Hi James Thanks for doing this first off. I've really enjoyed videos of The Fancy Toys and your work with them. Is this sill ongoing?
Did your father encourage your musical interest or advise against doing it for a living? You seem to have a natural inclination for hitting things in time.......lessons? or did you just work at it on your own?
First off, I'd like to say thanks to James for taking part and being such a great sport with his answers, Secondly, read it carefully, tales of home, zombie outings, talking rocks, tear gas, crew nights, Simon Cowell bashing sprees and possibly the tentative confirmation of a release are contained herein.....and I wonder what did the Aqualung riff originally sound like?
The questions are made up from the board questions that Members have added over the last few months and a couple that were mailed to me via Facebook.
Hope they provide an appropriate dip into the growing up and life of Mr James Duncan Anderson.
Q1. I know you were very young at the time, probably 4 or 5 years old I would think, but do you have any memories of recording those backing vocals to Batteries Not Included, and if so, what do you remember and what was it like for you as a small child recording vocals for you dad's album?
Jeff, from New York
I vaguely remember the occasion. I think that I had been playing with a battery powered toy car. The batteries had run down and like many times before, I went to Dad to ask if he has any more batteries. I guess it was around the time they were out recording in the mobile recording truck outside the house and I was asked to go in a record the part.
Funny, but I actually remember being a little disappointed with the takes, even at that young an age. It all just seemed like a regular thing to do though.
I guess it is like the first time your plumber father asks you to come out on a job and help fit a tap.......
Q2. Good Morning James:
I can't get over how much you look like your Dad, Ian Anderson.
I have seen many videos with you on your Dad's shoulders or in a plane with him and your mom. I was wondering if he was a strict dad (when he was around) or did he let you get away with anything you wanted.
Both my sister and I would cause each other a lot of grief growing up. I wanted to go outside and play on motorbikes and she preferred to stay indoors and dress her dolls up!
Interacting usually involved some crying, shouting and getting into trouble! We were both for ever being told off and sent to our rooms (great for her but not so much for me!)
I would say that we had strict but fair parents. They did a good job bringing us up and I always say please and thank you.....
Q3. Hello James,
When you were growing up was the music of Jethro Tull something really you got into or was it just something that Dad did? Assuming you did get into it, would you ever pester your dad to sing stuff for you or play guitar for you, perhaps stuff that typically wasn't performed? Thanks for your time.
I remember hearing new Tull music in the car when Dad was trying out the mix outside of the studio so that it worked in spaces other than a music studio or headphones.
Later on, around the time of my first walkman, I had a few Tull tapes plus some Meatloaf, Led Zeppelin, Scottish bagpipe songs and talking children's books!
I was never one to ask for music to be played to me. I would rather get a bedtime story made up on the spot that incorporated real places that we knew as a family, mixed with some fantastical talking rocks.....
Q4. Hello James,
Hope you don´t mind this question, but why did you change your last name?
Also, when and where was the first time you hit the road with your father, and how was that?
Cheers, Daniel from Santiago, Chile.
I changed my last name to my middle name, only when I was doing drumming gigs. I know too many people who try to follow their parent's paths. For the most part, it opens doors to them but it is very hard for them to be taken seriously after that, even if they are accomplished and talented in their own right.
I remember going on a few bits of tours when I was younger, as a family. We would fly out to the last show or two then all stay behind and have 3 or 4 days of holiday. We picked some interesting places though!
Once, we were in Sicily where the promoter had sold too many tickets and the police wouldn't let any more folk in to the venue. There was a bit of a riot and the police decided to start tear gassing the people outside. Of course, some of this got inside and I remember the tour manager coming into the dressing rooms where we were all barricaded in (whilst the band were on stage), who ran over to the showers, fully clothed and started to take a shower whilst moaning and rubbing his eyes! I asked Mum why Baz was showering with all his clothes on still!
I also remember being stuck in an airport somewhere, with heavy snow coming down. I was glued to the window watching the snow ploughs go back and forth. As a 5 year old boy, I was happy to watch this a be delayed for hours!
Q5. 'No Lullaby' is an extraordinary song, one of my all time favourites. I'm guessing it is about you. Or is it ?
P.J. from Dublin.
I am not actually sure about that.
My sister could sleep through anything though and would often fall asleep in soundchecks. She needed no lullaby.
Q6. Hi James,
Have you had any odd encounters with nutty Jethro fans (I mean besides right now)? If so, please share.
Who eats the more spicy food, you or yer pops?
