden and Run To The Hills...
Michael from New York City …….here again
Q1) In the past you've spoken about not being a fan of the concept of creating a "concept album", after which you placed tongue firmly in cheek and created one of my favorite albums of all, Thick As A Brick, followed by the equally brilliant A Passion Play. I miss the uniqueness of these 70s compositions (as do many other fans of Jethro Tull I know). You created a beautiful "concept" album with Divinities, so I know you can't be TOTALLY against the idea......Any chance for another Tullian "symphony", but this time with words?
Now, there's an idea. Leave it with me for a bit....
Q2) Would you consider releasing a special 40th Anniversary edition of A Passion Play as you did with This Was and Stand Up? If so, would you consider including ALL of the original Chateau D'isaster recordings along with it, in re-mastered form and in the original intended order? I just heard the introduction (Lifebeats) for the first time and think it's fantastic.
Steven Wilson, who did the remixes of Aqualung and Thick As A Brick is keen to do this. We will discuss with EMI in due course.
A couple of obscure questions!
Q1) In Scott Nollen’s book there is the following quote: ‘'And when I went living in the country, I really went living in the country, not just in a leafy suburb or a village, but actually on a working farm. So suddenly what had been part of my childhood, spending a lot of time outdoors and being in remote and rural places, was now a reality of day to day life.”
Where were these places, because I’d always thought that you lived in the Edinburgh suburbs?
In the leafy lanes of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire where we went to live in 1976 and ended up farming 800 acres. I was born and brought up in Scotland but left Edinburgh to go to Blackpool in England when I was 12. My parents decided to come too.
Q2) My second question is about Presbyterianism. Most writers assume that you were brought up in that church, but I’ve not seen it directly confirmed (as opposed to being asserted). Is that right? (I ask as one brought up as a Presbyterian myself and I’m interested in its impact on lots of aspects of life, not just on your music).
I went to church dutifully as a pre-teen at the Episcopalian Church in Edinburgh and then again in my teenage years in the Anglican tradition. I support the church very actively in my charity concerts each Christmas but I am not a Christian. At least, not with a capital C.
Many thanks for your music, which has been with me since my childhood in England (Sweet Dream my first purchased single) and on into my later teens in Scotland – so reversing your journey! (Scottish father and English mother too!)
Danielle from Virginia and NYC
Thank you for your wonderful music and words--I hope you are having lovely days!
Q1) I recently read the outline of 'War Child - A Musical Fantasy' on The Jethro Tull Board, and I was wondering whether you would ever revisit the idea of making the script into a musical production or film.
Not at this late stage although I sometimes fantasize about writing a movie script.
I know you shelved the project long ago, and if it's from frustration with the politics of filmmaking/Broadway, I can certainly understand, but, is there any chance you could be interested in making it now? Do you think perhaps with all the accessibility of filmmaking today you could put together what you really want?
While I'm very new to your music really, I get the impression you've made your choices very carefully as an artist to be true to yourself and to your craft.
Q2) Do you have any advice you'd like to share with musicians and artists on how treat their craft and careers to keep their experience authentic and alive and not lose their passion to some sort of middle road of confused values?
Don't give up the day job. The amateur musician can have fun, passion and fulfillment. You don't have to be paid to enjoy the creativity of the experience.
I was listening to Thick As a Brick recently, and it reminded me, in some ways, of T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland, both thematically and how it works on the listener. I love the way your lyrics disorient and get under the skin to make your point. You seem to have been channelling Elliot a bit, or at least a similar energy.
Don't know the man. I will check it out.
Q3) Would you consider yourself influenced by Eliot? What are your literary influences?
John Le Carre and Jack Kerouac.
Israel - Westminster, Carolina
Hi Ian - I have 3 questions.
Q1) Ian will you ever be doing a 70's lineup reunion tour or album or anything like that with Barriemore Barlow and Jeffrey Hammond or Glenn Cornick and Clive Bunker? I think it would be amazing, and something all fans would enjoy to watch.
Two of the four no longer play their instruments and turning the clock back doesn't work for me. Move on and touch new spirits. Life is too short to mess with the positive memories of past musical relationships.
Q2) What was John Glascock like? Was he a fun person to work with?
Yes - good man. Kind, generous and fun. But a person who liked to have a too-good time and didn't treat his body with respect. He died, the victim of a congenital heart defect, following surgery and attempted rehabilitation. Sad loss.
Q3) With years of working in the music business, is there someone that you worked with that really stood out among the others? In either a good or bad way?
Anoushka Shankar, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Anthony Jackson, Bill Evans - all good. The bad ones I prefer not to talk about. And I hope they don't talk about me.
Thanks for the response and I wish you luck, Ian.
15 Year Old Fan from the United States
David from Gaithersburg, MD.
Q1) What was the inspiration for the song "Down At The End Of Your Road"?
Middle class mediocrity. Which we all secretly aspire to!
Q2) Any memories you'd like share with us regarding the 1976 Shea Stadium show and/or any of the large stadium shows from the summer of 1976?
Getting showered by a bucket of piss as I was walking out to the stage.
