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2 January 1971
"WE'RE NOT INVOLVED IN POLITICS" — TULL
Martin Barre, the 23-year-old guitarist with Jethro Tull, thinks he'd like to play more "thoughtful and quiet".
"You can put a lot more thought into your playing," he says. "You can also get a more controlled sound by playing more quiet. Get subtle. That's a good thing."
Martin and Ian Anderson and pianist John Evan, bassist Glenn Cornick and drummer Clive Bunker had just completed a hot, smashingly successful concert at the LA Forum [18 October 1970] and Martin was giving me his thoughts on how he felt about playing in America.
"Our music has to be on a simple pop, rock 'n' roll musical level. But if you can introduce little subtleties, eventually they'll become the important things in your music. We're playing worthwhile music now, but we don't over-estimate what we're doing. It's nowhere near perfect for us. But you can't aim for constant perfection.
"Playing is both fun and work. If you go on stage feeling bad, it comes out. It's a battle with your conscience. If you play badly you thank God that all those people have paid to see you, but you have to have the show-business standard to go out and play no matter how you feel. It gets better when you get used to all the travel and you know how to cope with that kind of life."
Jethro Tull will be recording another album at Island during the Christmas holidays. The band hasn't recorded anything for six months.
"Ian has written songs for the album, but things always change."
All of the band's three LPs which were cut for Island have been released in the United States on Reprise. The band cut one single in the States, 'Living In The Past', which was done in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Martin says the studios in these cities weren't very good.
"There was a time when everyone said the American studios were incredible. At home we can get a nice cup of tea between numbers. It's nice recording in England. You can go home and sit down and think. While you're on tour you're dashing about madly. It's difficult to get relaxed, and you have to when you're recording."
Martin has been with the band two years. He joined it on Christmas Eve.
"I called my mum and dad and told them I wouldn't be home for Christmas. There were tears but they didn't know who the band was."
Now his parents know. Of Jethro Tull, Martin says:
"You can't afford to play the same way. You have to keep one step ahead of what people expect you to do, otherwise you get bored. I want to progress, not change. We don't like any one particular kind of music."
Martin admits to not liking hippies in America.
"They make me uncomfortable because their whole life seems to be revolving around drugs. I can sympathise because America is a pretty unstable place to grow up in. England is a more stable place."
In America young people associate being a musician with being a supporter of the 'revolution', Martin says.
"When you listen to them they have nothing solid to believe in, so they expect you to say some doctrine. But we are not involved with politics."
Martin is involved in his music. He likes to play acoustic instruments on records.
"It's good to play finger style. It gives the guitar so much more depth and sounds. But I'm not too sure we want to get too far away from booming, heavy music. You have to have a good balance between loud and heavy numbers and light melodic ones."
Many thanks to Glenn Cornick for this article