Jethro Tull at the HexagonBy Linda Fort
March 10, 2010
Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull fame is afraid of flying – and seems to take an obsessive interest in air crashes and their causes.
He can wax lyrical on the misery of short haul flights in South America and Eastern Europe, air turbulence and the kind of passengers who cheer whenever something goes bump in the air.
For this reason, while he is looking forward to the musical experience of a forthcoming trip to Tiblisi in Georgia, he will find getting there a nightmare.
In fact, he has pretty much given up satisfying the demands of Jethro Tull fans in South America simply because of the horror of short haul flying in that area.
He said: “I fly so often that it is getting to the point where, statistically, I am almost bound to be in a crash one day.”
He wrote a song in 1975 called Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll, Too Young to Die which was inspired by a plane journey.
On other subjects, the singer and musician is more cheerful and a trip to The Hexagon in Reading on Friday holds no particular travel horrors.
He said: “The great thing about concerts is to try out new material on audiences. I always like to play two or three new numbers.”
He explained concerts generally consist of several new songs, the band’s chart hits – Living in the Past, Sweet Dreams and Witch’s Promise – and the songs which satisfy the Jethro Tull “nerds”.
“They’re often quite obscure numbers that might be 30 years old which we haven’t played for years,” he explains.
The band is generally described as “folk rock”, but Anderson – who plays flute, whistle, guitar and mandolin – is steeped in the acoustic tradition.
He said: “Despite the rock appendage I have always played acoustic music and that is where my interests lie.”
Anderson lives on a farm in south west England. There, he has a recording studio and pursues his hobbies which includes conserving 25 species of small wildcat and collecting clockwork watches and vintage Leica cameras.
He remains committed to playing live music although he believes he could almost have come to the end of the line for recording albums.
He said: “Albums are just no longer commercially viable. People don’t buy albums. In fact they don’t really listen to music any more in the way they used to. They use it as a backdrop – a way to shut out the world when they are driving or sitting on the train.
“They use is as a cloak to disguise, a cloak to protect them from what they find unendurable around them.”
Still with around 30 albums behind them, a Grammy and sales totalling
60 million, Jethro Tull has done pretty well when music fans were still “living in the past.”
Jethro Tull will also appear at the Wycombe Swan on Sunday. For details, call 01494 512000.