Excellent issue this month about Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull. Jethro Tull disbanded in 2012. Jethro Tull will celebrate a 50th-anniversary at the end of January 2018. Ian Anderson is working on a studio Jethro Tull recording that will mark that moment in rock history.
I have been trying to learn more about what happened between Ian Anderson and lead guitarist Martin Barre. Prog Magazine covers that story in depth in this issue.
I have been a Jethro Tull fan since 1968, starting with the first recording, This Was. I purchased Jethro Tull recordings steadily until 1980 when I hit marginal utility with A the 13th studio album. Tull stopped clicking for me. I took a hiatus until 2002 when Ian Anderson began doing his Rubbing Elbows tours. I resumed seeing Jethro Tull live in concert on the 40th-anniversary tour in 2008 and again with the Thick as a Brick 2 tour as a free concert.
I look forward to the 50th-anniversary celebration of Jethro Tull. Prog Magazine has been instrumental in rekindling my interest in the Jethro Tull and Ian Anderson 80’s era discography. I especially like the recordings The Broadsword and the Beast and Crest of a Knave.
The year was 1969. I was a 17-year-old high school graduate living and working in Connecticut. I was a babe in the woods when it came to New York City and “Live” rock concerts. My music tastes were forged listening intently to progressive rock radio station WNEW-FM 102.7.
The Fillmore East was the goal I had to experience. Bill Graham’s magic venue was constantly advertised on WNEW which made that passion stronger in my soul.
A fellow Jethro Tull fanatic scored four tickets at $5.50@ for us to see The Jeff Beck Group, Jethro Tull and The Soft White Underbelly perform at The Fillmore East on July 3rd, 1969. I was pumped. I could finally see my first “live” rock concert and it would take place at The Fillmore East! Little did I realize it would be the first of 425+ concerts in the next 46 years I would attend. This concert changed my life from radio station listener to active music participant. I have loved and nurtured the role of concert attendee ever since that day.
Since none of us drove a car, we rode the train from South Norwalk, CT to Grand Central Station. All the way down to the East Village we held a lively debate about our favorite band Jethro Tull and their first album, This Was. We loved to argue competitively which was the best song on the album. My favorite choice was “Serenade to a Cuckoo” by Rahsaan Roland Kirk. I fought for it vehemently as others articulated their favorites. Tull fanatics were we enjoying our obsession!
We took the IRT Lexington Avenue subway line to Astor Place. It was a cool and comfortable July evening in the East Village neighborhood. Our anticipation grew as we approached The Fillmore East venue on 2nd Avenue. The smell of pot and incense filled the air. The sidewalks were crowded with long-haired hippies like us. I was approached several times before we went inside if I had a spare ticket. I never responded and just kept walking. The famous lighted marquee above showed in black letters, July 3 Jeff Beck/Jethro Tull. We surrendered our tickets at the door which the Fillmore usher proceeded to tear in half. He gave us each a program (which I have since lost, sigh) and then he escorted us to our seats under the balcony overhang. He had long hair to the middle of his back and was wearing a Fillmore East green basketball jersey. He used his flashlight to point out our four seats in aisle M. Then he smiled and said, “Enjoy the show.” I thought what a cool job wondering how many great shows had he seen?
The theater was bustling as people milled about. The banter of the crowd was loud and lively. The stage was smaller than I thought it would be. I was fine with that as it added to the intimate nature of the celebration.
Soon the lights went down and Kip Cohen (Managing Director) announced the opening act. “Ladies and Gentleman please give a warm New York City welcome for Soft White Underbelly.” The first act Soft White Underbelly was a local Long Island band. They would evolve to later become Blue Oyster Cult. I was not familiar with this band’s music at all. I loved their raw energy and loud, thrashing guitars. I watched as Light by Pablo set the backdrop for their set with lots of uses of white and grey graphics. At one point I saw an image of the great white whale Moby Dick thrashing in the ocean behind them. I loved witnessing the use of lighting and graphics accented the artist’s music as they played. This art form fascinated me. Soft White Underbelly played a short, 30 minute set and received a nice round of applause for their effort.
We started yelling, “Jethro Tull, Jethro Tull”, repeatedly. The guys in front of us gave us a look of disapproval but we didn’t care. We heard the announcer say, “From England, Jethro Tull”. Next thing you know Ian Anderson and the Jethro Tull band took the stage. Ian was a whirling dervish that night. Silver flute in hand wearing a red checkered bath robe with long suede boots laced all the way up to his knee. He had this wild look in his eyes and he often stood on one foot as he played the flute. Off they went into the first song from This Was, “My Sunday Feeling”.
