Ian Anderson has explained why he decided to release the upcoming album The Zealot Gene as a Jethro Tull album, nearly a decade after winding the band down.

Since 2012 he’d been releasing new material under his own name. But the new LP, which features longstanding members of his solo band, will appear on Jan. 28 as a Jethro Tull record – the first except for archive material to use it since The Jethro Tull Christmas Album in 2003. He’s the only classic-era member to remain in the lineup.

“I decided this would be a Jethro Tull album primarily because it was a band album,” Anderson said in an official interview, which you can see below. “It was always intended to be on the progressive side of rock music [with] the band playing live in the studio.” He continued: “[T]he members of the band have all played with me for – well, three of them for 15 years, and one of them for only 11 years. This is the longest-surviving lineup of any version of Jethro Tull in terms of musicians that we’ve ever had. So it seemed appropriate to honor the long-standing relationship with this group of musicians by releasing it as a Jethro Tull album. Certainly it wasn’t something I would have thought of as being a solo album, just because it did incorporate much more of the band performance ethic.”

He added: “And that was it, really. A lot of water’s gone under the bridge since the earliest days of Jethro Tull; but I think all of these musicians can very truly consider themselves [as] really a part of Jethro Tull, the ‘brand name.’ The band and the brand are illuminated in this recording, which I hope people will enjoy.”

When Anderson agreed a deal with InsideOut Music earlier this year, he commented: “After 54 years in the world of music recording, it is with great pleasure that I now sign Jethro Tull to a record company which reminds me, in many ways, of the old Chrysalis label – both as an independent and in its later years in partnership with EMI. Here are real music guys with a passion for the best and most creative in rock music. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship and more releases to come.”

Watch Ian Anderson Discuss Jethro Tull’s ‘The Zealot Gene’

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