Showing posts with label #Ian Anderson interview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #Ian Anderson interview. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

IAN ANDERSON In-Depth Interview: Migration, Human Sustainability, Politics and Jesus

 By Ray Shasho

-A very special Interview with the legendary Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull:

I interviewed Jethro Tull legend Ian Anderson on Tuesday, March 18th and our conversation transposed into something exceptional and quite monumental. Our in-depth discussion covered an array of atypical and riveting topics concerning… World issues, Politics, Human sustainability, The Bible, Religion, Jesus Christ, David Cameron, Barack Obama, Tony Snow, Our Vets, Ian’s family heritage, Commercial airline piloting , UFO’s … and then of course about the music… including the inception and concept behind his Gerald Bostock character & Anderson’s latest studio release ‘Homo Erraticus.’

Ian Anderson’s latest musical endeavor ‘HOMO ERRATICUS’ is an extraordinary and all-embracing musical arrangement that poetically and wittily interprets man’s pilgrimage with brilliant lyrical optimism. -I gave it (5) Stars! Pre-order your copy of Ian Anderson’s latest studio release [Here] or … Released on Anderson’s own label imprint Calliandra Records in conjunction with Kscope. ‘Homo Erraticus’ will be officially released on April 14th but available now for pre-order.

Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson will be performing the new album ‘Homo Erraticus’ & The Best of Tull Live In Concert at a city near you throughout 2014. The Ian Anderson touring band is …Ian Anderson (flute, guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, harmonica and lead vocals), David Goodier (bass guitar and double bass), John O’Hara (orchestral conductor, piano, keyboards and accordion), Florian Opahle (guitar),Scott Hammond (Drums and Percussion), and Ryan O' Donnell (Vocals and stage antics).

This is my second interview with Ian Anderson; our first encounter was published on April 3rd 2012. Mr. Anderson is not only a legendary singer, songwriter, musician, rock icon, and entrepreneur; he’s also an extraordinary and brilliant man. I can envision Anderson achieving and inspiring the world in so many other critical roles in his lifetime besides becoming a musical and creative genius … perhaps in such roles as …Novelist, College Professor, Pilot, Political Analyst, Economist or Theologian. The hands of time may only permit Mr. Anderson from accomplishing a few of these added goals that I have suggested, so I’ll devotedly conclude that I am eternally grateful for the JethroTull legacy and the evolving musical ingenuity of Ian Anderson.

Here’s my in-depth and very important interview with the Scottish gent we attest as Jethro Tull … IAN ANDERSON.
Ray Shasho: Good evening Ian, thank you so much for being on the call today. Your latest studio release ‘Homo Erraticus’ will be officially released on April 14th but is available now for pre-order.
Absolutely, you can order it in four different formats. There is the double vinyl records, there’s what we call the media book which has a CD and an accompanying DVD in a sort of hardback package, then there’s the simple CD in a plastic case which is the last one to be released in fact, and then there is also the special limited edition box set which has two CD’s, two DVD’s and a 64-page booklet that will grace your coffee table for years to come. So yes, four different formats and a lot of work in compiling all of that and getting all the video material and the 5.1 surround mixes and all the extra goodies in there including all the original demos that I made in a hotel room in Barbados last March. So there are all sorts of stuff there to intrigue the fan who wants to unpeel and examine the many layers of the onion.”
Ray Shasho: Ian, do you also have your own record label?
“We have a label imprint which is a profit sharing enterprise with a rather specialist record company in the UK which employs about fifteen people. It’s kind of reminiscent to Chrysalis Records in the early days, and kind of a homely place where you can always talk to the top three or four guys who are always at the end of the phone …which is good. I was grateful to have the same offer from two other record companies, one was Warner Brothers which of course is one of the majors. But I just felt maybe it would get a little lost in something as enormous as Warner Brothers, especially a time when they’re trying to integrate the huge amounts of catalogue and manage an expanding business. So it’s probably not a good time to get their undivided attention.”
Ray Shasho: I have heard from a lot of artists that say Warner Brothers is one of the best record companies to work with.
Ian Anderson: “A lot of the reasons why I gave it serious attention are that Warner Brothers were our U.S. record company back in 1968-1969. When Chrysalis Records was boarded and too was just a label imprint and on a full service deal with Warner Brothers, so we kind of started off with Warner Brothers, actually the Reprise label which was a division of Warner’s, and that was our original American home until Chrysalis became independent two or three years later.”
Ray Shasho: Why did you initially create the Gerald Bostock character and why did you bring him back?
Ian Anderson: [GERALD BOSTOCK]
He’s like kind of an old friend, a Harry Potter who has grown into a grumpy middle-aged man who wants to pontificate on things. So he’s a useful writer’s tool and can be an alter-alter ego. He’s just another stage removed. He can say things that I wouldn’t say and voice opinions that I don’t have. So he can create lyrical material which I can occupy as a performer by singing in character. He doesn’t necessarily speak with my voice. He being a fictional character can have his own fictional opinions and views on life, some of which I’d probably share with him but some I don’t.”
Ray Shasho: Ian, you bear an unyielding intelligence and you’re a master storytelling …traits essential in becoming a great novelist.
I have the intelligence to probably learn to fly a 747 Jumbo Jet but I’m now a year too old to be employed by British Airways. I would have had to retire last year, so I’m better off doing what I’m doing. But I do sometimes fantasize about testing my mental and physical skills by flying 250 people around the world and remembering to keep my transponder on.”
Ray Shasho: Have you actually flown a jet before?
“I’ve only flown a Boeing 737, at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5. We went out and did a climb out and did a big circling thing around Surrey, south of London, and I came back in and landed surprisingly not too badly. But we did a second landing which I have to say was just brilliant; I could almost hear the applause at the back of the airplane, and my very pregnant lady first officer sitting next to me, I was just concerned not to kill the baby. So when we did land the second time it was with a huge sense of relief. Then I disembarked the 737 British Airways simulator and caught a taxi home (All laughing). The simulators are just like the front of a real airplane, they are the real deal. They’re not sort of video games; they are bewildering in their complexity. I kind of understand kids who play video games because they’re quite realistic. In a computer graphic world they do begin to detach themselves perhaps from reality. It’s kind of a little worrying because sometimes the borderline between fantasy and reality is getting blurred in people’s lives too easily.”
Ray Shasho: I’ve heard that those video game wizards may be the medical surgeons and military experts of tomorrow.
“What does seem to be the case are the kids that play the shoot ‘em up video games have actually become officers serving in the military, basically because they’re chicken- shits. They’d rather stay home in their bedrooms and fanaticize about blowing the heads off people instead of actually going out there and doing a real man’s job. I think if people try and do that for a living, they’d better go in and do it with a sense of duty and patriotism. I think young people in America or Britain when they join the military they think it through pretty carefully. Certainly the ones that I meet who’ve come out usually the hard way with tremendous injuries and victims of IED … the folks that I meet sometimes in America when I do meet & greets with the Vets and from recent excursions to Iraq and Afghanistan, the tales they have to tell me are certainly not video game shoot ‘em up tales. They have lived only to tell the tale of their own war injuries … frequently blindness and deafness through roadside bomb activity.”