I was jumping up and down with Tull as they rocked the house. Wow, I was really getting to see my favorite band perform right in front of me. They sounded fantastic, much more dynamic than their album ever conveyed.
We quickly learned that Mick Abrahams, original Tull lead guitarist, had been replaced by Martin Barre. I was disappointed because I loved Abrahams style and wanted to see him play. Martin Barre, as the new Jethro Tull took a bit of getting used to that night. (Martin Barre became a fixture with Jethro Tull for the next four decades.)
We did not know yet that we were about to be treated to several new tracks from their “unreleased” second studio recording, Stand Up.
The lighting for Jethro Tull was a thick, dark, wooded glen. The screen changed into fantastic shades of forest green and blue. I recall the leaves turning bronze and copper which offset the trees smartly.
The song I liked the best from Stand Up was “Fat Man”. It was Ian Anderson seated singing and playing mandolin and Clive Bunker on bongos with bells on his feet staying in time. It was a departure from the songs on This Was. I found the song about being fat enchanting and fun. Ian Anderson’s wry sense of humor came across on these lyrics.
The Fillmore East concert was held on the eve of the Newport Jazz Festival on July 4th. George Wein had decided that Newport Jazz would go Rock that year. Jethro Tull and The Jeff Beck Group along with Led Zeppelin were scheduled to change jazz festival history as part of a transformative lineup in Newport, Rhode Island. Ian Anderson mentioned to the audience how he couldn’t wait to perform with Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
Then Jethro Tull played my favorite song, “Serenade to a Cuckoo”. I was enthralled to get my private wish of hearing this song played live answered. Tull justified their place at Newport when they performed this jazz classic.
Their set ended too quickly for us. We yelled and screamed “Tull” as they excitedly vanished to wildly enthusiastic applause.
The Jeff Beck Group headlined The Fillmore East concert. Jeff Beck was a very skillful guitar slinger set against the light show extravaganza. The lighting effect for The Jeff Beck Group was the psychedelic bubble formed in a petri dish on an overhead projector. I was reminded of the cover of Iron Butterfly’s In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida as the bubble throbbed and mutated above the band. I was witnessing a member of the Yardbirds. How cool was that?
Rod Stewart was vocalist extraordinaire for Jeff Beck. He was the dandy with a long scarf that he threw about his neck as he strutted the stage like a peacock. He was very tall and the women were taken with him. He was the sex symbol we would later read about in the seventies. I loved his gravelly voice.
The Jeff Beck Group also featured Ron Wood (Small Faces, Rolling Stones) on bass guitar and Tony Newman on drums. They tore the roof off The Fillmore East venue that night.
After the concert we walked back to the subway stop, making a pit stop at Gramophone a record shop where I purchased Beck-Ola by The Jeff Beck Group. I wanted to become more familiar with the songs I heard them do that evening. I still own that album and play it when the mood strikes me.
Years later I ended up seeing Blue Oyster Cult right up the street from where I live, Jethro Tull six more times (not including the Ian Anderson Rubbing Elbow Tours, which is another story for another day) and Jeff Beck twice at Madison Square Garden.
The Fillmore East – 105 Second Avenue, East Village
The Fillmore East survived just four years. Rock music was moving to the arenas and stadiums. The Fillmore business model could no longer afford to pay the bands who made our music. The Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation commemorated The Fillmore East on October 9, 2014 with this plaque.
Ian Anderson celebrates the life and times of the English Agricultural inventor, Jethro Tull, with the announcement of a new series of concert tours beginning September 2015.
The shows tell the story of the original Jethro Tull’s life, reimagined as if in the near future and illustrated with Anderson’s best-known songs from the rock band Jethro Tull’s repertoire.
The performance is in a quasi-operatic structure with virtual guests on video and some additional newly-written songs to round off the elements of the story. Heavy Horses, Farm On The Freeway, Songs From The Wood sit alongside Aqualung, Living In The Past, Wind-Up, A New Day Yesterday, The Witch’s Promise, Locomotive Breath and other favourites – often with slightly re-written lyrics to better tell the tale.
Accompanied by David Goodier (bass), John O’Hara (keyboards), Florian Opahle (guitar), Scott Hammond (drums) and surprise virtual guests, Ian Anderson begins the touring schedule in the UK followed by Russian, European and South American dates before the end of the year.
Tour dates to be confirmed soon!
Thoughts from Ian Anderson
The repertoire of Jethro Tull has been a huge part of my life over the last forty-seven years so it is great fun to find a new way to present some of my best-known songs in a different and fitting context.
As a tribute to the original 18th Century agriculturalist whose name our agent “borrowed” back in February 1968, I have imagined a scenario where the pioneering pursuit of improved crop-growing and farming methodology might apply to the world of today and tomorrow. (Yawn, yawn but who else is going to feed the planet?)