What kind of music do you listen to?
Mac or PC?
Do you have any favourite visual artists?
It's me, photographer Mark Colman, now in glorious Portland Oregon.
How are you doing? Portland is a far cry for East LA!
I have met many crazy fans, some have been downright weird but mostly, Tull fans are a great bunch of people.
There have been restraining orders against people. Men dressed as Ian getting in backstage and wondering around with a flute – whilst the band are on stage playing! People stopping me and my sister to take photos of us whilst we were 12 and 13.
But with all of that, fans have been so kind, supportive, considerate and generous. Barely a show goes by when there are not gifts being left at the stage door. People standing in all kinds of weather to tell the band how much they enjoyed the show. Drinks being bought at the local bar......... I miss touring!
One good story that I recall was from around 1989 when my father and I were on the ferry from Kyle of Lochalsh to Kyleakin and 3 Italian men came up to us saying in broken English and pointing at Ian - “You in a our car.........You in our car” It might have seemed like an abduction of some sorts but after a short walk to their battered Fiat, they had Rock Island playing on their car stereo.
I eat some spicy food but Dad takes the biscuit with Habanero!
I listen to all sorts of music. As long as there is no auto-tune across it. I hate that sound and mostly it is there to cover the inadequacies of the singers who have gained their position through television shows.
I'm now on Macs as too many PCs died for one reason or another. I got fed up with going from brand to brand.
I have many favoured artists. Mostly they are British contemporary artists like Ian Davenport, Julian Opie, Boo Riston, Gilbert and Georg, Rachel Howard, etc. I am a fan of Picasso, Jean DeBuffet and Matisse.
Q7. Hi James,
I wonder if you have a different view than your old man about the state of the music industry?
Ian has stated making albums isn't viable anymore, do you agree?
And I must ask, do you have any desire to be more involved in your father’s music either now or in the future?
And finally, did you always want to be a musician
(Posted for Sandra) Hi Sandra.
I think that I probably had more experience with the way the industry had evolved as I started a band a few years ago which cost a a fair bit of money to get running. We made a little bit of money from physical sales and online downloads but the costs involved in recording, marketing and touring, far exceeded what we made. At that point, I would have paid for a song to be on a TV ad, just for the marketing value. A far cry from what was happening in the 80s and 90s. I ended up taking the view that people downloading my songs for free had to be some kind of promotion and that we might then be able to tour. After all, you can't illegally download a concert experience – although you could stand outside the venue with you ear pressed to the emergency exit!
If Ian has mentioned that making albums is not so viable, I can understand. When it comes down to it, making an album is more about the personal reward over financial these days. Even doing the recording in a home studio and mixing much of it yourself, there are huge costs involved. Few record companies are going to advance these costs when they could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
I have 'retired' from playing with Dad and only occasionally play with other artists. I had always wanted to be involved with music, from and early age. I am just as happy to organise the shows for Tull, Ian and other bands with only the occasional trip out to shows to make sure they are going well. I doubt that I would get much more involved although I am rough mixing the audio from the shows in Reykjavik, recorded for the upcoming TAAB 1&2 DVD release. [ Quizz's emoticon]
Q8. I´d like to know how you perceive music nowadays, in terms of creativity, concerts, touring and business.
I have answered some of that above. A lot of the music that I hear on the radio or through searching for innovative new bands online has enough creativity and originality to keep me interested. It's nothing like the 60s and 70s (and even the 80s) but it's enough. There is sadly, a whole load of music, particularly in the UK, that is manufactured by smart producers and writers who know what will sell in the charts. The artists are often not the creative or even talented types and I think this is wrong. Would we accept that in the surgical theatre or even the football field. Why does music have to suffer the dumbing down?
A lot of the music industry is run just as that; an business. It therefore directs the way in which writing, recording, producing and putting on shows is done. It's about the sales. Simon Cowell is a smart guy – but he's loathsome and I think there's quite a few true musicians out there who would wait in line to take a pop at him, given the chance. [Quizz's note - James, you can count me in, there's quite a few ordinary non-musician folk who'd be happy to join the queue to thump him as well]
Q9. Hello James;
Like others, my curiosity is about you and your sister's early years. Do you recall when it was that you figured out that your Dad was a famous musician? Was it tough having him away from home so often? Was your interest in music always the drums or did you start with a different instrument? Lastly it has been a long time since Tull (or your Dad) has visited Houston. I met you, Lucia and your Dad then. When can we expect a show in Houston again? Best wishes for a successful career. Be well, Bobbo Houston, Tx
Again, I don't think that the realisation of Dad being a famous musician was a dramatic revelation. He went out to work and came home again. Just like anyone else. It's just that rather than clocking out at 5pm, he was clocking in and staying out for 3 weeks!