“The thing that I do hear from them a lot is their belief in having gone there to try and do something to improve things for other people. They haven’t gone there to fight a war for America, they’ve gone there to try and create a better opportunity for people in Afghanistan or Iraq. Overwhelmingly I hear that the Iraqi’s were not worth fighting for. But the Afghans … a lot of Brits and Americans feel that it’s worth a try. It was worth just seeing that things could be made better and a real democracy could flourish in the face of the inevitable Taliban overturn when the Americans are out of there. It doesn’t look good but I think it was worth a try too. But Iraq I think we could have all done without. I personally would have paid Saddam Hussein to stay in power, keep the lid on things, and then shoot him … actually shoot his sons would have been the better bet because they were a couple of evil buggers, but they got it even before he did. I think Iraq was just a mess, a place where nothing good could possibly be done, to overcome the huge divisions within the country. The sectarian divisions will probably prevent it forever in becoming a united country. It’s a mess. But Afghanistan was really worth a try. I was with George Bush on that one, but not on Iraq.”
Ray Shasho: I think Pakistan is another country that we should not support.
We actually do collectively give them quite a lot of monetary aide, probably to keep them on their side (All laughing). I don’t think we’ll be going in there, I think Syria was the closer call in recent times, but luckily the decision was taken to not go in there, and it all happened on one particular day in the UK Parliament where a left-wing leader decided to stand- up to David Cameron, the Prime Minister, to not support the venture to take military action in Syria. That precipitated a cave-in, which Obama, much as he hated the idea, suddenly realized he didn’t have the Brits anymore and faced the same kind of repercussions in congress where he wasn’t going to get a vote of confidence to go into military action. I think the people and their representatives, the House of Representatives and the House of Commons in Britain, I think the people spoke and our leaders backed down from a confrontation that would have been a grave error in judgment. So luckily we managed to escape that particular issue. Obama and Cameron both fell into that trap of thinking … we could have our own little war here and be remembered for something great. It would have been a fatal mistake.”

“I came to the conclusion that Mr. Obama is not the man that we all hoped he was. I think we all rather liked his straightforward, nice guy, not too liberal but pragmatic democratic kind of stance. However he’s been a grave disappointment, not only to you guys but to the world. Because he wasn’t just your President … we thought he was going to be our President. Throughout the world people wanted Obama to be the man that would be for all of us. But we’re all feeling a bit let down. And my good friends at Fox TV are probably even more let down (All laughing) because they never much liked him anyway.”

"My old pal Tony Snow, who was a Fox guy, an ardent Republican and was Press Secretary for Bush Jr. prior to his colon cancer returning, his last job was to be taken up by CNN in the run-up to the last election. I was so sorry that Tony didn’t get to hang-on for at least a few months to cover that. He was a guy I would love to have seen giving another view on the emergence of that President. I do remember saying before Tony died that I hoped he’d make it long enough, because I’d love to see him be the Press Secretary in the Obama Administration. He was someone that the media loved; they thought of Tony as a straight guy. He would do his job in a partisan way if necessary… but he was a journalist, he was a writer, a broadcaster, and just one of the guys …they held a huge respect for him.”
Ray Shasho: Let’s talk about your new release ‘Homo Erraticus’… I gave it (5) Stars!
Ian Anderson:Out of twenty? (All laughing)”
Ray Shasho: Ian, I believe ‘Homo Erraticus’ is an extraordinary and all-embracing musical arrangement that poetically and wittily interprets man’s pilgrimage with brilliant lyrical optimism.
“If it’s about anything it comes from the very opening lines on the very first song and I had that and then on the third day of writing the album I pieced out the whole rest of it as kind of a bullet point scenario and continued to write for the next three weeks. It’s the story of all of us. It’s about migration, the movement of people from the last ice age on to even the future. It’s about the story of all of us… we’re all from somewhere else. None us are really ancestrally born and bred, we all came ultimately and possibly from one single tribe sixty thousand years ago in Africa. I’m not going to go that far back because I’m really only concerned with the point where my own country first was permanently occupied by our ancestors who at the time were predominately Homo sapiens in the aftermath of the last Ice Age. It’s just a way of talking about the fact that we’re all from somewhere else and we ought to accept that migration is the story of our planet. It goes on today and we fearfully and sometimes in protective terms refer to it as immigration because we naturally and understandably have some suspicion and sometimes hostility towards those who want to come and join our party, who perhaps are not always invited or welcomed, and that’s the way some people think about it.”

