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1 September 1973

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Jethro Tull's manager Terry Ellis this week accused rock-critics of

"taking advantage of their unassailable position to be abusive."

The critics' 'abuse' was, he claimed, the deciding factor in the band's 'retirement' announcement last week.

"I say abuse and I mean abuse — it certainly wasn't fair criticism. In a lot of cases critics have been taking advantage of their unassailable position to be abusive," he told Melody Maker.

"Ian Anderson is extremely brought down by it all. When he reads in the music papers 'Passion Play is bad' he feels terrible, his life is music. The abuse is psychologically wearing him down and he feels it's not fair to perform under this pressure."

Ellis refused to disclose how much money the band will lose by their decision, although all dates after their next American tour — ending on September 29 — have been cancelled.

"The group normally play for six or seven months every year, and obviously tours have to be planned very carefully. So, as a matter of course, we book venues in Europe and the States a year ahead of each tour — all these will have to be cancelled now," said Ellis.

The decision to retire from live dates was taken jointly between Ellis and Anderson. In their statement last week the band announced their retirement would be for an indefinite period. But how long is 'indefinite'?

"If I could say one month or even 10 years, it would be a definite period. We don't feel we can make any plans regarding concerts. We're committed for a year to our film project, but after that we have no plans," Ellis commented.

A Passion Play, in the world's charts for the past month, has formed the central point of the group's recent stage act.

"A concert performance is 2½ hours of incredible hard work and when the group open the papers and read the abuse heaped on Passion Play by the critics, they obviously feel bad about it," claimed Ellis.

One American critic last week wrote about the band's performance in Los Angeles:

"It was Passion Play — that elaborate, complicated and incredibly tiresome epic that Ian Anderson has foisted upon us and his plucky band — that did us in. The man's ego and pretensions are staggering. He doesn't write mere songs any more, he writes Homeric legends. Except he's not Homer."

Virtually every other critic on both sides of the Atlantic — though perhaps not as extreme in their condemnation — have echoed such sentiments. Abuse or criticism?