If you have a friend, spouse or parent who is professionally good at something, it's not necessarily obvious as you are rarely there to witness it. It usually takes some time before you might meet their work colleagues or read about their achievements to fully appreciate just how highly regarded they are in their field.
I started playing drums when I was about 12. It seemed like a fun thing to do as they were big and loud! I played guitar from 13 bit was always better on the tubs.
Ian was just in Houston!
Q10. Hello James
Like Bobbo, I live in the Houston, TX area. I don't really have a question for you but I just wanted to say that I think it's really cool how you became involved with the Tull Tours.
In 2003 when the band played at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands, I nearly had a collision with you in the aisle as you were walking from the stage area back up to the sound and light boards...I was really surprised to have seen you sort of mingling out in the crowd like that and really wanted to chat, but figured you were much too busy at that point...some 15 or 20 minutes before showtime.
Anyways...good luck to you in your personal endeavors and hopefully we will see you guys back in The Woodlands sometime down the road.
Larry Curtis Houston, TX
Yeah – I liked to walk around the auditorium before getting changed into stage gear.
I have seen many shows from the back of venues and I know what it is like to watch the venue fill up and sense the excitement in the crowd.
Being on the stage with lights in your eyes and in-ear monitoring somehow makes you slightly at distance to what's going on in the room sometimes.
Q11. Hi James,
Thanks for taking time to answer all our questions, when you toured with Tull, your dad’s band, did you find it strange to play certain drum passages that have been played (and made famous) by such fine drummers past and present especially Doane's, since he is still with Tull. Thanks good luck with the Toys...
Playing some of Barrie's, Clive's and Doane's parts has always been interesting. Most of the Tull shows have involved songs which have been played by all of the Tull drummers at some point and they have put their own interpretation into the parts. Taking a song from Aqualung and playing it on stage, I would listen to how all of them played it and would use this as the basis to play my part.
Q12. Hello James, and thank you for being a part of The Jethro Tull Board (shameless plug!).
I'd like to know how you met Mickaël, and how the two of you came about this truly unique style of music that is The Fancy Toys?
And I'll have you know that Gypsy Eyes got quite a bit of stereo time at my household this past summer!
Cheers, Paul from Jersey Thanks Paul.
Mickael answered an ad that some friends and I had placed for a guitarist in a funk covers band. We had two replies.
They both turned up for the audition and the other guy was pretty rubbish so we ended up with this French guy who could barely speak English!
A few years later, we decided to put together an original band. Mickael had come up with some of the music before we started working together and we tailored it to work as a duo. We added a couple of new songs which came about quite quickly and started to gig around London. In the end, we just weren't getting the record company interest so we have put it on hold.
Mickael is currently living in Rio, going through a sex change – or something like that!
Q13. Hello James!
I'm Blue, the Crazy Cat Lady in West Conshohocken, PA (just west of Philadelphia).
I understand why you changed your name but I do have a question about your childhood. There were people who thought my daughter, about your age, would be cat box trained before she was ever potty trained and I have now come to understand that her main fear in childhood was not a monster under the bed but getting hairball treatment smeared on her knuckles along with the rest of the cats.
So, what was life like for you growing up with a 'Crazy Cat Lady" for a Father?
Did you ever get absent-mindedly patted on the head or scratched behind the ears as a child and has it left any deep-seated psychological scars? (grin)
I think I could have done with a few flea treatments as a youngster. We lived on a farm and always had stray kittens in the kitchen.
As a family, we always had around 4 cats in the house. They have their own personalities and were all allowed out. Some were in more often, lounging around the kitchen and others would spend most of their time outside hunting. I think that you could reflect these individual natures in our family to some extent!
Q14. Hello James,
How would your father react if you brought your new girlfriend home to dinner, and it turned out to be Dee Palmer?
James I would hope that on date 3 or 4, I would have noticed!
Q15. You seem to dabble in many trades, musician, sculptor, designer, manager, webmaster and no doubt a lot more, what is your main focus and what inspires you in your music and design work?
Pat Kent UK
Hi Pat. I have a fairly short attention span towards my output but as long as I am being creative and doing some kind of business, I am always happy.
I am a little envious of those folk who have 100% focus on just the one thing. They stand the chance of being totally amazing at it for a long time.