“But I just want to remind everybody that we’re all from somewhere else. It’s a difficult moral, a human ethical problem to try to find the solutions for accepting people who may enrich your culture and society, and on occasion may cause difficulties which has to be worked through and overcome. We have to find our way to accept the idea of human migration. However, we are living in a different world now to fifty years ago. Certainly, Five thousand years ago when increasing the population was necessary for the good of human kind on the planet, right now the migration that we’re talking about in future years of climate change is going to be a very-very enormous moral dilemma for our great grandchildren. That generation is going to have to make some terribly difficult decisions about who can be accepted where. We don’t have the resources and there are parts of the planet that prove to be not really habitable, in the way they are in some cases barely now, and it will get a whole lot worse in the future inevitably. We’ve got to start thinking about, talking about, and discussing in a sensible, rational, and friendly way about these issues before they start impacting us in ways that can be very divisive and damaging to people everywhere. We have to start thinking about our resources that isn’t just about recycling or Green Energy, it has to do with sustainability long-term beyond the life of any politician or any government of today. We have to start thinking long-term and people are not very good at doing that. They’re not very good at thinking beyond their own fragile lifetime, maybe that of their children but that’s as far as it goes.”

“We have a very beautiful planet here, one that we should be looking to think of in terms of sustainability, and that means sustainable populations. We’ll probably have to think about over a period of a few hundred years, reducing the global population and not increasing it, because we’re certainly going to find it very difficult to feed the nine billion people on planet earth in forty or fifty years time. So everywhere where sensible and responsible thinking women have an average of 1.5 children, which is the average for most of Western Europe except for Britain and France where it’s close to 2, everywhere else is about 1.5. Women are educated; they have equality with men and the family unit. They choose to have modest family sizes, not because the government tells them they should, but because they make an educated responsible family choice. And I would venture to say that those who back it up with excuses of religion and culture and want to have 5, 6 or 7 children, they have to question if it’s socially responsible in the long term. The argument they present as well is God wants us to multiply … well then I think you picked the wrong God. Educated women that receive a basic or secondary education, they make those choices, the evidence is here already. We don’t actually have to change the culture of most of Europe, it already works that way. People have made those choices in the last twenty or thirty years increasingly to have modest family sizes. So I just want people to be talking about this stuff with a smile on your face and a friendly hug, and not to have it erupt in fisticuffs at a local bar. So my words and lyrics of this album was not designed to be lecturing, hostile, provocative or create violent arguments, they’re to get people thinking and talking and doing it in a friendly and smiley kind of a way, because that’s the way to get into people’s hearts and minds.”
Ray Shasho: So many people turn to the Bible as if it were a set of plans or instructions to guide them throughout their lives. How factual do you believe the Bible really is?
“I think the Bible is a tremendous document and I now have a copy of it on my iPhone. I have a copy of the Quran as well. The point being, these existers have bona fide plans, they are “Plan A”, but your interpretation of the Bible and your interpretation of the Quran is a very complex issue. In years gone by people did not take this absurd evangelical literal view of the words in the Bible, it was all considered to be allegory, it was all considered to be lots of ways of creating the metaphors. A thousand years ago people looked at the Bible in a much less literal way. It served as a very useful function for people to stand by a set of general rules and applications. In many ways the words of the prophets, Muhammad, are not so different to many of the words of Jesus Christ and many of the sentiments, good, sound, and sensible structure or advice that you get from the Bible. It’s all good stuff!”

“However, it’s got to be seen in the light of today. Anyone who takes those words as literal meaning is missing the whole point. The hundreds of people who put together painstakingly work over a huge number of years to come up with these words, they are less about being literal than being about inspirational, being about something that gives you guidance. You have to be able to interpret and to paraphrase in the context of today. Whatever happened back then was back then and this is today. I think the Bible is still a very relevant document, not only for Christians, but for people everywhere. But don’t literally for God’s sake just take that simplistic view. The words are merely the English translations from King James’ Bible and in itself is an interpretation for goodness sake. Unless you are incredible learned scholars who can go back beyond the ancient Greek to look at the origins of the words that make up the Bible, than you really are on dangerous ground. There are a lot of good things in the Bible to be used in the inspirational sense, not in the literal sense. That’s the simple message there… I’m all for Christianity and all for the Bible but handle with care and respect. A lot of Christian scholars spend a great deal of time looking at the Bible and trying to make sense of it in light of today’s world, and that’s something that is a vital part of Christianity today. I’m not a Christian, don’t get me wrong, but I have a full respect and a huge sense of following Christianity and being predominately the Religion of my nation.”

