News Column

Bringing the past to the present

August 29, 2014

By Nathaniel Miller, Odessa American, Texas

Aug. 29--Musician Ian Anderson, front man for the legendary rock group Jethro Tull, never started out with the intention of playing in a band until he was much older.

In fact, Anderson, 67, originally wanted to be an artist and attended Blackpool College of Art from 1964 to 1966. Many of the songs Anderson said he writes begin with a still picture in his head -- which he paints himself -- and then goes forward with the song writing process.

So what makes a person quit art school and decide to join a band? It's because the guitar is a "more seductive tool than a paint brush and a pencil."

"We were bitten by the (music) bug and turned the bug on an unwitting public," Anderson said during a phone interview.

That bug has been with Anderson since 1968 and the formation of Jethro Tull, which will make a stop at the Wagner NoËl Performing Arts CenterSept. 24.

For Anderson and Jethro Tull, success has been abundant, with the band receiving recognition for their albums "Aqualung," "Songs from the Wood," and "Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die!" (a title he said is not an autobiographical statement).

The band won their first Grammy award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental in 1988, beating out Metallica, AC/DC, Iggy Pop and Jane's Addiction.

Still, Anderson said he does not consider himself or the band a "rock giant."

"Tull is just a lesser version of those rock giants whose music will go on to define the form in the history books of the future," he said.

Anderson, who also plays guitar, is probably more famous for his flute playing. The incorporation of the instrument was used because Anderson said it helped make the band stand out when they first started performing.

"At the time, which was in December of '67, I owned a flute for three months and didn't get a note out of it until the end of the calendar and managed to toot a few notes," he said. "It was a marketing point to stand apart. I've always wanted to be known as more than just a flute player."

The show will be a mixture of many things, Anderson said, starting off with the band playing Anderson's latest album "Homo Erraticus," followed by an intermission, and then capped off with the band playing favorite hits from Jethro Tull's music catalog.

Anderson's "Homo Erraticus" is much like many of Jethro Tull's album and is a concept album, he said. The story follows the life of fictional character Gerald Bostock, the main character in Jethro Tull's "Thick as a Brick" and Anderson's "Thick as a Brick 2."

"He's an alter ego, he's a nom de plume," Anderson said of the character. "He can express opinions and have ideas and ... and say ideas that are not mine."

Though he has never played in West Texas, Anderson said he was excited to play a new venue, saying it reminded him of the first time the band played in the United States.

And just like any show he takes part in, Anderson said people can expect to see him giving it all he has to put on a great show.

Anderson even joked about his age, saying the performances are a way for him to stay healthy.

"When you see me heaving and sweating ... just keep it in mind that you're seeing me at the gym ... but it (performing) beats the hell out of going to the gym," Anderson said.

--Contact Nathaniel Miller on twitter at @OAgovernment, on Facebook at OA Nathaniel Miller or call 432-333-7769


(c)2014 the Odessa American (Odessa, Texas)

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Source: Odessa American (TX)

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