Q16. Hi, James
Is it true that you are going to appear with your bro-in-law Andrew Lincoln in the next season of The Walking Dead? If so, will it be for one episode or more than one?
I am really looking forward to Season 2. I did not follow the first season initially, but then the entire six episodes were re-run in the space of two or three nights, which I happened upon by accident, so I tuned in just for curiousity sake and the Tull connection of Ian's son-in-law being in the lead role.
I usually hate zombie movies, so I wasn't really expecting to stick with it, but it completely hooked me after just ten or fifteen minutes. I proceeded to watch all the episodes, staying up until 1:00 a.m. on those nights because it was so well-done. Better, in fact, than a lot of major science fiction movies.
Jeff (from New York)
I did indeed star (read extra) in an episode of The Walking Dead.
I turned up at 4am to get into costume and makeup then hit the set at 7am to start the filming. We finished at 8pm. I didn't get paid as I was doing it for the experience but the extras that did get paid were only earning $80 for the day. You have to love that kind of thing to do it.
I did the Monday but both the Monday and the Tuesday filming ended up on the cutting room floor as it apparently didn't quite work! I'm sure that there is a bill in the post from AMC!
Q 17. Hi, James
I have three more questions:
1) What was it like growing up in such a talented and creative family? I imagine that there were music and acting lessons, family trips to museums, attendance at the theatre, arts and crafts, and a whole lot of reading. Am I right?
2) How did other kids react to you being the son of a famous rock performer? Where kids your age Tull fans? Did everyone want to be your friend? Was there also some ribbing about your dad prancing around in tights doing unspeakable things with a flute?
3) When you were growing up, did you ever overhear Ian singing in the shower, humming, whistling, etc.? If so, was that something he regularly did? Were they his own songs, or someone else's (and if so, whose), or were they both?
Jeff, from New York
I think we had the regular fill of creative outings. I was at a good school that organised its own trips to art galleries in London and we had plenty of theatrical productions going on at school.
Most other kids wouldn't have known who Jethro Tull were so there wasn't much reaction from them. Teachers were more impressed – but I still got detentions! I certainly had a few comments about Dad and his codpiece but luckily I was at school before we all had laptops and Youtube so the ribbing wasn't too bad.
For as long as I remember, there had always been a recording studio in the house so this was Ian's domain. He would be creative there or whilst out on tour so I really didn't hear much of the writing process. Although, I did hear him working on the Aqualung riff and suggested he changed it a little, which thankfully he did..... (that's a joke – I wasn't born).
Q18. Hello James,
Has it ever entered your mind that sometime in the future you will honour your father's music such as Dweezil Zappa has done with his father’s?
I noticed after some of the Rubbing Elbows show that you would run off with others more your age, did you meet some interesting young fans over during your excursions state side?
And the last question I have is : Do you have a favourite drum set other than DW in your sets to recreate the old classic rock melodies so far?
Mike in Florida, USA
I really wouldn't want devote my life to playing someone else's music. Be it as Sting's drummer or fronting a Tull tribute act. I help out in my own way but there is plenty out there for me to do in my own way.
I have always enjoyed touring in the States. Fans have been so warm and welcoming. Some of the band and crew were more up for getting a pint after the show so I would gravitate towards them as drinking buddies. I have had good relationships with nearly all Tull/IA band and crew which is handy when you spend 23 hours a day with them and sleep 18 inches from at least 3 of them on the tour bus!
I started with Premier drums. DW offered me a US kit at a price which was far better than Premier could get one to me. I am not too snobby about kits but have never liked the hardware on Pearl so tended to keep clear of them.
Q19. From Gerry Louisville, KY USA
Hi James, I've really enjoyed the Fancy Toys recordings. Will there be any new songs in the near future?
Thanks, Keep up the good work,
As mentioned, Mickael and I decided to take a break from the touring side of the FT. We only had success in Iceland which we could hit every 6 months but that's not enough to maintain a working band.
He and I still send each other recordings to listen to and work upon. There is nothing in the pipeline for a release but you never know..... Thanks for enjoying the FT stuff.
Q20. From: William King, NC
James, will you ever play with Tull again?
I would be happy to jump in for a tour or recording if Ian needed a drummer but I had done quite a few years of working with Dad on the road, in one capacity or other and so made a decision to stay back in London to concentrate on the business side of things and my own creative ideas.
Q21. Hi James,
Can you talk a little about how Jethro Tull's drummers affected your own playing style?