“Obviously with Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism …they’re kind of in our culture too. We may not embrace them with the same ease that we embrace Christianity but nonetheless they are in our culture too. But I’m from here… I’m a white middle-class from Great Britain and my natural first response is to Christianity as something with a calling card that I can easily understand. However, it’s not going to make me a Christian. I like almost everything about Christianity except for the Jesus bit. I’m pretty big on Jesus the historical character in the context of his time. But Jesus as the son of God, well, that’s where you have to start thinking in looser terms; you’ve got to step out of the box once you get to Jesus in that role. He is symbolic, he is important, he is an example, and it’s terribly important to have that, but you’ve got to stop short of creating Jesus as essentially the face of God. We do know he really was a historical character in Palestine at a given point in time. He was a revolutionary; he was a Jew for God’s sake. He was a revolutionary Jew who was pissed off with stuff that was going on and the fact that many of the Religious hierarchy at that time were in cohorts with their Roman overlords to have a quiet but influential and powerful life. Jesus was an angry prophet. He was a guy who got pissed off … I like that Jesus. I don’t want to confuse him and give him Godlike status, that’s where I have to stop short and why I can’t really be a Christian.”
Ray Shasho: Ian what are your thoughts on UFO’S … have we been visited by life from other worlds?
“Having been born in 1947, it was a good year for UFO’s. I may be the son of Roswell, who knows? Maybe aliens visited in 1947 and my mother was whooshed up into some alien encounter and was abducted and impregnated and I’m the result. Who knows? It’s a spooky tale but extremely unlikely. I think the chances of physical presence of alien spaceships from another far-off star are pretty slim in possibility terms, for a number of reasons. But I think there is every possibility that we have and we may be visited in the future. But I don’t think they will be real living creatures who have traveled at or beyond the speed of life. For the time it would take to get here, it seems to me; either we are talking something really in terms of the supernatural, in terms of parallel universes, in terms of multiverses, or in terms perhaps of just human imagination wanting to see bogey men when there aren’t any.”

“But I doubt if we’re really going to see living, breathing aliens. I think what we might see is rather the equivalent to the unmanned probe to Mars and beyond, because we can send machinery where we are not able to go. And right now a lot of scientists are trying to figure out how to get beyond the Van Allen radiation belt, because you’re going to have your testicles fried if you step outside the safety zone of magnetic shield into the trip beyond to Mars. There may be a lot of people who fanaticize about going to Mars in the next 30-50 years, whenever it might be possible, but personally I’m keeping my testicles where they belong (All laughing).”
Ray Shasho: Ian, here’s a question that I ask everyone that I interview. If you had a ‘Field of Dreams’ wish like the movie, to play or collaborate with anyone from the past or present, who would that be? You can even go back to the classical period.
“Well, it would probably go a little further than that. Because with Beethoven who I enormously love, appreciate, and respect as the most all around classical composer of all time. He came relatively late in the day in true classics terms and benefited enormously from Bach and Mozart before him. But he was very clever and way complicated and very consummate in his ability to understand and to arrange. It would be difficult to collaborate with him because certainly later in life he wouldn’t hear a word I say.”

“So I think I’ll go back to the very first time when music was first written down and the first notions of harmony came about. That would be kind of simple. So you’d have to plant me in a Medieval Monastery about a thousand years ago, where I could have talked in more equal terms to those who were spearheading the development of music, harmony, rhythm, and to find fault in music too, because maybe I could have helped them with lyric writing.”
Ray Shasho: Have you ever traced your family heritage?
Ian Anderson: [IAN’S ROOTS]
“Not very far back …there’s probably some dreadful Danish Viking who landed on the east coast of Scotland and probably didn’t even leave the sheep alone (All laughing). Probably with a bit of a dastardly piratical past combined with a bit on my mother’s side, maybe some Celtic weaver from Britain perhaps. But no, it’s not been researched very far back. My much older brother did try a few years ago but he only got so far and then they couldn’t find anything else reliable further back than that. So they only went back about a hundred years or so. So I think we have some Viking blood. Not very romantic or glamorous but we were people that migrated, we came, we saw, some of us stayed behind and put down roots. We brought with us the customs, the language, and costume jewelry (All Laughing).”
Ray Shasho: Ian, thank you for being on the call today but more importantly for all the incredible music you continue to bring.
Ian Anderson: “Nice to talk with you Ray.”

Pre-order your copy of Ian Anderson’s latest studio release entitled 'HOMO ERRATICUS' [Here] or at on Ian Anderson’s own label imprint Calliandra Records in conjunction with Kscope

Ian Anderson/Jethro Tull official website
Jethro Tull on Facebook
Jethro Tull on Twitter
Jethro Tull on Myspace
Ian Anderson on Tour

Very special thanks to the incredible Anne Leighton of Leighton Media: * Music Services*Motivation
Coming up NEXT … My recent interview with Jack Bruce of the legendary Cream

Contact classic rock music journalist Ray Shasho at

Purchase Ray’s very special memoir called ‘Check the Gs’ -The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business … You’ll LIVE IT! Also available for download on NOOK or KINDLE edition for JUST .99 CENTS at or - Please support Ray by purchasing his book so he can continue to bring you quality classic rock music reporting.
“Check the Gs is just a really cool story ... and it’s real. I’d like to see the kid on the front cover telling his story in a motion picture, TV sitcom or animated series. The characters in the story definitely jump out of the book and come to life. Very funny and scary moments throughout the story and I just love the way Ray timeline’s historical events during his lifetime. Ray’s love of rock music was evident throughout the book and it generates extra enthusiasm when I read his on-line classic rock music column on It’s a wonderful read for everyone!”

