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6 December 1969


Between Jethro Tull's typically exciting and well-received first show at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium (a second show was added when the first sold out), I spoke with wild-looking, yet articulate Ian Anderson.

Their beautiful performance that night had the audience cheering and some were even dancing in the aisles.

I asked Ian if this was his favourite type of audience. He surprised me with his answer.

"I feel pretty suspicious when I see people screaming or dancing in the aisles because I don't think people can dance to the music we play with any degree of honesty to themselves.

"If they dance to our music they're more likely to be going through some sort of physical release, which they might as well get from going swimming or horse riding or something!

"The music we play is quite involved musically and it isn't conducive to dancing. I prefer to see people sitting in their seats and it's quite nice when they go through an audience response thing, cheering and clapping when you come on, and it's nice when you go off and it's nice to do an encore, but beyond that I think it is a bit unnecessary that they show any undue signs of appreciation!"

It's a curious thing recently the way a small number of British groups are enjoying such enthusiastic popularity here in the States without the help of hit singles or even any single releases at all! I asked Ian why they hadn't tapped the huge singles market.

"I don't know very much about who buys singles, why they buy them and what sort of music they will buy, so it's rather difficult for me to put together something for the American singles market which is both representative of the group's style and is a satisfying piece of music for the listener. I don't know just what to write for the American market.

"In England, obviously from living there, I'm more familiar with the way in which to set about writing a single. But the time will come when we can attempt the same sort of thing here."

Even without single success, Jethro Tull has continually stayed high on the album charts and sold out concerts wherever they go. Since Ian surely had the answer, I asked him what he felt gave a group lasting power.

"I think they must have some sort of musical integrity which is apparent to the public. They mustn't be too obviously jumping on a bandwagon or pampering to the tastes of the public.

"They must also play something which is probably of a style which is peculiar to them. In other words, they must be an individual sounding group. These days, I suppose it helps if you can back all this up by being real people.

"You have something to say and you have some valid reason for doing what you're doing. Not just doing it to make money, which everyone hates and quite rightly."

Sounds like an accurate picture of Jethro Tull!