I mentioned some of that above but I had always noted the differing styles of Clive, Barrie and Doane in particular.
These were the cornerstones of approaching the Tull work but whilst I was learning drums, I would play along with Guns N Roses tracks so Matt Sorum would have been an early influence on style.
Q22. Hi James First off, Thanks for doing this. I've really enjoyed videos of The Fancy Toys and your work with them. Is this sill ongoing?
Did your father encourage your musical interest or advise against doing it for a living? You seem to have a natural inclination for hitting things in time.......lessons? or did you just work at it on your own?
Good Luck to you!
My father had always encouraged me to try different things, be it food, sports, motorbikes or music.
I was naturally drawn towards guitar and drums being huge ingredients in modern electric music. There were some drum lessons but I stopped them pretty quickly because practising paradiddles was dull!
My guitar teacher had a better approach and we learn Soundgarden songs so that I could then play them with a band. That made much more sense to me – to learn techniques through actual group playing and performing.
Q23. Hello James,
I saw you play in Durham, N.C. November 2003 with the Rubbing Elbows tour.
Question: When you aren't playing at a gig, what is your favourite activity?
Question: What drummer would you consider your earliest inspiration?
Question: Do you plan on being part of the "TAAB 2" tour at some point?
Question: What is your favorite Ale or Beer?
Jim from Tryon, North Carolina
If I am not playing a gig, I would next like to be building something.
Matt Sorum would be the earliest practical inspiration as I played his parts for hours on a drum kit with headphones on.
I have worked on the TAAB tour a fair bit, behind the scenes. I did all of the video work and even lent my naked bottom for the back cover – it may have a star over it though in the more sensitive territories in the world.
I don't actually know what my favourite beer is. I thought it was Heineken for a while but I have had some not-so-nice ones recently. Probably an Icelandic beer........ Viking, Gull or Thule.
You obviously have a great love of visual art as well as music, can you tell us a bit about what influences or inspires you?
I like to be challenged by what I listen to or look at. We all have the gift of senses but we also have brains so when these are stimulated together, for me, I receive the greatest reward.
I was recently in India, driving an old Royal Enfield motorbike through the Himalayas. It was beautiful but I didn't fully appreciate my surroundings until I almost went off the edge of a dodgy road and I understood the context of it all.
I have just seen that the board intend to auction a signed copy of TaaB for the disaster relief fund, it is great that Ian and the band have offered this, my question is, who decides which causes to support, is it just down to Ian or do others have a say? Would Ian and the band consider doing a benefit concert for the Hurricane Sandy as he did for the victims of Katrina?
Nobby from the Netherlands [Via FB]
Hi Nobby. It all depends on timing, locations, personal feelings, etc. In the past, there have been occasions where a show has been cancelled or postponed due to unforeseen circumstances. We did a benefit show in Shreveport, LA in 2005 because the venue we were meant to play in Mississippi was destroyed. Tull were on tour and able to schedule in the show to support the victims. Interestingly, the American crew in Shreveport were less giving and wanted paying for turning up.
When Ian was in India at the time of the Mumbai bombings, the shows was again cancelled but they all took the time to play it, tagged on to the end of the tour. The money raised here was used to buy and operate a city ambulance.
Ian has often donated his share of the profits to charities, dealing with a wide range of support to environment, people and animals. It is up to other band members to support whatever they would like but on some occasions, they have all done benefit shows once an area for support has been identified.
I don't know if there were any requests for a show after Sandy but they had already played the shows in the area and were coming to the end of the tour with commitments back in the UK.
Q26. Have you been to see any of Martin’s solo shows recently? Have you fancied sitting in on a few tracks with the maestro?
In your view will Tull, with Martin on guitar, ever be a viable proposition as a live or studio band again?
Leif from GL [via FB] Hi Leif. I can see no reason why Martin wouldn't play shows with Ian under the Tull banner unless he didn't want to. Whilst there are lots of offers that come in for Jethro Tull to play biker festivals, etc. Ian is currently midway though the Thick as a Brick tour which will take his live shows up to the end of 2013. This tour in highly polished now and it is not so easy to change sets around to cover the 'best of' show that a festival crowd would want. Nor are they going to sit through 100 minutes of Thick as a Brick without getting restless.
The TAAB tour works best with the idea of theatre in mind. Seated indoor venues are the most suitable and that is what we try to concentrate on. There might be some larger venues that will come in to play in 2013 but even if they are outdoor, they will be seated shows.
Many, many thanks to James for providing an honest and humourous response to The Board's member's questions.