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October 1971


Mention the group Jethro Tull and nine out of ten people will say Ian Anderson. Because of his stage personality, he's the one audiences remember. But spare a thought for the other members - Martin Barre for instance.

Martin, 24, replaced Mick Abrahams with the group and has been with them since their record album, Stand Up. His French grandfather played violin, but apart from that nobody else in his family were musicians.

"I started playing guitar when I was 15," Martin recalled. "In those days it was just a hobby and I used to play with various groups in the local youth club. At 17, I learnt flute and had a good teacher. It was good for me because on another instrument, I really got to know about things. On guitar, I tended to learn a load of clichés without really knowing what the instrument was about. I turned pro when I was about 20 and joined Gesthemane which was a blues band in London. When I joined Jethro, I had to concentrate on the guitar playing and had to learn to push myself because before that I was a lazy bum musician, getting pissed and doing about two gigs a week! I was dissatisfied with my guitar playing ability for the first year with Jethro, but now I have the confidence to play what I feel."

Like so many other guitarists, Martin was interested in Eric Clapton because of his technique, feeling and phrasing. But on the whole, he's more interested in groups than individual performers.

"I like King Crimson, Yes, and the American group Mountain," he admitted. "At the moment, I find classical music excites me more than anything else. I like Dvorak, Telemann and Vivaldi who, I suppose, were the pop composers of their time but their music endures."

Jethro Tull have completed one side of their next album and will be recording the other side before Christmas.

"It's all material written by Ian and one side is non-stop music. There's a theme which develops into different time signatures and employs different combinations of instruments for the different parts. Ian plays violin on some parts and Jeffrey plays cello. That is if he learns it in time!"

Martin plays mainly guitar although he's just acquired a lute which he's tuned like a guitar. For studio work he uses a Fender guitar, but on stage uses a Les Paul Standard through Hi-Watt amps.

"I've also got an old Strat but can't handle it on stage," admitted Martin. "I use it just for fiddling about with!"