When this notion first occurred to me last Summer, I had no inkling that, when I examined all of my song material – especially the lyrics, there would be so many perfect fits in regard to song subject and references.
The life story of the original Tull (in as much as we have recorded historical detail of it) has so many interesting and workable parallels. Wind Up, Heavy Horses, Aqualung, Back to the family, Farm On The Freeway and Songs From The Wood amongst others were natural inclusions. A few others were bent into shape with a slight re-write of lyrics and five new songs round off the intended setlist.
Some of the material will be accompanied by brief performance inserts of our “virtual guests” on the big HD video screen. Instead of spoken introductions to the songs in the show, there will be the use of that operatic device, the “recitative”, where the links are made by short sung vocal segments in a usually-simple musical backdrop, making it a little easier and more entertaining for non-English-speaking audiences.
As some of you know when I am not writing about music my career has been focused for 34 years in information technology. I have taught software application classes in a distributed network setting for 20 years.
Watch as Russ Fustino demonstrates proudly to Ian Anderson the Jethro Tull App on the Microsoft Surface Pro.
This is a screenshot of the Jethro Tull Windows App that I am using on Windows 10 Technical Preview. I own a MacBook Pro that runs OS/X Yosemite. I use VMWare Fusion as my virtualization environment to isolate and manage the Windows 10 Technical Preview.
The beauty of this solution is how the Windows App delivery platform allows users to create a Universal App for Windows Phone, Tablet or PC.
I awoke this morning to have the Mrs. tell me that Glenn Cornick, the original bass guitarist for Jethro Tull passed away yesterday. Glenn Cornick is the first member of the original Jethro Tull to join the Great Beyond. Sigh. Death comes to us all.
I reflect on what Glenn Cornick and the early Jethro Tull band means to me. The beautiful aspect of musicians we admire is that we can continue to stay connected with them through their recorded music.
“This Was”, “Stand Up” and “Benefit” were to feature the personable and idiosyncratic style of Glenn Cornick during the next three years in which he played his important role in the early years of Tull.
Ever the party animal, Glenn grew apart from the other band members during 1970. This was a reflection, not of Glenn’s social waywardness, but of the reclusive and insular nature of the other guys’ rather private and atypical lifestyles.
Glenn was “invited to leave” by manager Terry Ellis but given due encouragement to form his own Chrysalis Records signed band “Wild Turkey” which enjoyed some success with records
Glenn Cornick was a very animated bass player. He had long black hair that he attempted to keep in control with a head band. But when he played bass he would dance wildly as his hair flopped all around his face. Loved that image of him and that’s how I want to remember Glenn Cornick best. Happily immersed in his pursuit of bass notes driving Tull along.
Peace be with you Glenn Cornick the music of our heart goes out to your family and loved ones in this time of sorrow.
I have been a fan of Jethro Tull since the début album, This Was in 1968. Jethro Tull and Traffic were my favorite bands from 1968-1970. They both hailed from England. I played the This Was vinyl LP daily on my hi-fi phonograph. I hung out with a group of Tull fans in 1969 my senior year in high school. We all went together to see Jethro Tull perform Stand Up at The Fillmore East July 3, 1969.
I have seen Jethro Tull and Ian Anderson perform live eight times these past 46 years. Our last Jethro Tull concert was at Mohegan Sun Casino Arena in 2012. They performed the Thick As A Brick 1 & 2 show that evening. Here is my review from their October 4, 20102 concert.
Ian Anderson has given us several concept albums over the decades. His first and most famous “alter-ego” was the character he developed, Aqualung. The rock press perceived Aqualung as a concept album. Ian Anderson insists it is merely a collection of rock songs.
Aqualung was followed by a more curious concept album, Thick As A Brick in 1972. This record featured a rock first: one continuous song on both sides. The second major alter-ego that Ian Anderson forged was that of an 8-year-old boy Gerald Bostock.
Ian Anderson has returned twice since to the fictional Gerald Bostock personna, first with Thick As A Brick 2 (2012). (Whatever happened to Gerald Bostock?)
TAAB2 focuses on Gerald Bostock, the fictional boy genius author of the original album, forty years later. “I wonder what the eight-year-old Gerald Bostock would be doing today. Would the fabled newspaper still exist?” The follow-up album presents five divergent, hypothetical life stories for Gerald Bostock, including a greedy investment banker, a homosexual homeless man (shades of Aqualung..), a soldier in the Afghan War, a sanctimonious evangelist preacher, and a most ordinary man who (married and childless) runs a corner store; by the end of the album, however, all five possibilities seem to converge in a similar concluding moment of gloomy or pitiful solitude. In March 2012, to follow the style of the mock-newspaper cover (The St Cleve Chronicle and Linwell Advertiser) of the original Thick as a Brick album, an online newspaper was set up, simply titled StCleve: www.stcleve.com. – Courtesy of wikipedia
Ian Anderson will be re acquainting us with Gerald Bostock when he releases his next album Homo Erraticus on April 14th. “As Gerald Bostock says, ‘We’re all from somewhere else – get over it.’”
