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Interview with Ian Anderson [JETHRO TULL]
Conducted by: Almir Figueiredo (Fanzmosis Total Rock Site!)
Translation, English and Portuguese: Débora Figueiredo
Questions and Answers:
Fanzmosis) To refute the criticism and overcome the memorable "Aqualung" (beloved by Brazilian fans until today) in 1972, you recorded "Thick As A Brick" one of the most iconic albums of the band's career and one of the most remarkable in the history of rock.
"Thick as a Brick" was the first album of Jethro Tull to reach the No. 1 on both sides of the Atlantic. What made this album so popular?
Ian Anderson) It was a brave conceptual piece and meant to be a bit of a parody of the Prog Rock Concept Album genre as displayed by Genesis, Yes, ELP etc. People liked the whimsical fantasy, surreal elements, I suppose. It was performed in 1972 for a UK tour, a couple of shows in Europe and two tours in the USA. Not quite in its entirety but nearly. Now, 40 years later, we really do the whole thing just as it was recorded. We all spent private time preparing the music long before the tours started so we knew the music pretty well (and the sequel TAAB2) before we got together in the rehearsal studio. And then we spent 10 days rehearsing all the music and the cues for video and lighting. Hard work and training the memory as well as the fingers!
Fanzmosis) After several negatives for a continuation of the classic 1972 album, forty years later you have accepted the challenge of making a sequel about Gerald. What made you change your mind?
Ian Anderson) Having been asked many times over the years to make a sequel to TAAB, I finally got a good idea 39 years later, which would avoid nostalgia and bring the character of Gerald Bostock into the current age.
Fanzmosis) The saga of the poet and intellectual boy, Gerald Bostock, wins now in its second part a more dramatic shade. Why did you give 5 options about what had happened to him as an adult?
Ian Anderson) The various possibilities of what might have become of him are, indeed, the subject of the album. Parallel possibilities and options – as can happen to all of us in life. Decisions to be made and the chance intervention of fate. He would have made decisions, as we all do. I did and I often wonder what life would be like today if I had become a policeman. Or a rocket scientist...
Fanzmosis) The new album has interesting arrangements and really good songs, like "Bets Banker, Banker Wins", "Wootton Bassett Town" and the long and wonderful "A Change Of Horses" - which summarizes all the elements of high-quality rock that Jethro Tull do. You reissued some parts of this sequence. What was the process for writing it?
Ian Anderson) Every day for 10 days - just as I did the original - in Jan 2011. I finished off the arrangements in February. Of course the recording methods are different and the live staging uses technology that did not exist in the 70s. But the core musical instruments are the same. The Hammond organ, the Gibson Les Paul guitar. The Fender Jazz bass. And, of course my flute and acoustic guitar. And the extensive use of audio-visual content from the media server we take with us makes for a more entertaining use of video and lighting effects. I had to incorporate those ideas into the writing, almost from the beginning.
Fanzmosis) Do you define "Thick As A Brick 1 & 2" and "TAAB2" as an opera rock?
Ian Anderson) No - it is more like a gently theatrical version of a rock concert. But if you like the idea of Rock Opera - count me in!
Fanzmosis) The album was released in April 2012. Could you tell if the record label plan on distributing an edition of the CD and DVD for fans in South America?
Ian Anderson) EMI released the DVD version and the vinyl boxed set version in most countries so I am surprised if not in Latin America. Best order through Amazon, then.
Fanzmosis) Fans are wondering, "Why not Jethro Tull?". Just as in the first version, the composition of TAAB2 are yours. What did you introduce the sequence as a solo project and not a Jethro Tull’s project?
Ian Anderson) I tend to use the "Jethro Tull" name these days for generic best-of Tull tours, featuring Martin Barre as guitarist if he wants to do them. For project tours like orchestral, string quartet, acoustic, Christmas shows - or the TAAB tours - I use my own name. But, from where I am standing, on the stage, they are all the same - whatever it says on the ticket.
Fanzmosis) How was the selection of the musicians for this project and tour?
Ian Anderson) Same guys who have played with me - either as Tull or my own-name tours for the last 10 years.
Fanzmosis) Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson - TAAB World Tour 2013 dates include Japan, South America, Europe, UK, USA and Canada. What was your reaction when you heard that the band will do four shows in Brazil?
Ian Anderson) Well - I am the guy who wrote to the promoter offering our services in 2013. I make the decisions.
Fanzmosis) The tour in South America will include performances of the two albums. "Thick As A Brick 1 & 2" in its entirety and its sequel "TAAB 2: Whatever Happened to Gerald Bostock?". How will be the shows in Brazil?
Ian Anderson) We play both albums exactly as they were recorded and take a 15 minute intermission between to the two halves of the show. With the various video links and sections, that means just over two and a half hours to spend in my company. So bring a soft cushion to sit on and some warm soup and sandwiches. It's a long movie..
Fanzmosis) On August 6, 1988, from the bleachers of the Ginásio Ibirapuera in SP I first saw Ian Anderson, "owner, leader and the symbol of Tull" and his sidekick, the guitarist Martin Barre. The Jethro Tull celebrated a 20-years career and had a show with almost 2 hours. After countless hits, a solo with "The Girl from Ipanema" on Mr. Anderson’s flute and then pointed to Mr. Martin start the riff of "Aqualung". The feeling of that show was immortalized in my mind. Do you intend to present some surprise for your Brazilian fans?
Ian Anderson) Yes - I might show you my tits. Unfortunately - like Steven Tyler - I have some. well - two of them. Size 38A.
Fanzmosis) Like the album itself expresses, change is inevitable. How would you describe a future for Jethro Tull? In future there is the possibility of a reunion with Martin and friends?
Ian Anderson) Anything is possible. But at the moment, my musical life is mapped out until the end of 2015. I have almost finished the writing for a new album project to be recorded at the end of this year and released in 2014. Then, off we go again! Gerald Bostock returns with his new, big idea. More progressive rock concept albums! Just what the world needs! Doesn't it? Perhaps it is just my imagination.
Fanzmosis) Would you like to leave a message to Brazilian and Latin America fans?
Ian Anderson) How are you? Well, I hope. I miss you all since we last met but I am not very well. I have been robbed in Belarus and lost my passport and my credit cards. Please wire some money to the bank account of Gerald Bostock, The Old Rectory, Mulberry Lane, St Cleve, UK. Don't forget to give your bank account details and password.
Thank you for participating in this interview, I hope to be with you in Brazil.
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