ICONS: Jethro Tull is a British rock group formed in Luton, Bedfordshire, in December 1967.
ICONS: Jethro Tull is a British rock group formed in Luton, Bedfordshire, in December 1967. Carl Glover

Jethro Tull is getting ready for Bluesfest 2017

JETHRO Tull is a British rock group, formed in Luton, Bedfordshire, in December 1967.

Initially playing blues rock, the band soon developed its sound to incorporate elements of British folk music and hard rock to forge a progressive rock signature.

The band, led by vocalist / flutist / guitarist Ian Anderson, first achieved commercial success in 1969, with the folk-tinged blues album Stand Up, which reached No. 1 in the UK charts, and they toured regularly in the UK and the US.

With sales of more than 60 million albums worldwide, and 11 gold and five platinum albums among them, the band has been described by Rolling Stone magazine as "one of the most commercially successful and eccentric progressive rock bands".

We had a chat to Ian Anderson ahead of their Bluesfest 2017 show.

What can we expect from your Bluesfest show in 2017?

The Best of Jethro Tull, a selection of landmark songs from 1968 through to 2016 with an emphasis on the material from the 1970s.

It is a multi-act festival so no sound check - just a wing and a prayer and with the benefit of knowing what a festival crowd want.

Not an intellectual challenge but a well-paced set of generally "up" repertoire to keep things moving.


Different to folk rock and electronic rock, progressive rock is not the same as it was in 1969 when the band reached notoriety, do you think progressive rock still exists today? If so, how much has it changed?

Yes, it still exists.

Indeed, like the resurgence of vinyl, there is a growing, if slightly retro trend to more musical and lyrical complexity. The newer prog bands usually have a much younger audience: Teens and early twenties, which balances nicely with the older Classic Rock and Progressive Rock crowd more familiar with our music.

So we find that, in places like Latin America, Spain and Italy for example, that the our audiences these days span two or even three generations.

Churches seem to be an important place in your music career. Has your experience with God, religion and churches as places of music changed over the years?

I am quite at home in the Christian church as a performer. As a worshipper, no.

I am a pragmatic soul. I tend to think in terms of possibilities and even probabilities as regard the spiritual world rather than essential faith and prayer.

But I am a huge supporter of Christianity and its places of worship.

To be a good paleontologist, you don't necessarily have to have sharp pointy teeth and a long scaly tail.

Will you have any new music you may want to perform for us next year?

During our tours in Australia and NZ we will perform two or three newer pieces dating from 2012 through to 2016.

Depends on how long the aging bladders out there need for a pee-break. We even include a short drum solo for those capable of running out for just a quick squirt. Service with a smile.

  • Jethro Tull will be performing at Bluesfest 2017, Tyagarah, on Easter Sunday, April 16.

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