Homo Erraticus marks his return to songwriting, and it’s based on an unpublished manuscript by amateur historian Ernest T. Parritt (1865-1928).
In Homo Erraticus Parritt examines key events of British history with a string of prophecies stretching to the current day and the future; visions of past lives caused by the delirium of malaria generate the characters through whose eyes the stories are told, including a nomadic Neolithic settler, an iron Age blacksmith, a Christian monk, a turnpike innkeeper and even Prince Albert.
Written earlier this year, commencing 09.00 hours on January first, it chronicles the weird imaginings of one Ernest T Parritt, as recaptured by the now middle-aged Gerald Bostock after a trip to Mathew Bunter’s Old Library Bookshop in Linwell village. Bostock and Bunter (sounds like a firm of dodgy solicitors) came across this dusty, unpublished manuscript, written by local amateur historian Ernest T. Parritt, (1873 -1928), and entitled “Homo Britanicus Erraticus”.
The illustrated document summarizes key historical elements of early civilisation in Britain and seems to prophesy future scenarios too. Two years before his death, Parritt had a traumatic fall from his horse while out hunting with the Vale Of Clutterbury Hounds and awoke with the overwhelming conviction of having enjoyed past lives as historical characters: a pre-history nomadic neolithic settler, an Iron Age blacksmith, a Saxon invader, a Christian monk, a Seventeenth Century grammar school boy, turnpike innkeeper, one of Brunel’s railroad engineers, and even Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. This befuddled, delusional obsession extends to his prophecy of future events and his fantasy imaginings of lives yet to come….
Bostock has returned once again to lyric writing, basing his new effort on the Parritt papers and I have had the fun and frolics of setting all to music of Folk-Rock-Metal stylings.
Recently Greg Lake was asked in Facebook, What inspired you to write this song and what did it mean to you back when you wrote it? and What does it mean to you today and what do you want people to come away with from hearing this song?
Here is his response:
“I Believe in Father Christmas” was written by myself together with Pete Sinfield. It started out with this little guitar riff which I had buzzing round in my head for weeks but no matter how I tried I just couldn’t seem to develop it into a song. It actually started to drive me crazy and one day I found myself humming the tune to Jingle Bells over the riff. This is the sort if thing that happens to writers when they get a few steps away from total insanity.
Anyway I told Pete about hearing this melody in my head and he said maybe it could be a Christmas song. I really don’t like most of those good time Christmas party songs but after a while I began to reflect on what Christmas really meant to me as a kid and how this had somehow got lost in the commercial feeding frenzy that has taken priority in more recent years.
Pete and I started to think about this and after a while we began to identify the core belief that children have about Christmas that really encapsulates the magic and benevolent spirit of Christmas.
Basically it was the belief that all children have in Father Christmas and in a more general sense about how the story of the nativity represents the concept of peace on earth good will to all men.
I honestly can’t remember whether it was Pete or myself who came out with the actual line but it was something we pretty much realised simultaneously. It was the magic key which unlocked the door to the song. I Believe in Father Christmas.
Merry Christmas to Everyone. Greg.
I found this beautiful collaboration filmed live in 2006 at St. Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, in the City of London. Greg Lake performs his 1975 classic “I Believe in Father Christmas” with Jethro Tull’ s Ian Anderson on flute, David Arch on keyboards, Florian Opahle on acoustic guitar and the church choir.
We recently saw Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull perform Thick As A Brick 1 & 2 at Mohegan Sun. I noticed that Thick As A Brick is being reissued on remastered CD and vinyl as a 40th anniversary edition.
I am interested in owning, listening to and reading about Thick As A Brick after experiencing the recording performed live in its entirety in concert. What motivates me even more is that Steven Wilson has engineered the remix with Ian Anderson’s help and direction. Steven Wilson is playing a pivotal role in the renaissance of progressive rock from both a historical as well as a participant level basis.
The 40th Anniversary Edition features a new 5.1 stereo mix, mixed by Steven Wilson, plus a DVD containing DTS & Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix, high quality stereos 96/24 (new mix and 1972 flat transfer), the original newspaper over 40 pages, an article by Classic Rock sDom Lawson, rare photos from photographers Didi Zill and Robert Ellis, recording and touring mementos and much more, all contained in 104 page 7 ½ x 5 ½ hardback book.