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12 July 1980


Jethro Tull's 'Big Split', which was given sensationalist treatment on the front page of another music paper last week, turns out to be somewhat less than the dramatic version that must have sent shivers through the hearts of Tull-lovers from Southwark to Sutton and back.

According to the Melody Maker, a music paper that older readers may remember, Ian Anderson, Tull's leader, fired long-standing drummer Barriemore Barlow and keyboard players John Evan and David Palmer and has recruited new musicians including former Roxy Music and U.K. keyboardist Eddie Jobson to revitalise the group's sound.

But Barriemore Barlow told Sounds this week that he handed in his resignation from the band some four months ago after deciding to form his own band with American singer/songwriter David Christian. He explained his reasons for quitting as

"dissatisfaction with the way business was taking over from music, boredom with the old songs and displeasure with the new material."

He added that discontent with the band's wages structure — all members apart from Anderson are on a salary — contributed to his decision to leave.

After having resigned in plenty of time for Tull to recruit a new drummer he was therefore more than a little peeved to read that he had been fired. Evans and Palmer had also resigned and not been fired either, he said. He wasn't prepared to speculate on their reasons for leaving, but thought that they were planning to work together.

However, Barlow exonerated Anderson from blame in the affair, saying that he'd already had a letter from him apologising for the misleading story. Quite who is responsible nobody is yet saying. Chrysalis Records maintained a tight-lipped "no comment" when asked whether the story had been angled to boost the ailing Melody Maker, whose circulation has been going the same way as record sales amid a welter of editorial resignations (including the editor) and the sound of typewriters being thrown through windows.

Barlow's new band doesn't yet have a name, but he states that it will be quite different from anything Tull has ever done. Their first album is likely to be out in September, though a recording deal has still to be finalised.