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12 July 1980


When is Jethro Tull not necessarily Jethro Tull? The answer is — when Ian Anderson says so.

If that sounds rather foggy, it's understandable ... but the reaction from certain parties to last week's Melody Maker front-page news exclusive that there was a major split in Jethro Tull has been confusing for we mere mortals who deal in facts.

The story reported that pianists John Evan and David Palmer, plus drummer Barrie Barlow, had been fired and that U.K. keyboards whizzo Eddie Jobson had joined the band, together with a Los Angeles drummer, Mark Craney. Reason for the shuffle was given as Ian Anderson's desire to refresh the Tull sound. Anderson on Monday [7 July] issued a formal statement to the world saying that for the past two months he had

"been engaged in the recording of a new album of rather freer musical direction, and with some different musicians with whom I wanted to work."

The previous Jethro line-up had been "put on ice" after the last European tour while

"all the musicians involved pursued their own immediate aims outside the group format."

Anderson continued:

"David Pegg and Martin Barre elected to work with me on 'my' album and Edwin Jobson and Mark Craney came in from the USA for the sessions on a one-off basis. The record has been so well-received in rough mix form that I have heeded advice to release it at the end of August under the Jethro Tull banner."

Proposals to secure the services of the recording musicians for an autumn tour were "being considered." (The MM reported that the new band would play September concerts.)

Anderson denied that Barlow, Evan and Palmer had been sacked.

"The changes in personnel and musical direction were ushered in during group discussions over a year ago and involved no ill feeling ... I regret any doubts cast over the musical abilities of these three hard-working and talented friends of many years."

So from the MM story you read last week, and from Ian Anderson's vehement denial this week, these facts emerge:

Barrie Barlow, David Palmer and John Evan are NOT on a new album scheduled for release in August under the name of Jethro Tull. Eddie Jobson and Mark Craney ARE; they may tour with Ian as Jethro Tull. Hey — isn't that just what the MM story said?

The Anderson statement was followed by a hurt Barrie Barlow denying that he was fired, but saying he quit the band because he was

"dissatisfied with the state of affairs, musically and morally, in Jethro Tull."

Barlow added that he felt incompatible with Anderson's new music and told him so during a long talk:

"I thought his new music not so good ..."

Barlow has formed a new band with an American guitarist, David Christian, and is now recording. John Evan and David Palmer are linking up for a European tour of classical recitals. Tull manager Jo Lustig is off the phone at last. Ray Coleman is going home to play 'Skating On The Thin Ice Of A New Day' [sic] and other Tull classics.