Q3) Have you ever punched out anybody, or visa versa? (Shouldn't every rock star have a good fight story behind them?)
Not really. I am not a violent person although my temper is sometimes bad. And I am realistic. At my age and height, it might be a tad foolhardy....
Ezequiel Birman from Buenos Aires.
Q1) Is there any chance of releasing in any format the live performances with Chaurasia?
No, although I think I have a tape somewhere of one of our shows.
Q2) In later years you have been playing piccolo and bamboo flutes. Have you ever considered playing and/or recording with Alto flutes in G, bass flutes, or even the sub-contrabass?
PS. I prefer the sound of the sub-contrabass recorder than the sc flute, not quite portable though but impressive.
I have used the alto flute, the flute d'Amore and the G flute. As well as piccolo. But I like to keep to the concert flute in C when I am touring.
Q3) Do you think the way you compose or arrange songs have changed? If so, can you describe it?
It's very subconscious and to think too much about it might break the spell. Don't ask!
Louise, Los Angeles, CA
Why is it that you sold your Estate on Skye? It must have been so hard to leave such an incredibly beautiful place.
Time to move on. Such big and valuable wilderness lands are best kept within a charitable trust or national spheres. Private ownership is very suspect and only an arrogant fool would ever think he or she owned such a substantial piece of the planet.
James, Preston Lancashire England
"Cheap day return " is it true or just rumour that you were writing the song whilst waiting for the train on Preston platform and the train arrived and the song never got finished or did it ?
Oh, yes. It was finished. It was a short song because, for once, the train arrived on time.
Sparty from East Lansing, MI
There is a thread on The Jethro Tull Board devoted to Tull/Anderson cover artwork. I would like to expand upon that thread by asking you to comment on what might be the confluence of cover artwork imagery with lyrical and musical themes explored in any packaged body of work. For you, is this a conscious and deliberate process of integration, or would you say the creative processes for each proceed more or less independently? And finally, which of your albums do you think best captures or portrays this creative confluence, assuming such an animal even exists?
Yes - it is usualy a conscious decision to make the artwork reflect the lyrical and musical content of the record. Thick As A Brick is probably the best example of this done in an elaborate way.
Greetings Mr. Anderson,
I have been listening to Jethro Tull since 1975 and I don’t have the words to express my gratitude. You have created a mystical place for me for which I am very grateful to escape now and again.
What are your most significant literary influences? What are the stories or tales you read or heard as a young man that have influenced your life and lyrics?
Thank you always.
Le Carre and Kerouac, as mentioned earlier. Science fiction too which I read as a pubescent schoolboy.
Phil from California USA
I have been to over twenty Jethro Tull concerts over the years, including one that was in the Eastern part of France, and in all those years I have never heard you play "Teacher." It was obviously one of Tull's biggest hits in the USA, and they still actually play it on the radio, do you have an aversion to the song, did it have some deep personal meaning to you that is no longer relevant, or am I reading too much into it and you just don't like the song anymore? I would love to hear you do it live just once.
Not a hope, although some of the instrumental passages have featured in Tull concerts. Just not one of my favourite songs.
Tom McCarthy from Chicago
Any chance of getting Songs from the Wood issued in 5.1? I remember when I first bought the record thinking that there was something new and exciting about the way stereo was used. The sound seemed to create a space inside it - a classic headphones album then and I have always wondered whether that was a consideration back in '77, whether it represented a leap forward in the engineering process or what. Anyway, THAT album would make a convincing case for lobbying the wife to let me put more and larger speakers around the ol' kip, and turn things up to neighbor-invigorating levels. So, how about it?
Check out the 5.1 surround remixes of TAAB to be released in late 2012. And take your wife out to dinner. Buy the speakers later.
Paul from New Jersey
Having been one of the lucky people to attend one of the Crest of a Knave listening parties, I am aware that we didn't actually play a role in the actual song selection. But by any chance did our comments influence you or the record company in regard to singles, videos, live material, or even the future direction of Tull?
Thanks kindly for all the enjoyment throughout the years,
Yes they did. We looked carefully at the responses but they were mostly what we expected to hear.
Jeff from in NYC
Q1) Ian, I've always been curious about the origin of some of your more graphic and sexual antics involving your use of the flute as a prop. I know it was intended as a satire of the typical "rock star" image, but what was the origin of it?
Just on-stage naughtiness. Schoolboy fantasy and humour. Nothing to be proud of.
I don't think you did any of that sort of thing during Tull's first few years, so my question is how did it evolve? What first gave you the idea to do that onstage, and was it something that took awhile to get comfortable doing? And how does Shona feel about you continuing to do those things even now?
I get smacked on the wrist. Especially when I do it at home. My flute has to stay firmly in its case.
Q2) Speaking about things of a graphic and sexual nature, did you happen to read that Nick Cave book (The Death of Bunny Munro) that Paul and I gave after the show in Morristown New Jersey, when you were kind enough to give a recorded greeting to our board members? If so, what did you think of it?
I enjoyed it. But in a sad and macabre sort of way. Disturbing. But all good things should disturb the cozy equilibrium of life.