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Year in review: Classic rock music journalist Ray Shasho reflects on 2012

By Ray Shasho

Once again, it’s time to rank the most popular classic rock music articles for the entire year based on readership page views. In 2012 …Ray Shasho conducted (34) in-depth interviews with some of the greatest music and entertainment legends of our time, and reviewed numerous concerts and events around the Tampa Bay area.
Since joining in December of 2010, Shasho has solely orchestrated and conducted (57) in-depth interviews with rock & roll and TV folklore. Ray’s only motivation is a bona fide respect for the artist and his never-ending compassion for the music.
2012 was another awesome year for classic rock music. The music legends continue to sell-out local venues, draw huge crowds at outdoor events, and perform on packed cruise liners sailing the seven seas.

 I had the great privilege of chatting with two important artists who sadly left us in 2012. Ronnie Montrose (Guitarist/songwriter/producer/Van Morrison/Edgar Winter Group/Gamma/Montrose) and Michael Hossack (Drummer/Doobie Brothers/U.S Navy Vet) … thank you for all the great music and so many wonderful memories.
We also say goodbye to these music artists and pioneers in 2012 Ravi Shankar(Indian Sitar player/influential to George Harrison) Ed Cassidy (Drummer/Spirit), Dave Brubeck (Progressive Jazz pioneer), Michael Dunford (Composer/guitarist/Renaissance ), Andy Williams (Pop crooner/Christmas season icon), Mark Abrahamian (Guitarist /Starship), Larry Hoppen(Vocalist/guitarist/songwriter/Orleans), Hal David (Songwriter), Marvin Hamlish(Composer), Scott McKenzie (Singer/songwriter), Jon Lord (Founding member/ keyboardist/Deep Purple), Bob Welch (Guitarist/singer/songwriter/ Fleetwood Mac), Robert Nix(Co-founder and drummer/Atlanta Rhythm Section), Robin Gibb(Singer/songwriter/ Bee Gees), Donna Summer(Pop/ Disco/ singer/songwriter), Donald “Duck” Dunn(Bassist/ Booker T.& the MG’s), Adam Yauch (Founding member/ The Beastie Boys), Levon Helm (Vocalist/drummer/ The Band), Bob Birch( Bassist/Elton John),Greg Ham(Multi-instrumentalist/ Men at Work), Chuck Brown (“Godfather of Go-Go” music) Dick Clark( Rock & Roll pioneer),Jim Marshall(Inventor of the Marshall amplifier), Kitty Wells(Singer/songwriter), Earl Scruggs (Bluegrass pioneer/ banjo virtuoso), Davy Jones (Singer/ The Monkees), Michael Davis( Bassist/MC5), Whitney Houston( Singer/songwriter/actress), Jimmy Ellis( Lead singer/the Trammps), R. B. Greaves(Singer/songwriter/hit-maker), Don Cornelius(Soul Train/music pioneer), Pete Cosey(Jazz/Blues/guitarist), Mark Reale (Guitarist/Riot), Etta James( Multi-genre singer), Johnny Otis (Songwriter/musician/producer), Bob Weston(Guitarist/Fleetwood Mac), Larry Reinhardt(Guitarist / Iron Butterfly/Captain Beyond), and Fred Milano (Dion and the Belmonts). …Their spirit and music will live-on forever!
*The most read article for 2012 was about the passing of legendary guitarist Ronnie Montrose ...
Here are the Top 10 rankings for the most popular interviews of the year based on readership page views. (Note: Facebook likes/shares have been reset several times on many articles due to Examiner restructuring their look).
1 -Ian Anderson: A conversation with the Scottish Gent we attest as Jethro Tull
2 -Chris Squire: Squackett, Jon Anderson and ‘Yes’ on Broadway
3 -Roger Fisher: HEART original guitarist: 'Being voted out saved my life'
4 - Roger McGuinn: David Crosby can reunite 'The Byrds' without him
5 -Tommy Roe: tried to get Beatles signed: Both rejected by ABC Records
6 -Lou Gramm: Foreigner legendary vocalist embraces a second chance at life
7 -Greg Lake: of Emerson Lake & Palmer reveals: I really am a ‘Lucky Man'
8 -Johnny Winter: Rock ‘n’ roll was a disguise; I really wanted to play the blues
9 -An interview with music legends Micky Dolenz & Gary Puckett -Happy Together 2012
10 - Annie Haslam: the enchanting songstress of Renaissance
Honorable Mention’s…
Suzi Quatro: rock ‘n’ roll heroine in an unzipped exclusive interview
Frank Marino: legendary guitarist sidelined with severe pain
Jim “Dandy” Mangrum: southern rock pioneer with Black Oak Arkansas
Peter Rivera: the heart and soul of Motown’s Rare Earth
‘Candice Night’: Medieval Princess: A fairytale journey with ‘Ritchie Blackmore’
Steve Hillage: The intergalactic musical evolution of a guitar rocketeer
Eric Johnson: An extraordinary and diverse guitarist with rock fusion mastery
Paul Kantner: captain at the helm for Jefferson Starship
Gino Vannelli: Exclusive Interview with an international superstar
Henry McCullough: divulges divine intervention while with Paul McCartney & Wings
Andy Powell: talks about the longevity and mystique of 'Wishbone Ash'
Nils Lofgren: Springsteen guitar virtuoso: Review ‘Old School’
Ex Judas Priest Metal Master: Atkins May Project 'Serpents Kiss'
Kim Simmonds: British blues of Savoy Brown –CD Review: ‘Voodoo Moon'
Tom Rush Interview: Celebrating 50 years of storytelling and music
Maria Muldaur rekindles the spirit of 'Memphis Minnie' on her latest release
Michael Des Barres: Silverhead rocker & TV villain ‘Murdoc’ chats with Examiner
What is a Merrell Fankhauser? The most interesting cult figure in rock history
Review: New release Blue Moon Harem ‘FINLAND’ -Interview: Demetri Joannou
Here are the Top 5 concert reviews for the year based on readership page views. (Note: Facebook likes/shares have been reset several times on many articles due to Examiner restructuring their look).
1 -The Zombies are brilliant for sold-out Largo Cultural Center
2 -Happy Together Tour draws another packed house at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater
3 -Blondie magnificent at Firefly Gala: Interview guitarist/songwriter Chris Stein
4 -Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band superlative for sold out Ruth Eckerd audience
5 -Summer concerts and rock and roll on the high seas
In 2011, Ray added a new segment to his column entitled ‘Classic Rock meets Classic TV’
Here was the top Classic TV interview for 2012 ...
Marty Ingels Interview: A Brooklyn wisecracker with hutzpah who became a TV Icon
As always ... I want to thank all the public relation firms, artist management, concert promoters, and venue staffers that I’ve worked with throughout the year, but especially to the Examiner readers who have graciously surfed their way to my column. Also special thanks to photographer Mark Weaver for some remarkable shots in 2012.
Contact classic rock music journalist Ray Shasho at
GREAT HOLIDAY GIFT! Purchase Ray’s very special memoir called ‘Check the Gs’ -The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business … You’ll LIVE IT! Also available for download on NOOK or KINDLE edition for JUST .99 CENTS at or -Please support Ray so he can continue to bring you quality classic rock music reporting. 

