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4 July 1970
JETHRO TULL ARE FIVE ... but is lead singer Ian sick?
Despite collapsing with a mysterious stomach complaint during the transmission of a European television show, Jethro Tull front man Ian Anderson made a speedy recovery to be able to make a massive world-wide tour.
Tomorrow (Friday) he leaves with the group for a six-week, coast-to-coast personal appearance schedule. Currently one of the biggest money-spinning groups in the States, Jethro Tull returned from their last visit there only three weeks ago. Following America, they go to Japan from August 14 to August 25, appearing in a music festival tied in with Expo '70. And while 'in that part of the world', the group move on to Australia and new Zealand for the first time.
This virtual non-stop touring has cut down on the time available for recording, but their album Benefit is selling high into the charts in Sweden, Germany and other continental countries as well as in Britain and the States. However, it is unlikely that there will be any further single or album from the group before the end of September.
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"JETHRO TULL IS LIKE THE ARMY" says new member John Evan
The Selfish Pharmaceutical Chemist may not sound like the most benevolent of titles to bestow on a person, but it fits John Evan, recent addition to Jethro Tull. Titles, of course, are often misleading, so John explains it himself.
"I didn't just join Jethro in the proper sense, I'd been doing some session work for Ian and the group earlier, because they were old friends. At the time, I was studying to become a pharmaceutical chemist, but I had to take a year or two off due to poor finances. When I was little, I was forced to play the piano by an instructor and I got to playing classical music. I was very interested in playing technically well, but selfish, because I played only for my own enjoyment.
"I never have been particularly creative, so the great thing was to do a good job of somebody else's writings. I tried to do very difficult pieces as well as I could. The pop scene is very different. Not trying to debase it, pop music is very easy to play unless you are a creative person, like Keith Emerson. He writes some complex material and plays it well. I'm more of an interpreter.
"I've sat down a few times and given this business some real thought, deciding that it isn't at all what I want to do for my life's work. I will stay with Jethro until it finishes and I expect that will be a long time, but after that, I'll go back to chemistry. I have always liked playing more for myself than anything, so the music will revert back to just a hobby. I'll not be getting a position with any more bands. I know that's very selfish, but music as a hobby is far healthier to me. I have more pride in doing it for relaxation.
"It would be very pretentious for me to try and make a name for myself in this field, for I know my own limitations and I'd never be good enough. I couldn't even become a session man, because it just isn't for me. If I hadn't known Ian for twelve years, I wouldn't be in the group at all. Being on stage also means you have to be an entertainer, and I'm not that either. Ian falls into it easily, but for me it's a conscious effort. I pull faces and wear wild clothes, because I'm afraid I'll look stupid if I just sit still.
"Being in a successful group is like being in the army. You have to be some place at all times. At first it was very uncomfortable, but now I'm getting used to it. You lose a lot of freedom and it breaks up old casual friendships with an invisible barrier. People I used to pass the time of day with seem to think of me as somewhat aloof, now. A superstar or something. They think I think that's what I am, so I've lost a lot of the ease and we don't get to talk about the same old things any more.
"It takes a certain kind of person to stay with pop music, and although I'm really enjoying the whole thing I'll not be making a career of it. Ian will probably always be connected with it in some way, but drawing comparisons between myself and other artists just doesn't seem to work. We'll be having more and more leisure time as the world moves toward further mechanisation and I'll use music to please myself during that time."
And he'll probably be a fine chemist.
Many thanks to Glenn Cornick for this article