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21 February 1970


It sounds impossible, but there must be someone somewhere who actually believes Jimmy Savile and other disc-jockeys when they announce "Mr. Jethro Tull" on TV and radio.

Admittedly, if 'Top Of The Pops' is the only place you've seen them you might be forgiven for thinking Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull were the same person. But Jethro Tull aren't worried by these merry cracks, and, to prove they are more than one voice, have brought lead guitarist Martin Barre out from the shadows to face the interviewers' music!

"It's a strange sensation talking to people after being silent for so long," he says brightly. "And quite often it's difficult to know just what to say. The thing I know about most is the group's music and my music, and that is very difficult to put into words."

An ominous way to open a conversation, but as it happens, quite unfounded. For Martin Barre is as sensitive and intelligent a man as is his noted leader.

And what about his leader? Will his secret marriage have a noticeable effect on him and sober him outwardly?

"Ian is only an extrovert on stage — what he does at home is not extroverted. Marriage is going to suit him and I know he'll settle down well. Financially, the future is pretty secure for all of us now, and the thought of marriage definitely appeals to me too, although as yet I haven't anyone particular in mind. Glenn Cornick will be next — he's marrying in about a month's time."

Martin and Ian are close friends; together they write all the group's material and have definite ideas about the musical future of Jethro Tull.

"As far as I'm concerned I'm in Jethro Tull because I enjoy our music and I enjoy what we're doing. Money was a big thing at first but now I tend to take it for granted and it's lost its meaning.

"Money is not a reason for our doing anything — if I didn't enjoy what I was playing I would leave, and no amount of money could convince me otherwise.

"Visually Ian is going to have to calm down. I know he says what he does on stage is unrehearsed and just happens, but he's got it worked out in his mind. It's exhausting for me just standing there playing; for Ian every song must be like running the 100 yards flat-out, and if he carries on like that he'll never survive.

"Musically we realised at the end of the last British tour that our sound was not tight enough for our own satisfaction. We realised how much better it would be if we could augment the group with another guitarist. So on the next tour, and on our next LP Benefits, Ian will be playing lead guitar more often than flute.

"We want to improve all the time, and, besides, we're in the unfortunate position of not being able to stand still. The eyes of the world are on us; consequently everything we do has got to be that much better than the last.

"We're very open to criticism, and I personally will be glad when I've reached the position of being able to do just what I like — and hang the critics!

"Ian comes in for a lot of knocks, about having sold out, about putting showmanship before music and other things. But actually Ian is ten times more serious about his music and the music of the group than many of his contemporaries."

About the attitude of fellow progressives like Led Zeppelin or Ten Years After refusing to appear on 'Top Of The Pops' Martin says:

"I think they would appear if they felt they could make a single which would be representative of their music. But then, there is really no reason why they can't make a representative single — numbers don't have to be 10 minutes long to be progressive!

"Personally I don't much like 'Top Of The Pops' and I can't stand having to mime to our records. It makes me feel completely useless, like a cardboard cut-out, and I can't take it seriously. But on the other hand I've always been very satisfied with our singles and realise the importance of TV shows like this.

"Jimmy Savile saying 'Mr. Jethro Tull' is just a laugh to us. It doesn't worry us in the least — the people who know us know it's not true and those who believe it will discover differently when they see us in concert."

And unfortunately that will not be until late this year or early next, for 1970 is the year of the Big Push on America by Jethro Tull.

"We want to get really well known over there, so we're doing at least two major tours before the summer.

"Besides, we want to have a completely new act to present to Britain, and although we're taking all new numbers to America it takes about six months before we really feel at ease with them and are at a musical peak.

"This year I hope will be the last year of working flat out, and next year should be easier. I don't really know how long I can keep this pace up. When I was told our plans for the next six months I nearly passed out!

"But for all that life is still very enjoyable. We're by no means stagnating — this year for instance we're also working on stereophonic PA equipment, and are planning to use acoustic guitars on stage as well.

"All in all by the time we play Britain again. I'm sure it will be really worthwhile."


Thanks to Mike Wain for this article.