Monday, September 23, 2013

One On One With Ian Anderson

To SouthSide, he's a magician ...the pied piper of a British progressive rock band that would ultimately shape music for over 40 years, blogspot readers. During the summer, this reviewer had fun attending his Ravinia performance of Thick As A Brick 1 & 2. Yet that latter one could not compare when she  recently had the extreme pleasure of interviewing this poetic rock troubadour over the phone. Ian Anderson (of Jethro Tull) was kind enough to give part of his time for this extra special One On One blog entry with SouthSide after being honored with the Prog God Award at the Progressive Music Awards held in London the night before. Despite being unable to spend a longer time with this classic rock legend, he did have a lot to say by bestowing upon this reviewer his comments about progressive rock music to what fans can expect to see and/or hear during a live performance of Thick As A Brick and US's proposed plan to bomb Syria.

As this reviewer mentioned earlier, Ian Anderson is a pied piper especially when she saw him on stage performing Thick As A Brick 1 & 2. Here's what Ian sees himself as an "...old bloke having fun...", blogspot readers. Believe it or not, he's very conscious about his age if he feels the sands of time running through the hour glass. He told SouthSide that he's at "...the age where I have few uninterrupted moments..." like going fishing or spending time with his grandkids. And now, he's Prog God 2013. SouthSide asked him for his opinion why Jethro Tull had a lasting presence in the music industry to which Ian replied that he tried to define what progressive music was at the awards ceremony. " music is fun ...not serious..." according to Ian who finds this type of rock genre rather "...uplifting ...whether it was in 70s or today, progressive music can have a sense of humor..." He also noted that progressive rock musicians are not serious people before giving some important advice about performing on stage. "...we're not there to provide a service..." Ian stated, "'s important for artists to please themselves..." He wanted all to know "...I'm important ...I'm there to please myself ...not others..."

So what about those who don't get who or what Jethro Tull is all about? Well, Ian takes a different approach to that situation than most other musicians SouthSide has met over the years, blogspot readers. He doesn't want to be known as "...a pushy salesperson..." when it comes people not understanding the band and/or its music. "...there's plenty of good stuff out there..." said Ian. For him, it's all about the use of friendly persuasion in winning fans over. He recommends giving "...Jethro Tull a listen..." and if you don't like it, not to worry, blogspot readers, he won't be offended. "...I would not be remotely offended if you don't Jethro Tull..." before adding "...go check out Led Zeppelin, Cream, Pink Floyd ...there's a lot of good music out there..." And speaking of Jethro Tull music, this reviewer wondered if there was a particular song or group of songs that would define what the band is about. Ian suggested listening to the Very Best of Jethro Tull saying this is "...why we do compilation albums..." even though "...not necessarily by favorite songs but songs that will define what Jethro Tull is to a newcomer..." He did tell her that the albums aren't put together by the record company but by him. Tull fans should be on the lookout in the next few years for an ultimate best of Jethro Tull album. SouthSide is looking forward to hearing which songs are chosen for this one.

When Ian Anderson and his band returns the Chicagoland area in October, they will be performing Thick As A Brick 1 & 2 in their entirety, blogspot readers, in which part 1 is about Gerald Bostock as a boy who's faced with the daunting decision to choose whether to be a poet or soldier meanwhile part 2 answers the question - what happened to Gerald now reaching adulthood. For those wondering what to expect when attending the Star Plaza Theatre performance, Ian said it will be a theatrical concert experience and hopes the audience will be entertained like SouthSide was when attending his Ravinia concert over the summer. From her experience, Ian will try to engage you to take the journey along with him through Gerald as a child and as an adult while performing songs like Tales of Your Life, Childhood Heroes, Power and Spirit/Give Till It Hurts and Kismet in Suburbia. "...if the audience enjoys it, then we did our job..." So what made Ian decide to perform both albums on stage? "...As you know it's a complex piece of music [and] can be a challenge to play for anyone..." he answered before adding "...I played it before back in the 70s but with no success..." Fast forward 40 years later, it was completing a bit of unfinished business and he wanted to perform both albums for the fans. However, don't expect a Thick As A Brick 3 album from him, blogspot readers. Ian told SouthSide that the next album is already written and is ready to record in December. "...Gerald Bostock had a hand with the lyrics..." but it's not about Gerald or Thick As A Brick type of album either since that would "...guessing into the future and about the subject of death..."

Sadly, blogspot readers, SouthSide's time with Ian Anderson was quickly winding down fast and she only had time for one last question for the musician. She asked him if he had any thoughts to share with his Tull fans before having to leave for his next interview. Ian shares plenty of words with his fans online through journals and social media "...sometimes I'm asked to quote something..." On the day of this interview, he shared a quote from JFK to equate why he does what he do "...we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do other things ...not because they're easy but because they're hard..." He's not a musician because it's easy, blospot readers but because it's hard. And since there was a little time left, Ian did express his opinions about US plans for air strikes over Syria stating he's not a fan of going to war against this Middle Eastern nation. "...going to war without any support from other countries or NATO, it's on your head..." wondering where was "...US when Saddam Hussein did far worse than what's happening in Syria? Remember Truman when he bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki ...blood on his hands..." Ian's solution - "...we should be sending them food, prayers and humanitarian aid ...not Cruz missiles ...those are 'big boy' toys that should be left under the bed..." What a profound philosophical way to end an interview, blogspot readers.

SouthSide highly recommends heading to Merrillville, IN on Oct 20 to see Ian Anderson and this band performing Thick As A Brick 1 & 2 at the Star Plaza Theatre.  For more information, visit or for tickets.

Huge thanks to Ian Anderson for granting this Tull fan the interview opportunity and Anne Leighton of Leighton Media for setting it up.

Until next time, support your local scene,

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