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ian Anderson: A conversation with the Scottish Gent we attest as Jethro Tull

By Ray Shasho
Throughout the progressive rock ages, Ian Anderson had been notably recognized as Jethro Tull. Even the occasional aficionado may refer to the charismatic, swashbuckling, one –legged flautist as simply “Tull.” Ian Anderson not only gave the world awe-inspiring lyric and melody, but also an everlasting and irrepressible personification. So it’s no wonder that Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull are synonymous.

Since it’s origination in 1968, the band has had numerous personnel changes, but Anderson’s ingenuity and fastidious songwriting has preserved the Jethro Tull trademark for almost a half a century. Deep-rooted lead guitarist Martin Barre should also receive accolade for infusing the heaviest of hard rock riffs.
The Jethro Tull band name was derived from an eighteenth century English agriculturalist who invented the seed drill, but Ian Anderson transformed the assigned appellative into a progressive rock protagonist. Even today, Anderson’s proficiency and style remain unchallenged.  His onstage persona mesmerized us, as we all wondered how cool it would be to be “Tull.”
Ian Anderson embarks on a worldwide tour beginning April 14th in the United Kingdom. Anderson will be performing the 1972 concept album, “Thick as a Brick” in its entirety as well as  the new release, “Thick as a Brick 2” -Whatever Happened to Gerald Bostock? .... forty years later. 
“TAAB2” the sequel was officially released on April 2nd and available at  Florida dates are confirmed for the upcoming tour. September 18th at The Fillmore in Miami Beach, September 19th at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, September 21st at the Amphitheatre in St Augustine, and September 22nd at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre in Orlando.

I had the rare opportunity to speak with Ian Anderson recently about some uncommon topics. I wanted the interview to be different than the usual laundry list of Jethro Tull inquisitions. Mr. Anderson was quick-witted, fascinating, and profound. I quickly became mesmerized by other aspects of his life including entrepreneurship.
Here’s my chat with legendary multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter/prog-rock pioneer/Jethro Tull founder/ feline advocate/ entrepreneur/ IAN ANDERSON.
Ray Shasho: Ian, thank for being on the call today … are you calling from Scotland?
Ian Anderson: “I’m actually calling from the South West of England.”
Ray Shasho: You conducted a Self- interview which appeared on You Tube video recently about the upcoming release of “Thick as a Brick 2.” It was so good; I’m a bit worried you won’t need us journalist anymore.
Ian Anderson: “The way things are these days, we use every opportunity we can to tell a story and keep the fans amused, and keep myself amused as we get old and jaded.”
Ray Shasho: Just about every piece of information regarding Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull has been collected and available on your website, it’s getting to be very challenging to ask you anything that hasn’t already been answered on the site.    
Ian Anderson: “I’m so glad to hear you say that because that’s exactly why I do it, to try and make your job easier. You can just cut and paste and have a fun time with that without spending too much money on transatlantic phone calls.”
Ray Shasho: I spoke with Greg Lake several weeks ago; we talked about the Salisbury Cathedral charity show you did together. Greg said it was a funny experience, standing in a Cathedral playing rock and roll. He also mentioned there were dead bodies in the Cathedral while you played?
Ian Anderson: “I didn’t think we were that bad. (All laughing) Well that’s what Cathedrals usually have in them. They have crypts and all sorts of ancestors and people lie within, so we hope they remembered to take their sleeping pills.”
Ray Shasho: I’m guessing the acoustics were pretty good?
Ian Anderson: “Extremely long reverberation times and you have to be very careful how you gently amplify and redistribute the sound otherwise it will become a cacophony and will certainly awake the dead.”
Ray Shasho: I’m trying very hard to not be one of those reporters who will ask the same questions of you, and I’m usually known for asking unconventional questions to solicit new material. You have an incredibly informative page on your website called, “Your new kitten: Advice for new parents.” Why the fascination with cats?
Ian Anderson: “When I was a young boy I preferred cats to dogs. From the age of seven or eight onwards I just felt more comfortable with cats. And I felt more comfortable with girls, I didn’t really like hanging out with guys. When I was about ten or eleven, I was friendlier with the girls in my school than with the guys. And later on in my school years I really didn’t enjoy the company of men and the beer drinking experiences of teenagers… so I wasn’t a manly schoolboy. I preferred arts and more gentle pursuits than sports, so I was more of an academic really and kind of cats fit the bill. Cats fit that kind of personality better than dogs. I’m a bit of a girlie guy who liked growing up with cats.”
Ray Shasho: I sent you an email several years ago regarding the Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida and recently found out that you’re already kind of connected with them.
Ian Anderson: “Well that’s right; I’ve been there and have done a couple of things for them in terms of press and promo or what have you, and we know who each other are.”
Ray Shasho: Do you have any of the larger cats on your farm?
Ian Anderson: “No, I think the proper place for those animals are in there natural habit and not in zoos or private collections of wild animals, I don’t really like that kind of thing very much. That’s like taking me out of my environment and putting me in jail for the rest of my life.”
Ray Shasho: I know your were a successful salmon farmer for many years, do you continue to be in that line of work?
Ian Anderson: “No, I was a salmon farmer for about twenty years and there were a lot of issues like environmental concerns and the principals of taking animals into intensive farming. Perhaps in the case of salmon you have this absurd reality of taking more and more out of the oceans to manufacture the feed for salmon. It takes roughly speaking … maybe ten kilos of capelin, sand eels and herring and various wild fish and shell fish species to produce one kilo of fresh farmed salmon. So it’s a very inefficient way of converting fish protein further down the food chain into fish protein higher up the food chain where we think we want to eat it. I think salmon farming has its place in the world … a few hundred thousand tons of salmon production in the world is probably a good thing, but to the level at which it’s gone now where it’s such a mass produced commodity in many parts of the world.”

