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CHRYSALIS PRESS RELEASE
Ian Anderson talks about the new Jethro Tull album 'The Broadsword And The Beast', the decision to use a producer for the first time, and the two new band members, Gerry Conway (drums) and Peter-John Vettese (keyboards).
There is always that dilemma when you have been playing for a number of years, and you have become recognised for certain stylistic traits and a way of doing things, to give people what they expect musically and lyrically from Jethro Tull without compromising the fact that as a musician you also have an obligation to yourself not to stand still. So making a new Jethro Tull album is applying yourself to not disappointing your fans and at the same time giving them something new and moving in a new direction.
We have used a producer for the first time on this album. One of the reasons we wanted a producer was to have someone else take some of the responsibility of putting the public face on the music by giving it that degree of identity that alluded to the traditional idea of what Jethro Tull should be, without letting it become repetitive. The idea of working with a producer is a very old one, it started as far back as 1970-71, when we had already made two or three albums and thought a producer might help us to make better albums. At the time, one well known producer who we went to for advice advised me that since I was doing alright by myself I should carry on, and whatever problems there were, I should try to solve myself rather than ask someone else to help me out. So I carried on with the benefit of that advice for a bit longer, and about three years ago started discussing with the record company ideas for a producer to work with the band.
After meeting with, and discussing the project with a few people, and a couple of false starts, we finally started work, relatively late in terms of meeting this particular album deadline, with Paul Samwell-Smith. He is someone we found we could work with comfortably, who fitted in as the member s of the group do with each other, and who also has a good technical background in terms of recording, as well as a musical background, since he was a professional musician before he became a producer.
Although it took a long time to find the right producer and to actually embark on this project, which was by then overdue - we should have had this album done a year ago - I am glad we waited and I am glad we found someone who was able to do the right job. It's been a profitable experience for us, and we hope our fans will think it has been worth the wait.
All of us have some kind of private fear that we don't like to talk about, and this song is about those fears. When I was a boy growing up in Scotland, we called anything that was particularly nasty that we didn't like a Beastie.
A song about people who shy away from physical contact. The word 'clasp' is used in the sense of a handshake, and the song is just exploring some of the ideas and attitudes behind the embrace of shaking hands, and saying wouldn't it be amusing and perhaps a little profitable to go up to a complete stranger and shake hands with him and say, "Hello, how are you, pleased to meet you." Ironically the handshake, when it is offered, is very often a forced gesture, far removed from its origin which was a way of demonstrating that you had no weapon in your hand and that you were offering your open hand to someone in peace.
Fallen On Hard Times
This song is not meant to be a political statement, but merely expresses the disillusionment that most people feel at some time or other with our political masters. The tune is a Scottish folk melody in essence, but it is given a slightly funky rock 'n' roll treatment which gives it a light-hearted feel.
This song came about after witnessing several couples who were going through a bad patch with their relationships, taking delight in showing each other up in public. I'm sure we've all come across them in some sort of social gathering; they revel in digging up the dirt in front of an audience.
Slow Marching Band
I don't write many songs about human relationships in the boy/girl context, but this is one that deals with the sadness of parting. But I hope it contains a hint of optimism!
Set in historical times, lyrically as well as musically, this song is about a man's responsibility to protect the family unit.
A song about a girl in an unrewarding job who fantasises about a more romantic, ideal sort of existence, but she still has to face the reality of catching the train to work in the morning.
Watching Me, Watching You
The dilemma of people in the public eye! A song about the claustrophobic feeling of being watched all the time.
This song is deliberately ambiguous. It could be about a boat, or it could be about a girl, but since ships and boats are always female, it seems quite a nice fitting sort of analogy.
A closing song — perhaps 'au revoir' or 'auf wiedersehen' would be appropriate!
When the 'A' tour ended early in 1981, the two temporary members left the band and have been replaced by Gerry Conway (drums) and Peter-John Vettese (keyboards).
We have known Gerry since the very first dates that Jethro Tull played. At that time he was in a band called Election and we bumped into him on and off for years. He nearly joined us for a temporary spell back in 1974 when Barrie, who was our drummer, thought he wouldn't be able to tour for a while. We contacted Gerry to see if he could deputise for that period of time because we were familiar with him, he was a nice guy and we knew his ability as a drummer. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to do it because of other commitments. We ran into Gerry again last year in Los Angeles when he was coming to the end of a stint with the band he was working with, and we were looking for another drummer. Gerry's availability coincided with our needs. So that's really how we came to approach him and ask him to come back to England and try out with Jethro Tull.
We have always considered Gerry to be a tasteful drummer. He never overplays or indulges in some of the excesses for which drummers can be notorious. He concentrates on the essential part of the drumming and decorates only when there is a real need for it. Gerry has a lot of consideration for the music, and his forte is that of being a musical drummer in that he plays musical phrases on the drums but he doesn't think purely in percussion terms. So that, combined with his ability to play simple straightforward rhythms, and not to get in the way of everything else, makes him an ideal rock drummer.
Dave Pegg and Gerry have an obvious compatibility because they have worked together on sessions over the years, and they know each other well. Their roots are similar, in as much as they have both been noted for playing with bands that were the rock offshoots from the folk movement. Since there is a part of that in Jethro Tull's music as well, they work well together.
When we set out to find a new keyboard player we wanted someone who could integrate quickly into the band. Therefore, we needed to find someone who had a basic classical piano technique, but who was also familiar with the art in terms of synthesiser music and the current development in keyboard technology, and who could also contribute musically to the group. We were lucky in finding Peter Vettese because he has all the qualifications we were looking for. Before joining Jethro Tull, Peter had been playing with a Scottish band called R.A.F. He has a flamboyant and oddball personality, but he has quickly become great chums with everyone in the band, and has very much integrated into the musical, as well as the social fabric of Jethro Tull.
Buckinghamshire — March 1982