Ian Anderson to Visit Jethro Tull’s Grave
According to Anderson's Facebook page, he's making his way to Tull's grave on Sept. 2, when he'll visit the memorial set up at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Lower Basildon, in the English county of Berkshire. "I’m delighted to welcome Ian Anderson to St. Bartholomew’s to be part of the story of this striking 700-year-old church," enthused Crispin Truman, chief executive for the conservation trust that cares for the land. "Jethro Tull revolutionized modern agriculture and it’s great to see his life commemorated in such an exciting way."
As previously reported, Anderson's latest musical project is titled Jethro Tull: A Rock Opera, and uses songs from the Tull catalog to "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." In an interview with Uber Rock, Anderson explained that until recently, he wasn't even really familiar with the real Tull's life story.
"Before I’d got very far with it, half an hour later I’d made a list of about 30 songs of my own that I thought could be slipped into the story of Jethro Tull," he recalled, adding that "rather than do it as a period piece, like Downton Abbey with a flute," he decided to put a modern spin on the project.
"I thought it would be a lot more relevant to bring it up to date," explained Anderson, "and cast our original Jethro Tull not as some 18th-century guy in that particular sort of long wig and the garb of the era, making his first seed drill out of the cobbled together bits of wood from the foot pedals of his church organ, but as a present day biochemist working on developments of new technologies to employ genetic modification and cloning and other ways of bringing about increased production to satisfy the needs of an ever-expanding planetary population."
But while Anderson is happy to excavate his musical past to pay tribute to his former group's namesake, Jethro Tull seems destined to remain buried as a band. Earlier this year, he brushed off rumors of a reunion, pointing out that the band has been home to a long list of musicians over the years — some of whom remain part of his solo troupe.
"There have been, arguably, 26 members of Jethro Tull over the years, a big extended family of musicians — a family who are usually delighted to see each other again after a period of absence, but sometimes with the proviso that after a warm and welcoming cup of tea, they won’t stay for lunch,” he wrote. “You know how it is. Each of them has brought great joy and musical success to me in their different and unique ways. But forgive us if we don’t actually want to wake up in bed next to each other in the present day. I am sure they will feel the same — especially after a veggie curry the night before."
See Jethro Tull and Other Rockers in the Top 100 Albums of the '70s
The 10 Worst Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Snubs