“Usually farming Atlantic salmon because they’re faster growing and better oil content and just a much nicer fish altogether than the pacific species but as you probably know they farm down in the pacific too ... in Chile and elsewhere, west coast of the U.S. and Canada. That’s something we wouldn’t allow to happen in our part of the world, that is farming of nonindigenous species and an insecure context like cages and Open Ocean is something that we don’t think should be allowed to happen. But again, commercial enterprise being what it is people have decided that they’re going to do that anyway and have managed to persuade the governmental authorities to let them do it. But I’m very much opposed to that so I decided I really didn’t want to be involved with farming salmon anymore. The negatives outweighed the positives for me and I decided to gently remove myself from that world.”

“When I first started it was all shiny and new and there were only a few tens of thousands of tons of salmon being produced when I started and most of it in Norway. When we began it was a pretty low key effort usually involving people from local communities and the west coast of Scotland who otherwise found it difficult to find work, so for the first ten-fifteen years or so it felt like the right thing to do. But I became less enamored of it primarily because of environmental and conservation reasons.”     
Ray Shasho: Ian, I was a commercial banker in another life, and was the guy lending money for start-up enterprises. So I’m extremely impressed by the way you began an entirely new business venture, turned it into a success, and operated and maintained it for twenty years.   
Ian Anderson: “I’m all in favor of banks that play their part in community endeavors, private individuals looking for loans, people who want to start up a little business, and that’s what banks are for. Once we get into investment banking there is no ring fence between the investment arms of banks and the service sector of banking… I don’t like the idea of fat-cat bankers looking for their big-big bonuses, spinning the roulette wheel and using as their stake the money loaned to them used by private individuals whose life savings are wrapped up into what’s proved to be an extremely risky and unpleasant side of that industry. So that’s one of the things I’m singing about on the new album … is my end. Obviously I share this with a majority of the people. We feel cheated by virtue of the fact that people used our money to cover themselves in glory and huge bonuses. In the case of Fred Goodwin of the Royal Bank of Scotland, a knighthood, which he so surely deserved to have stripped from him as indeed it was a couple of weeks ago.”

“But it was the Royal Bank of Scotland who was the villains and the rest of the international banks are not blameless in any of this. They essentially operate in the same way and got themselves caught up in the prime mortgage business which was one of the things that toppled the house of cards primarily due to the arrogance and naivety of a couple of Icelander banks.”
Ray Shasho: I was actually one of those banking soldiers on the front lines that got axed in 2008 when turmoil hit the financial markets. I was loyal and a top producer but apparently that meant nothing to them.  
Ian Anderson: “I don’t think anybody objects in our capitalist western society about the idea of somebody getting paid for results. But disparity between those getting really quite obscene levels of bonus and those who are the foot soldiers of industry seem to have gotten completely out of balance and it doesn’t seem right that there should be a ratio of twenty … fifty… or one hundred to one between high paid people and the average low paid person. It just seems too big of a differential. You can understand if people got five or ten times as much money if they produce results, but things have just gotten out of control and that’s part of the degree to which our moral values have continued to change with capitalism becoming so incredibly powerful. But like everything else, there’s good capitalism and there’s bad capitalism. And you’ve got some of the good guys who later on realize they’ve been so very-very fortunate to have done what they’ve done so the Warren Buffets and the Bill Gates get to a point in their lives where they realize true values are what you can do for other people than rather do for yourself.”
Ray Shasho: Then there are the monopolies … where does capitalism fit in that equation?
Ian Anderson: “Nowhere is that more obvious than the record industry, where we have the purchase accepted of EMI by Universal and now down to three major record companies. They have essentially doubled between the small record companies and the tiny independents that are left. Most of them would have the goal of selling out at some point to honor one of the three majors and getting their retirement fund. In the live concert sector you have Live Nation and AEG which compose far and away the greater part of the total live concert industry around the world. And that can’t be right either, it’s just become too much of a megalithic concern where the vast majority of concert tours everywhere in the world are being carried out essentially by two multi-national and huge companies that essentially bought out all the other individual promoters, and did so obviously with borrowed money and are struggling to stay solvent.”

“Like everybody else we’re force to do business with Live Nation at least some of the time because they have control over many venues and cities and have the monopoly to work there. We have to grit our teeth and work with those guys too, there’s nothing wrong with the individuals that work for those companies, mostly nice people that we’ve worked with for many years, but they sold their souls to the devil … of corporate enormity, but it’s up to us to change the things we don’t like.”
Ray Shasho: When I interviewed Eric Burdon he said to call it a “music industry” is a stretch.
Ian Anderson: “Eric Burdon is a venerable old gent who’s been around for many years and when I was a lad fresh out of school, Eric Burdon was one of the guys that got me infused about trying to play music and trying to become a professional musician. All those years down the line, I think Eric Burdon has been one of those who is lucky enough to still have his job, get’s out there plays a good concert and plays a bunch of songs that he feels a rightfully degree of ownership about. That’s a good position to be in if you’ve been around as long as Eric Burdon, and made it your life, career, and the thing you love. It’s great that he can do it, but economically it’s not that easy for Eric Burdon, he’s not quite big enough around the world in terms of commanding quite enough to give himself a comfortable level of profitable percentage doing concerts. He’s probably quite close to the point where he’ll be doing okay and not great financially. He’s kind of in the low to middle range economically …it’s not easy but he’ll do okay as long as he’s careful.”
Ray Shasho: I’ve always blamed commercial radio stations for the debacle of the music industry … laziness to seek out and play new music, repetitive mindless commercials taking over the airwaves and the absence of the music radio jock. After chatting with Greg Lake … he blamed the invention of the Sony Walkman for self isolation, and not sharing the music experience with your friends anymore. What do you think changed the music industry?
Ian Anderson: “That for me was the beginning of the beginning because I’m not a social type of guy. I don’t like to sit around and listen to music with other people. The original Sony Walkman … which I think still have, was quite well made, interesting, a small practical cassette machine that allowed you to plug into it and listen to music in that convenient isolation. That privacy was great to have if you were traveling around the world and maybe had the opportunity to close your eyes and listen to some music. So to me it was a great step forward. I’m eternally grateful for the Sony Walkman and all of its successes to the introduction of the MP3 players. I think I’ve owned all the models of IPods so far. And these days between my iPod, iPhone and my personal laptop computer, I’m someone who is very-very grateful for all the ways to listen to music and completely switch off from people around me and listen to the music in detail, which is very hard to do if you’re in a room with other people.”

“We do hear perhaps too many accolades generally aimed at people like Steve Jobs. We have to remember that there are other classic things in life that we undervalue and take them for granted. If you think of the classic lines of the modern jet aircraft, it’s really been there since early World War II. I mean the first passenger jets that flew… they don’t look so different. The Boeing 737… its generations apart from a few engine changes but essentially remains the same thing that it was around forty years ago since that airplane first flew commercially.”
Ray Shasho: I know we need to wrap this up … You’re touring the “Thick as a Brick 2” tour as Ian Anderson. Will there be a future tour billed as Jethro Tull?
Ian Anderson: “The band is essentially the same, maybe one different member of the band; it’s just essentially the way I choose to describe what I do in different context. I like to work with musicians who I feel are the right people. Sometimes one or two people will change as I’m doing a certain Ian Anderson concert. If I’m doing an acoustic tour with just a stripped down show than obviously I would choose musicians who would fit that bill. If I was playing all Jethro Tull repertoire and material than I would just call it Jethro Tull, but when it’s other projects that represent my impersonal input, than I tend to use my own name rather than simply call it Jethro Tull. I think given the fact that I’m the guy that writes the music and does more of the organizational and management side of what goes on … and sometimes I think I should be forgiven for having a Roger Waters moment and claiming something is my own.”
Ray Shasho: Well, in our eyes … you are TULL!
Ian Anderson: “That’s what people have been saying for many-many long years but I always try and point out that it is “The band” or whoever that band is… the people that play the music, and we have to remember that were something like twenty eight members in Jethro Tull over the years and people who have taken part in a major tour or in recording. So it’s a big extended family … I’m the expedition leader and they trust me to take them where we go.”
Ray Shasho: Ian, thank you so much for spending time with me today, but more importantly for all the fantastic music throughout the years. We look forward to the release of “Thick as a Brick 2” (TAAB2) on April 2nd and your upcoming concert tour.
Ian Anderson: “Ray I enjoyed talking with you, we’ll see you in the states … bye-bye!”

“Thick as a Brick 2” (TAAB2) is available to purchase at
Jethro Tull official website
Ian Anderson’s world tour begins April 14th in the United Kingdom. Anderson will be performing the 1972 concept album, “Thick as a Brick” in its entirety as well as the new release, “Thick as a Brick 2” 

Florida dates are confirmed for the upcoming tour. September 18th at The Fillmore in Miami Beach, September 19th at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, September 21st at the Amphitheatre in St Augustine, September 22nd at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre in Orlando, September 25th at Sunrise Theatre in Fort Pierce.
Just Announced! Barbara B Mann Performing Arts Hall in Ft Myers on September 24th and Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on September 23rd. Tickets go on sale April 28.

Very special thanks to Anne Leighton of Leighton Media for arranging this interview -Official website

Contact Ray Shasho at
 Download author/columnist Ray Shasho’s fascinating memoir ‘Check the Gs’ The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business Available on Kindle at and Nook at for Only .99 Cents.

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